I can't, I don't, it's too hard...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterbee, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    The constant negativity is really getting to me lately.

    difficult child is attending an online charter school. Everyday they have online, interactive sessions where they actually do the day's lesson in math or language arts or whatever. It's not mandatory, but it's very helpful for the kids.

    So, today difficult child attended the session for math. She really needs all the extra help she can get with math. Especially cause I'm about to pull my hair out. We are in the approval process for a school funded tutor to come to the house.

    Anyway, the entire session she's yelling at me saying she doesn't get it, it's too hard, she can't do this, she doesn't know how, etc, etc, etc. She has a mic where she can ask the teacher questions. She doesn't want to. If she doesn't want to use the mic, she can type it. She doesn't want to do that either. She can call the teacher after the session for extra help. She doesn't want to do that either. I tell her that we will go over the lesson together after the session and maybe some of what the teacher was saying will start to click as she and I work on it together. No it won't because she's not going to remember anything the teacher said because she doesn't get it and it's too hard and she can't do it.


    I'm so over this. She failed math last quarter because she was doing this and I refuse to fight with her. It's her work and her one and only responsibility. So, now she's on the 'I'm going to fail the 7th grade kick' and goes off the deep end. If she would sit down and try to do the work without starting off with I can't and I don't and it's too hard she would get somewhere. I can't do the daily fighting and meltdowns over it. Sending her back to regular school is not the answer. It's just trading one problem for another except the fall out is bigger from the constant sky high anxiety.

    The constant negativity and bickering and arguing is really getting on my last nerve. This is what I was afraid of when I agreed to let her do this school this year. Of course she promised it wouldn't be this way. I think it's time to draw up some kind of contract about doing her schoolwork. Any suggestions?

    by the way, how do I look with blue hair?
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I'm not defending your daughter in ANYWAY - because what you said was very true - you've offered to help, you've asked her to route her questions to the appropriate places and she's refusing so it's on her. That is true.

    But I struggled in school for years with math. And because I couldn't 'get it' the teacher made me feel like I was an idiot. I went for years with severely damaged self-esteem due to my own personal inability to grasp math.

    It wasn't until I was working a job about 9 years ago and met a woman I hired as our company bookkeeper that I began to "get it" and the reason I "got it" was because of her ability to be a phenomenal teacher. AND the fact that life itself has math every day that once you are out of a classroom setting you don't feel pressures to "do good" get a "Great Grade" or pass a test. In life you either get it or you don't. If you don't get it - you don't get the job, or raises - and tend to gravitate towards jobs and a career that hopefully doesn't have math. (Doesn't happen too often) Stinking math - it's everywhere.

    And now - I'm a bookkeeper. lol. I always thought being a banker would be a neat job - but percentages, money - and the opportunity to mess up made me shy far away.

    Sometimes - the best way to approach kids with math is to GIVE them the problems and then GIVE THEM the answers - and let them work it out in a way that makes sense to them. I can figure out how many linear feet are in an acre, but three people solving that problem are going to do it 3 different ways - and come up with the same answer.

    You have to have a local college close - post a notice and you and W interview them - have them help her solve a math problem that is hard to W and see if one of them may be a teacher that "gets" her way of thinking.

    It's not the math - THAT is all the same - it's HOW you teach them so that they can learn. And she's right - why bother asking when you don't understand what to ask for.

    Just a different slant -
  3. PersonalEnigma

    PersonalEnigma New Member

    Love the blue hair ;) As for math, maybe she can find a way to break down the problems rather than going at them full tilt. Often it isn't so hard if you do things one step at a time. I also found with my difficult child that he often could do whatever it is that he's avoiding, but it took a while of head-butting to get there. If I stuck it out he'd eventually give and do the task and then be amazed that it wasn't as hard as he thought it was... It depends on your difficult child's temperament though. I wouldn't give up on her though - that way she wins and doesn't learn an essential subject (especially at the grade 7 level). Maybe she needs to see a purpose to the math - many kids don't see how it can help with "real life" and can't be bothered.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I love the blue hair!

    As far as the math, I would do all I can to step away. If the local university has any teaching depts, they may have a dept to help kids with school issues. Ours has a math and reading center that does AMAZING testing for about $10 - stuff the "experts" charge upwards of $1000 for, for math and reading disabilities. ANd, because the students have recently learned about it, they follow the diagnostic criteria closer than many who have done it for years and developed their own biases. Just what we have seen with many of the kids' friends.

    Try the local university.

    But. If she is determined that she can't do it, she won't be able to. Have you done any brushing and joint compressions, Occupational Therapist (OT) type stuff? Usually it is done in younger kids, but I find it helpful when any of mine get "stuck" in this mode. The Occupational Therapist (OT) who worked with thank you showed me this. He was trying to do something and "I can't"ing all over the place. She did some very gentle joint compressions and he started to focus and be able to do it. And it had worked at home!!! Magic maybe, but it was worth a try. MAybe the School District Occupational Therapist (OT) can show you? I don't think it can hurt, if it is done right. What I mean is that even if the child does not have diagnostically significant Occupational Therapist (OT) issues, the brushing and joint compressions, done properly, don't seem like they could hurt anything.

    I am so sorry she is being impossible.


  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    You, my dear, look awesome in blue hair!

    My daughter was one those who couldn't/wouldn't/didn't knowers. She was so afraid of getting something wrong it was easier to just refuse to do it. Sadly, neither the school nor I ever found a way to get her to try, even baby steps. If your daughter is in the fear of failure boat, I think your best chance is doing it in very small steps where she can see some success. Good luck!
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    You know Star* has a point... I was horrible in math... but I don't think I was "taught" math... I cheated my way though... JK ;)
    But now as an adult when I have been able to understand something I have been like well why didn't someone explain that to me? It could have all been so much easier.
    I am actually pretty good at it now. But it has been hard and it took lots of time and wasted energy... Some of us just don't think like the books teach... and we don't absorb things the same and pick up things the same or as quickly or in the same manner as others...
    But that does not excuse her attitude!!!
    K does the same thing and I will try different techniques, but some days nothing works.
    Others she is a little genius... who knows?
    Hang in there.
    We need a school where all of our kids can go together, so we can all have coffee and sodas and tea whatever... while they are in a warm nurturing environment.... AHHHHH!!!
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Math is her area of struggle because it is the area that causes her the most angst. However, she does get it and she tests above average. It does take her a bit longer and we do have to break it down into smaller steps, but the way this math program works it is broken down into the smaller steps. At her regular school district it wasn't. It was more of the here is the problem figure out how to do it and she would be lost.

    I've been doing this with her for years. I would finally get frustrated and walk away, come back 10 minutes later and she had done it. It's not that she can't. It's that she doesn't want to apply herself. She's used to things coming easy for her so the first time she has to work at something, she falls right into the i can'Tourette's Syndrome.

    She just digs in her heels and that's all there is to it. No matter how calm I stay she's arguing, yelling, whining and complaining and will not listen. I break it down, I show her the steps, I wrack my brain to find another way to show it and it doesn't matter because she will. not. try. She will not let me finish a sentence or even finish writing the problem before she starts in with the I can't, it's too hard and I don't get it. And my personal favorite - Don't you ever listen to me? I've told you a thousand times it's too hard for me and I can't do it! - while she's cutting me off in mid-sentence in trying to help her. Sometimes, after about an hour or so (usually more towards the or so part), she'll calm down and we can get somewhere.

    I'm just not going to do that every day anymore.
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I got nothing....
    Hire a mean tutor and have her come over... like a drill sargeant !!! Maybe then she will appreciate you!!!
    I got nothing....
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What happens if you just walk away and leave her when she yells at you about this? Does she follow you?

    It sure seems like she is rocking on the drama she is causing.

    You might try looking at some of the techniques in Love and Logic Parenting. It is a different way of handling things, at least it was for us. But we found it did help.

    The books are available, though I think the one for special needs kids would be most helpful. Check the website ( www.loveandlogic.com) for it. They also have a lot of other stuff that might help. I even read/listen to the stuff directed at teachers, because parents ARE the primary teacher in a child's life, at least for many many years. And I find neat stuff there.


  10. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    But, anyway...

    I'm going to work up some kind of contract when it comes to schoolwork. We've worked up a schedule, but that includes a lot of nagging on my end and then more of the I cant's and quite honestly I'm sick of it every day. by the way, I'm not getting the I cant's with only math. I'm getting them with all subjects. It's just that math has always been her most angst-filled subject so that's more pronounced.

    She made a deal with me when I agreed to let her do this school that would she log on every day, do her work, ask for help from the appropriate people (teachers, me) and not do this arguing, etc. She's not holding up her end of the deal and I'm tired of fighting about it. I want something spelled out that states this is your responsibility and this is what will happen if you don't do it. I do not want to use going back to regular school as a consequence unless she absolutely will not follow through after we do the contract.

    I've never done a contract like this and could use some ideas. Thanks.
  11. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Not a whole lot of help coming to mind. Just sending you some hugs.

  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    Okay I get you now. She's bright - she's just lazy. And while she can do the work she's trying to involve you in her drama? Got it.

    You are a wise woman to back away from this. Write the contract out like it was done the day she did the "please please please Mom I'll......." and let her have her lumps.

    I don't know what more you could do. I think you're doing great. No.....SUPER!


    and YOU young lady with the super cool name had BETTER get busy and stop upsetting your MOTHER. You don't want auntie TOTO to send the MP's do you? LOL - Toto you're a quiet riot!
  13. Jena

    Jena New Member


    i'm sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time with her right now. i know the battling over schoolwork can be so incredibly difficult and before you know it you are arguing back and forth no resolution in sight and more frustrated than you previously were. i have an almost 15 year old who has not been doing well in school at all for this will be the third year.

    if it's truly Math alone that is presenting the problem, not her lack of not wanting to do it i too would suggest maybe when she;'s not online pulling a few basic problems for her to do with you. (i'm a horror at Math, so if your like me you'l have to teach yourself first like i do...LOL). then exactly that break it down do it with her, engage her possibly by asking questions. I also like to try to make it a problem solving thing. not sure what type of math she's doing but my little one connects betre if i make an interesting story out of it throwing the math in then she is intriguied. (ok i can't even spell LOL). by picking a more basic question not maybe one of the complex ones she's dealing with it may give her some confidence that she reallly can do it if she applies "whatever" formula it calls for. math alone can be hard, having a child doing a regular days work at home can be hard, and arguing is a nightmare......i applaude you for making such great efforts. yet another amazing mom.

    hope those tips help they usually work for me. when my big one and i begin to engage we seperate just like kids.....we take a time out from eachother to cool off deep breath then we get back together and i tell her that if she changed her reactions and tone with me how the outcome would be diff. i actually play it out....oh yeah she just loves that.....LOL...

    anyway sorry you are having a rough time and good luck

  14. Jena

    Jena New Member

    ok i truly have to fix my computer somethings up with it i logs on it logs off i don't know where i am half the time and i'm not even on xanax right now.....LOL.....i just got back on and read your last post.

    ok i agree with toto just hire someone to scare her!!! LOL

    blue hair is good too. can you imagine if we did like our kids and acted out from the pressure colored our hair red or blue, etc. they came home to find us jumping all around the room.......ok clearly i should use the xanax the dr. gave me.....LOL

  15. PersonalEnigma

    PersonalEnigma New Member

    My difficult child's friends LOVE my blue hair ;) (yes, it really IS blue - at the back underneath that is) It suits my quirky personality and you'd be amazed how smoothly it fits in to everything - I've not had a single bad comment or look on it and several compliments :D I'll have to find a photo of it to upload tp show you guys for fun :)
  16. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I have always found it hard to teach my own children even though I teach for a living. Your post reminded me of something that happened today.

    My easy child's current career goal is to be a math teacher (but it changes weekly). :teacher:
    She is taking an education class right now that requires her to log 10 hours of time working with a student and writing a journal on the experience.

    I set her up with one of my honor's level students that struggled first semester but didn't want to drop down to a college prep level class. My easy child showed up early and sat through my seventh period class and then worked with the student after school.

    When their tutoring session was done, my easy child said to me, "I don't know if I can do this. I don't have as much patience as you do."

    I was surprised to hear her say that since I don't see patience as a particular strong point of mine and said, "Me? I have a lot of patience?"

    To which she replied, "Well, not with me but with them you do."

    So I admire your willingness to homeschool your child but can understand your pulling your hair out at this point.:919Mad:

    I think you have made a wise decision to draw up a contract and then walk away from her drama.

    One thing I did think about was getting a tutor that was a high school or college student. They don't charge as much as a certified math teacher would and your difficult child might be more willing to work with them with less drama.

    by the way, Star, I laughed out loud at your comment:

    I may make that my classroom motto.

  17. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Kathy - you made me chuckle. I don't come by patience naturally. It's a learned skill - by force. But, honest to God difficult child could make a saint lose patience.

    I don't mind helping her. I'm going to have to because she learns differently and I typically come up with several different ways of working a problem - and sometimes ask easy child for his ideas - until we find one that clicks with Wynter. Fortunately, both easy child and I are strong at math. Since easy child learned math with the new-fangled ;) methods being used, I do ask him for help sometimes because he'll come up with a way I never thought of.

    And we do have a tutor in the works that will come to the house. And she has her teachers AND she has these online LIFT sessions where they actually do the day's lesson together.

    If it were just math, I'd be working up different ideas. But, it's just getting her to do her schoolwork period. It's a fight every day. Then, when I don't fight she gets mad at me and says that I didn't make her do her work and so she's going to be behind. :faint: I'm not fighting with her every day over it. I'm over that and, frankly, a lot of days anymore I don't have the stamina. Second, it's hard to get behind to the point of it being an issue because it's an online school. It's not like you miss a day and walk into a classroom that's a day ahead of you. And since it's online, assignments are available 24/7.

    So, how do I work this contract? I really do need help with that. Neurologically I've been so fuzzy the last few days and I'm not even sure where to start. Do I write expectations and consequences or just expectations or........what?

    I'm feeling a bit lost here....
  18. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Maybe daily expectations with rewards for when completed and consequences for absolute refusal. I'd do some sort of tick (where she can see you mark them) for each "I can't," "I won't," etc. Every ten ticks would be a deduction of either tv/computer/play time or a monetary fine. This gives her some leeway to voice some frustration but not enough to drive you batty.

    Contracts have never worked for my daughter. This was the one area even her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) had no luck. She'd sign their contracts and then promptly ignore the agreement whenever it suited her. She'd also use the contracts as a hedge -- if it something wasn't specifically written then she'd feel she could get away with doing/not doing that behavior. So, others had to follow their signed agreement but she didn't. Total waste of energy. Hope yours is better (but I doubt it, our two sound very much alike).
  19. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    I have the same exact problem with my difficult child, I homeschool her (what was I thinking!!) So here it is. We just recently made a contract for this reason and others. I got suggestions from my brother who is head shrink for a school system. The contract was broken down into several sections: What is expected, what the consequences would be for extreme behaiors, and what rewards were to be. I find the rewards to work better than consequences. We have daily rewards which are small (half hour extra time on comuter, phone, Tv, half hour later cerfew, etc) She gets those if she does everything she is supposed to that day. Every Sunday we take a weekly inventory of behavior and actions and if she made it the whole week it's a weekly reward which is a little bigger ( an hour more to do stuff on weekends, a shirt she wants, a pair of cheap earing, lipgloss, anything under $10 - you could make it less or more) Consequences are for lying, stealing, snaeking out, throwing a fit, etc. For these actions privelages are taken away. The nice part for me is that the rules are spelled out for both of us.
    As far as the math, would a live person tutor be more helpful? My daughter's old therapist told me that she won't even try because she is convinced she is going to fail. If that's the case than you need to start small in math with something difficult child is comfortable with and knows she won't fail. The online class may be too confusing or going at a speed to quickly for her. Maybe supplement the class with basic math review so difficult child can see she's "getting" it. Sometimes it's eaier for them to take instruction from anyone who is not their parent - that's the only reason I suggested a tutor. It's not easy!!!! Good luck!
  20. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    MB - you're right. We have a list of house rules that Wynter came up with before we moved into this house and I approved. It was Wynter's idea. About once or twice a week she'll yell at me that we're not following the house rules and it's all my fault. Then I remind her that *I'm* doing everything on the list all by myself and that she is the one that wanted to come up with this and I'm not going to battle everyday to enforce it.

    I don't expect it to drastically change things. I'm just hoping to make her see that this is *her* responsibility. Kids need reminded to do things; I know that. But, I'm not going to fight with her everyday and then have her blame me when I don't 'make her' do it. Not going there anymore. So, I'm just hoping that writing up a contract stating that it is her responsibility and here are the expectations will put more weight on her, Know what I mean?? I'm not even sure I'm going to do consequences because the real consequence for not doing her school work is bad grades and giving her my own consequences is just going to put the responsibility for her schoolwork right back on me.

    I'm still working it out in my head. I appreciate the ideas. It gives me a good place to start.