Puzzling change in my daughter. Ideas?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A short blurb of back story: I have a very social thirteen year old daughter with Learning Disability (LD)'s (she struggles to get C's with help). She is athletic and beautiful and has always been extremely busy with her friends. Until recently I couldn't keep her home. Also, in Wisconsin you can choose to send your child to a school district that is out of your own, if you provide transportation. My daughter wanted to go to a bigger middle school so we said it would be ok. We are going to drive her and pick her up. She has a lot of friends there (or did) and there are more opportunities academically and athletically, but also more "bad element." Our own district is tiny, mayb 30 kids in her grade. They have more help for Learning Disability (LD) kids in the other district and also more options for classes. And that school is huge in sports.

    So here's the problem:

    This summer my daughter is pretty much hanging out at home. A lot of the girls (and boys) she used to love to hang out with are just not in the picture. She claims nobody is angry at her and gets angry when I ask about it. I do know that one of the boys she once hung around with is getting high, so maybe some of the kids are doing things that she doesn't want to get involved with? I don't know if this is true. It's my Mommy mind going nuts. I'm not sure if she'd tell me if I asked her because she knows I'm nervous about the switch to a big school. And if she does tell me that her friends aren't in trouble, why isn't she hanging with them anymore? She told my hub about this boy and was very critical of him.

    I don't want to paint a gloomy picture. She does do things, especially with a classmate who lives a block away. But she seems to be avoiding almost everyone else. If I ask her about it she gets mad and says I'm "annoying." She says nothing is wrong. Should I enjoy it for now and forget about it? I think it would be less an issue if she wasn't switching schools in the fall. She is very well-known at the school she'll be going to, but if a lot of her "friends" have changed and are now doing drugs or having sex, two things I am positive she is not doing at this time, it makes me wonder if I should send her.

    But she wants to still go, and hasn't done anything to breech our trust.

    I can't wait until my last two kids are grown up. I'm really too old to still be parenting. I should be just taking care of my dogs and hanging out with hub. Parenting is so stressful. :tongue:
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator


    Stop worrying so much!!! (I say that with a lot of love because I'm a worrier too, lol!)

    She hasn't done anything to make you doubt her, her best opportunities are at the bigger school and she has a good head on her shoulders. Enjoy the fact that your daughter would rather be alone at this age than run with the kids getting into trouble.

    Maybe you can find something for her to keep busy this summer... like volunteer work. It will look good on an application in a few years when she's old enough for her first job.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You sure are right about parenting being stressful!

    I'm not sure what to think. I know during the summer my easy child rarely does things with friends (partly because we live so far away) and I remember when I was young summers were very different. I often didn't see my main group of friends during the summer.

    on the other hand, it could be that her friends are starting to engage in things she doesn't want to. I remember at that age it starting to happen a lot. I had friends making choices that I just didn't want to get involved in.

    If she really wants to go I would probably still let her go, even at smaller schools kids can make bad choices. As you said she hasn't done anything to breech your trust.

    If it doesn't work out you can always have her return to her home school.

    Hugs, I know making decisions like this is so hard.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Your daughter is that age when socializing begins to change--the kids get meaner and less accepting. If your daughter is choosing not to hang out with old friends, she may have very good reasons. She may not agree with their choices. They may be drifting apart. OR they may be getting into smoking, drugs, alcohol...whatever...and because your daughter is not--she is no longer 'cool'.

    It would be nice if she would open up to you and tell you what has been going on....but if not--I wouldn't push the issue too much. Next year is a new school and new opportunities for new friendships.

    Perhaps she will find a new "crowd" that shares her interests?

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, TM, I know, I'm so silly!!! LOL! And I know you worry too about your precious little Duckie!

    Thanks, all. I appreciate the fast responses on a holiday weekend. You'd think with my fifth child I'd stop being such a worrier, but I can't. Part of that is my own anxiety disorder.

    Part of my problem is that I was so ostracized as a child that I have no memory of when "things changed." I never had many friends or a crowd and I'm such an old bat that kids didn't get into drugs at thirteen back then...lol.

    If anyone has anything else to add, it would be welcome. I try so hard to give HOPEFULLY good advice to others (I'm sure I"ve blown it a few times, but I mean well) BUT I can't even handle my own emotions. It's so much easier to be objective when it's NOT your child.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think it's a good sign and means she is maturing and has a mind of her own instead of just following the crowd and getting involved in whatever they want. (I say that because I went thru something similar- LOL!) I agree with pusuing the other school as planned. I think if she doesn't adjust to it well, grades faulter, and she withdraws from sports and social life completely, then that could mean that she's having more trouble feeling like she fits in and could be depressed. That's not uncommon at that age but I don't think she has reached that point yet, in my humble opinion.
  7. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    There was a child that my oldest began avoiding in late middle school. I pushed him to keep up the friendship because I knew the kid had a rough life. I later found out that he pushed my son to drink and would get very angry if he didn't. My son felt pressure from two sides.

    Luckily, my son was a easy child and solved his problem by avoiding this kid when he could and taking a drink and sipping when he couldn't. He never told me until years later. I'm not happy with myself that I pushed the friendship, but I am surprised he didn't just tell me...it would have ended my pushing the friendship quickly.

    Only you know your daughter, this was my experience thou.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't worry too much about it. The summer before Miss KT started junior high, she didn't hang out too much, as I remember. She was nervous about the new situation, and some of her elementary friends were changing in ways she wasn't comfortable with.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    MWM, you've already gotten some great ideas and read about others' experiences here, and I can't add anything except that I agree with the posts. I'm guessing she's just finding herself, and doesn't like what some of the kids are doing. I'd let it go.
    I also like the idea of geting her to volunteer somewhere.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was able to talk to my daughter today and she was candid. She said that her friends were NOT in trouble, but that they were busy and that she didn't see many of them lately because there was no skate club in the summer and because many were with their "other" parents (ah, the joys of divorce) or were on vacation. About one friend she said "We never were really that close." It's true that most of her friends live in the next town over, not ours, so that she doesn't see them that much. She still wants to go to the big school and made me promise to call on Monday to find out about Volleyball. Seems you have to start Volleyball try outs two weeks before school starts in order to make the first string team, which is very important to her. All in all, it was a good talk. She said only that one boy was going bad and that she doesn't talk to him or his friends anymore and that all of HER friends are angry at him for what he is doing.
    On top of that, she was crabby and these tired the past few days because she had her period. She didn't tell me, but hub said he found a dirty napkin in the bathroom :sick:. She is REALLY bad about leaving them around!!!!! Ugh!
    Thanks for all the suggestions.
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    MWM, kt has been very much the same this summer. Last summer she was so active with PCA & friends. This summer it's a different kt. As far as I can tell nothing has happened with friends; husband's death comes into play.

    I remember one summer myself that I just wanted to be alone & sort things out. I still loved my family & friends ~ just needed a break from the nonstop activity. I wanted to read.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think that your daughter has given you EXCELLENT reason to TRUST her. She is avoiding one kid who is making bad choices, she is developing her own interests rather than going "with the crowd", she is taking time to develop her interests and all these are great reasons to trust her.

    I am glad you had a talk with her and she opened up. The issue with used feminine products seems to be universal with our kids. I buy the little bags that are in the dog aisle at the dollar store for Jessie. They used to have them for diapers but no longer do. She has to tie them into a baggie or risk having me chew her out and make her scrub the entire bathroom (sinks, tub, counter, wipe down lightswitches and faucets and doorknobs, clean the toilet, mop the floor - even wash all the laundry in the hamper!) which she hates to do. since seeing these makes husband barf, I feel it is reasonable to ask her to tie them in little bags. Even to use Walmart bags if she runs out because she hasn't told me she needs them. (She even used the bag the toilet paper was wrapped in the other day because she KNEW I would skin her alive if she left one unwrapped in my bathroom!)

    As much as you can, let go of this issue. She clearly has the social contacts, and is comfortable in social situations. Trust her until she gives you a clear reason not to.
  13. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    MWM, my easy child is a kid who seems to be able to self direct. I have given him a lot of freedom based on his choices. He just isn't the kind of kid who wants his parents navigating the world for him. As long as he does the right thing, he has little meddling from us. (take into consideration the age, since all teens make mistakes) If they stay away from some old friends, I would respect that choice.
    Just keep the lines of communication open. I give opinions which easy child seems to ignore on the surface, but I know that he really keeps the life lessons in his head.
    You are right. At some point it's too tough to parent younger kids. We sort of age out.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, all. A lot!

    Susie, :D about the bag. Actually, N. is a total slob. We just cleaned her room with her because I was afraid it would attract bugs. It took three of us three hours to do it and she is starting to throw her clothes around all over again. She is very disorganized (part of her learning disabilities), but it puzzles hub and I that she wouldn't want to keep up with the clean room. So it fits that she'd throw her bloody napkin around, although it's gross. I'm going to give her a bag, but I'm not sure even that will work. She can be pretty lazy and spacey about stuff like that. Maybe if hub holds it up and shows her he found it, she'll be so embarrassed that she'll throw it out.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    MWM, it isn't ONE bag, it is a package of about 50 smaller bags. Each napkin/tampon goes into a bag and gets tied shut. With husband's stomach we tried one bag. She wouldn't shut it. I actually made HER clean up the vomit in the sink. She was angry until I told her WHY she was cleaning it. She came around when she had a package of the smaller bags for dog doo to be put in. They are even black and sometimes they are scented to mask the dog doo scent. Look in the dollar store where they have pet stuff. I figure that even if there are 50 bags (used to be 100 but now is 50) for a dollar, it is worth 2 pennies a bag to tie each one up separately.

    If she runs out and doesn't tell husband or I, then SHE has to pay for the bags. As long as she is using them and tells us before she runs out then we pay for them. It is only a dollar, but it seems to matter to her!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Susie, I swear, even if the bags were right beside her, she likely wouldn't use them. This is our biggest problem with her--she is a huge slob. Fortunately for her, I'm far from a neat freak, so we seldom clash badly over this.

    I will try the bags and hope for the best. She DOES embarass easily so I'm hoping that her dad showing her a bloody napkin will whip her into shape. She doesn't even like us to know when she has her period.