Struggling to Detach...Because

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I really want to "butt in" on this one!

    difficult child has a really big assignment in English. It is a research paper and it will count for pretty much the entire grade this marking period.

    The teacher sent home a letter about the assignment and requested that parents signed it, indicating they understood the requirements of the project. Among other things, this paper may NOT be entirely researched off the internet--students are required to read actual books (more than one!). Additionally, the research paper must include an interview with an expert on the topic.

    When choosing their topics, students were cautioned to pick something for which there was a LOT of information available and that they knew they would be able to speak with an "expert" about. As an example, football would be a good topic because there are plenty of books available AND they would be able to interview the football coach as their "expert".

    difficult child chose something really obscure. I asked her whether there were books available. She assured me there were TONS. I asked whether she had an expert in mind--she said she knew jusy who to ask. The teacher had these same concerns, but after getting similar reassurances from difficult child--the teacher approved her topic.

    Well, turns out there is NOT ONE book on the subject in our entire inter-library system. difficult child said not to worry, as she was sure there were plenty at the school library. Okie-Dokey.

    The other day, she asks me how to get ahold of Dr. Phil. What???? Evidently, he is the person she has chosen as her 'expert' and she needs to contact him for an interview.

    Yesterday, difficult child explained to me that the project isn't even a research paper, really--it's more like a collection of opinions. So she doesn't really need an expert after all....AND she can do all of her 'research' on line. Naturally, I reminded her about the paper I had to sign about the project--but difficult child assures me it doesn't apply because the teacher has changed her mind about the requirements.


    difficult child is, no doubt, making it up as she goes along. I SHOULD just let her deal with the consequences of her own choices...

    But part of me wants to contact the teacher and ask whether she really has dropped all the requirements for this project.

    Why, o WHY after all this time am I still STILL desperately trying to give difficult child the benefit of the doubt???? She's a liar. Why do I feel so determined to investigate for myself...just in case???


  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh wow. Sounds like her thinking is a bit magical right now!

    I can truly appreciate what you are feeling. I'm in a similar boat with difficult child 1. He had a paper due yesterday but swore up and down that it wasn't due until today. Didn't start writing it until I really got on his back Sunday (he spent Saturday helping husband and goofing off, and Monday we were gone most of the day at a basketball game).

    I got a text from him late yesterday morning that he wanted me to email his paper to his teacher! Well, sorry, pal, but I'm not at home and won't be until lunchtime. Then he says nevermind because he has more to do on the project.

    I am purposely NOT looking at his grades right now because I'm afraid I'll have a stroke and at this late stage, there's not a whole lot that can be done. I'm tired of nagging, tired of being the bad guy.

    But still, like you, I hate to see him fail when I know that if he simply followed directions and turned in work on time, he'd solve 90% of his problems in school!
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ouch! She thinks Dr.Phil is going to be her "expert"? LOL. Good luck with that

    I am dying here trying to figure out what her topic is if he is the only expert she can use and there are no books available. Making it from private practice to Oprah and then to having your own TV show? LOL. Surely the teacher didnt approve that for a topic.
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Personally, I wouldn't detach on this. I would contact the teacher, explain the situation, and see if she could change her topic. She made a poor choice on her topic and now can't find what she needs. Maybe she could have some points taken off for that, but to make the whole quarter's grade suffer for this seems too harsh. The point of the project is to research, using the internet and books, and to interview someone, not to pick a topic.

    Yes, you and the teacher tried to tell her. But she is a difficult child and she can use some extra support.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    After being in similar situations with Miss KT, I understand where you're coming from. And I wouldn't help unless difficult child asks. That includes contacting the teacher. Granted, she's a difficult child, and does need extra support, but for you to step in is, in my opinion, bailing her out. Maybe ask her if she's considered talking to her teacher about changing topics, but otherwise, just let it go.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    She is 14 right? Which would make her in 8th grade I am assuming right?

    I would contact the teacher if I were you behind difficult child's back and ask her if she is aware of difficult child's off the wall thinking on this topic. Maybe she can step in and bring difficult child down to earth without you doing anything. If she forces difficult child to change her topic to something more mundane like, oh, Carolina/Clemson rivalry...well so what.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Her topic is vampires. Real ones. She wants to research people who actually suffer from vampire-type symptoms that causes them to need to drink blood and stay out of the sunlight, etc...
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well why would Dr Phil be her expert? What does he have to do with that?
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Honestly, he would be more likely to have her sent directly to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC)...lmao.
  10. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    LOL! In that case....let's call him right away!!!
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    difficult child is currently in 9th grade.

    And this topic is the changed version....difficult child originally chose vampires and other fantasy creatures. The teacher said No--it cannot be fiction.

    So difficult child submitted the name of a medical condition (which escapes me at this point)--which is, supposedly, this real-life vampire condition.

    So yes, I am on the the teacher or no....I change my mind from moment to moment.

  12. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Since you are on the fence, think about what your goal is. Is it for her to learn to research and read books to do it or is it to pick better topics or at least to listen when your teacher and mom tell you that you don't have a good topic? Or something else?

    It may not matter, because the teacher may not let her pick a different topic anyway.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Porphyria. We have a friend that suffers from it. WHY anyone would ever think that this is a romantic disease is beyond me. Scabs all over your arms, no cure, blood transfusions, sickly, our friend is mostly embarrassed all the time about his skin. That may be the 'vampire' disease she's trying to connect to.

    As far as butting in or butting out? This one I have to vote butt out. Actually part of me would want to pick up every single ringing phone at night, cover it and yell "OMG it's Dr. Phil." and hold out the receiver, but I am sarcastic and it's not helpful with a difficult child, and I know it. (rolls eyes). My luck his bald butt would call. I WOULD on the other hand have a private call with teacher and just for my own satisfaction ask her if the project had changes etc. You could word your inquiry so as not to be damaging to your daughter, or tip your hat to the teacher. Maybe word it in such a way as to ask if there was any progress etc. with your daughter or what the teacher thought of Dr. P as the choice?

    Daisy, Dude is 19. I wish I could sit you down and say that I don't have these episodes any more and that at a certain point in your life with your daughter you won't either. I really do wish that with all my heart. What I can tell you for certain is this is one of many exercises that you as a parent will be put through - kind of like the addage; whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger with a twist. Whatever gets one over on you makes you wiser. It's twisted logic, but there's always a next time of having to think one step ahead with our kids. It's THAT 'thing' that makes ME want to pull my hair out and makes me hit my knees harder. I don't know any more if I pray more for patience or the wits to outsmart my own kid. lol. Then I find myself asking - Dear Lord, give me courage, strength and smarts to outwit my son who is less than 1/2 my age, protect him from the world, and my tongue....ugh. You know?

    So take this event and turn it into a learning opportunity to make yourself well armed for future events/battles. You're going to be VERY VERY VERY SMART. (sigh)

    Why I'm so brilliant because of my kid.... I shine.....hahaha......(crazy woman laugh) come....laugh with me. :tongue:

    Seriously - learn from this - so you know EXACTLY how to plan and be one step ahead ...the NEXT time. There will be a next time.

    Hugs & Love
  14. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I know this is completely off topic, but if her project really is about porphyria, I myself would have a ball with it. There are plenty of hypotheses about various members of royal European families having suffered from this affliction. She might be able to contact the American Porphyria Foundation to see if she could do a telephone interview of someone with this disease. She might ask them how they feel about the current craze for vampirism and how very real their suffering is, compared to the romantic notion depicted in fiction.

    This is a very sophisticated subject for her age and she must have felt passionate about her choice to stick to her guns like this. I don't see anything wrong in trying to guide a 14 y.o.; that is still young. I also resent that so much of her grade depends on this project.

    You don't have to be a difficult child to make dumb, esoteric choices. I once chose to do a presentation to my classmates on Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. Boy, did I regret that!
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This thread is getting very interesting, as you each have given me something to think about:

    GCVMom--YES! I hear you! I, too, am tired of nagging and tired of being the bad guy....when if difficult child just followed instructions and did the work, she would be doing fine. It seems so simple--so why does it have to be so hard?

    Hope--That is a good point about considering the purpose of the project...research--and not choosing a topic.

    KTMom--I think you are right, too about my interference being a "bailout". I'm willing to help, sure....but bail her out? Not so sure...

    Hope again, a good point about considering my goals. I guess I am still trying to define them.

    Star--I am with you and Janet on the Dr Phil thing. it is beyond ridiculous that difficult child figured she could just ring him up for an interview. Pfffttt!!!

    3Shadows--I'm perfectly willing to help out (if difficult child asks). I agree that porphyria would be an excellent topic for a research paper.

    Here's the thing, though--

    I had heard of Porphyrria before....and this disease that difficult child came up with was some kind of "syndrome" that I'd never heard before in my life. And she claims that these people with this "syndrome" are the really real vampires

    Now, let's just say that she is correct. I'd still be very happy to lend a hand.

    In fact, I drove her to the library....helped her search through all of the stacks....checked the online card catalog to see if we could even order a book on her subject. And there is nothing.

    I asked her about choosing this topic. Where did she get this information from?

    She said she found "all kinds" of information about it online and that there are TONS of books available. Really? You're sure???


    Then the Dr. phil thing.

    Now, I am hearing that the whole project has changed to just gathering opinions. So it sounds like she just intends to ask people whether they believe in vampires or not--which, clearly, is NOT a research project...

    But--difficult child is very "in-my-face" and adamant that this is, INDEED, the correct procedure for this paper. She insists that the teacher has OK'd only using internet sources and foregoing the expert interview.

    So, in a way...I almost want to touch base with the teacher for the sake of my own sanity. Here I am...ready and willing to be supportive of this project. I signed a paper from the teacher acknowledging that I understood the project.

    But I am trying to be helpful and supportive of a person who seems completely out of touch with the reality of the requirements of this project. It appears that she has chosen a topic that does not exist. She has chosen an expert that is not someone she can reach in reality. And she is changing the rules about the project in her own head to fit what she intends to turn in.

    It's crazy...

    And I am not really sure whether she even believes her own stories any more....

    And yet, I keep falling for them because I really want to help.


  17. Red Chief

    Red Chief New Member

    Just butting my 2 cents in here.

    If you signed a paper saying that you understand what the project is about, then I think you have the right to contact the teacher & see if anything has changed. I would probably do it on the down low so that your difficult child doesn't know about it. If nothing has changed, maybe you could cue in the teacher to what's happening, like someone said above.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There lies the rub. You signed a paper saying you understood the requirements. That means the teacher is going to lay at least partial responsibility on you to know what is required for this paper.

    I think if difficult child is telling you that something has changed then you should verify this change. I would. Just like I would call to verify that school was ending early if difficult child told me.
  19. maril

    maril New Member

    I see opinions differ regarding how far you should go to help out but just want to add some info "three medical conditions that may well explain why some unfortunate souls were mistaken for these dark creatures of the night."

    Maybe an interview with a doctor as an "expert" could be arranged (e.g., hematologist)? Plus, she could probably find information at the library regarding the different medical conditions named.

    Good luck!
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I feel I stand corrected. ;) Three shadows is right. After reading her post I agree. I guess I just got a little oversensitive due to our friends long term illness and the stares and whispers and number of times we've had to educate....therein lies the entire basis for a good interview. Touche' mon ami!

    Janet et tu. She did sign the paper saying she knew. So you are also right. Ahhhhh I love this family. SO many wonderful hands on the steering wheel.

    Merci beaucoup