Trying to stay level headed about this and not get defensive or start self admonishing
Please bear with me as I get these words out of my head on to the screen in an attempt to get a handle on them.
Signed in to email account this evening to find a message from head of year at DD new secondary indie stating that DD had written a note for her attention this morning stating how much she hates school, feels that she doesn’t fit in, she can’t do any of the work and so on. Worse still it mentioned health related incidents that I was unaware of. I feel crap obviously but put that aside to have a chat with DD before bed just to get a handle on what is indeed going on. Using some of the counselling and coaching techniques I would use at work allowed me to keep my own emotions at bay but have to admit that an hour in it was starting to get harder to keep the mom aspect from butting in. Having listed to DD, I feel less winded (I felt physically sick upon first reading the email) but of course it is about getting into the school and making sure that DD is supported through this.
First thing first tomorrow is the Dr's for sure but then taking her to school and hoping to speak with the head of year in person.
Have of course already thought of, and have mentioned it to her, that if the school is indeed not right, then it is simply not. Maybe more my panic than hers I think and yes, it really is only 6 weeks in to this totally new way of life for her....In fact, I remember feeling exactly the same way at this stage when I started my degree so I know it is a stage to be expected. The fact is she has gone from a state school where she was in the top sets/streams for all her subject and basically not being challenged much to an environment where she is feeling quite challenged and is facing work that she has not even been introduced to at primary, which others seem to be quite familiar with already seems to be getting to her. Worse still is her slowly dawning realisation that she has ridiculous (my words not hers. Over-optimistic might be more supportive a term...) expectations for self that is not quite matched by the current level of her subject specific knowledge, independent work skills, listening & information retention skills, and homework discipline.
She truly excels at sports which is one of the main drivers to get her into such a school because of the opportunities it affords. She has always been a smart child, highly creative, popular and personable, though rather stubborn and inflexible at times which I guess serves her well in certain competitive arenas. I genuinely thought, and still think, she will do well in this kind of high achieving environment but what if I have got it wrong. She has already set herself apart in sports but then the health concern has me so worried. She has so many hours of sports per week and is on the A team of both major sports which means competitions, rallies and tournaments. Six weeks in and I think she is just simply exhausted and overwhelmed. Regarding 'fitting in' this is a girl that is as familiar with high arts as she is with football and would have no reason to feel like the odd one out lifestyle dependent. In fact, though initially disappointed I was thankful she didn't end up at Woldingham as I was scared she would have ended up feeling like the scullery maid in comparison to her classmates.
I know I can do so much more to help at home too which I am not as she mentioned missing the homework help she used to receive from my late husband. In a perfect world I would be at home to see her through this first year as he only died last year, but my role is now also of breadwinner and a self-employed one at that which comes with its own challenges. I think I am going to need to cut down on work for a while because I just don't think she is feeling supported enough and that makes me feel so sad. I want her to be enjoying these early days not suffering through it all. And I most definitely don't want her getting to the end of high school feeling like the only thing she is good at is sports when that was not the case when she started. The positives are many; when we were speaking earlier she showed a high degree of self awareness and a surprising new level of maturity that I can honestly say has only started appearing since starting secondary school. This is saying something as emotionally at the best of times she is just a normal pre-teen. Difficult, abrasive, disinterested and borderline rude!
I am trying to take a macro view of the situation but I am sure I am missing something. How can I help my DD through this, and yes, how can I help myself through this too. And I can't help but worry about her health as up to now she has been such a fit, healthy child.