General chatter - Could use some perspective (about my teen dd)




goodforme
05-25-2011, 10:16 AM
My child has been in band since 5th grade (she's almost 14 now). She plays the flute. She has a talent for it, has been in the All State Band, and has played second or first chair this whole year. I had high hopes that she could get scholarships for this, as well as how favorable it would look on college applications.

We have been battling all school year about her continuing to be in band in high school. She doesn't want to join marching band. She can't give me any real reason beyond "I just don't want to" so we always tabled the discussion.

Well, this past Monday was the deadline for the commitment for marching band. (This is quite the financial and time commitment, $100 down payment, $500 total per year, with practice 4 days a week after school, games on Friday nights until near midnight, competitions on weekends, band camp during the summer.) I bought a money order and filled out the paperwork, and she refused to take it to school.

It pains me to say this, but she is just being LAZY (this is my obese child) and STUBBORN. She doesn't think that she can keep up with the physical demands and says she is too uncoordinated to participate. She also doesn't want to "wear those ugly uniforms" or "be the band geek" and get bullied more. (This is purely speculation on my part, but I believe she would prefer to sit at home every afternoon, reading and EATING whatever she can get her hands on while nobody is home to witness it.)

What has me so emotional about it this morning is something she told her current band teacher yesterday. He was asking her why she wasn't participating next year because she is GOOD, and she just kept saying "I don't want to" until he told her he needed a real reason from her. Her reply to him was "From the bottom of my heart, I am telling you the truth, I DREAD walking in your door every day." :?: Why did she have to say something hurtful to him? Why didn't she tell him she dreaded the thought of marching next year (the truth!!) instead of lying to him (and undermining his confidence as this is his first year of teaching) because "he wouldn't get off my back!"

Another reason is that this is the first time I haven't been able to reason with her, make her see things my way, convince her to give something a real try before she writes it off. And the realization that this is only the first of many times this type of thing is going to happen in our relationship. And how totally unprepared I am to deal with it. . .

Thanks for reading. Those with teen daughters, how do you DEAL? I already pick my battles, but I really feel like this is one of my hills to die on. It's probably too late to join her up against her will, and that would only cause her to rebel anyway. What can she do with this talent she has if she doesn't participate in the band in high school? There aren't a whole lot of teen garage bands looking for flautists. . .


MariaMaria
05-25-2011, 10:31 AM
It's not the student's job to massage the teacher's ego.

It sounds like your daughter REALLY DOES NOT want to be in band next year.

bargoo
05-25-2011, 10:35 AM
Why are you insisting that she do something she clearly doesn't want to do ?


MindiV
05-25-2011, 10:38 AM
As an overweight teen band member, I was TERRIFIED of marching band in high school. I was afraid I couldn't keep up with the healthier members, that I would be too out of breath to play and move at the same time. That I was so uncoordinated I wouldn't be able to keep up with the patterns and steps.

My fears were unfounded. However, some other very overweight teens were, in fact, unable to keep up and relegated to the sidelines to play percussion instruments or act as "alternates" for contests.

Sit your daughter down and have a real heart-to-heart talk. She may really hate it. Just because someone is good at something doesn't mean they HAVE to love it. She could also just be scared.

RiverWind
05-25-2011, 10:40 AM
Is it possible that she is just burned out on it and needs a new focus and new direction? You said that she has been in band for several years. Band may be something that she excels at but if the love, passion, and interest has gone out of it for her then I think maybe trying something new to stimulate and motivate her might be needed. There are quite a few types of scholarships both academic and otherwise that are available to students. Maybe she needs a little space for some self reflection in order to find new things that interest her. She is at an awkward age where peer pressure is huge and self image becomes very important to a lot of kids. There are a lot of different factors in this situation to take into consideration. My thing, when I was her age, was horses. I grew up riding and showing horses. My mother got me involved in 4-H which was an awesome thing full of opportunities to learn about responsibility, leadership, and quality of work and the rewards that can come of it. After joining an established club, the entire year was devoted to a project be it something in crafts, photography, agriculture/gardening, or an animal (both small animals and livestock). This project included keeping a record book of activities and expenses, attending clinics and meetings, giving presentations and demonstrations, etc. In the summertime, all the kids enter their projects in the county fair. So many important things were learned that the kids could carry on through life and it did wonders for my self esteem, leadership skills, and teamwork skills. Anyway...long rambling aside, the point here is that maybe she just needs some variety or needs to find a new activity or two to spark her interest. Kudos to you though for striving to keep her on the right path and interested in something constructive!

Violet73
05-25-2011, 10:43 AM
she obviously knows what she wants to do. I was great at basketball and was one of the five starters in every game but I got burned out on it and got tired of it. Just because you are great at something doesn't mean it is your passion. She may be ready to try other things now..

nina125
05-25-2011, 10:45 AM
The one thing that stood out in your post was the words "bullied more". Is your child being bullied by someone in the band?

beerab
05-25-2011, 10:51 AM
I don't understand why you are insisting she does this if she REALLY doesn't want to? I could understand if she was shyly looking down and saying she didn't want to when it appeared she really did. Maybe she'll take up something else?

Why not ask her if there is another activity she'd like to do instead? Maybe join a sport?

RiverWind
05-25-2011, 10:54 AM
The one thing that stood out in your post was the words "bullied more". Is your child being bullied by someone in the band?

Another thing I noticed in the original post was how you are having more difficulty getting your daughter to see things your way. While I completely understand that teenagers need guidance and constructive discipline and help to stay focused, you also have to remember that she is coming into her teen years and will begin developing her own sense of self. As hard as it might be, this should be encouraged. Learning to think for herself and developing interests that are purely her own will help her grow into a more confident woman. I struggled with this with my own mother and it still affects me today. All my life and well into adulthood my mother pushed her opinions, thoughts, and ideas on me endlessly. Even now as an adult living on my own, I worry constantly about what my mother would think. I question my decisions and second guess myself all the time. My trust and confidence in myself was compromised. I love my mother to death and we have a great relationship, but sadly a lot of her trying to make me see everything her way was a little damaging. At almost 30 years old, I should not always be asking myself "What would my mom think I should do?"

flashfacts
05-25-2011, 11:01 AM
Marching band is not the only place for her to get musical experience. Woodwind instruments are an important part of symphonic music, and if she has been in the All State Band that might be the type of music she is used to playing.

If she is still interested in music, just not marching band, I would suggest looking up a local youth orchestra. Lexington isn't that far from Columbia, and I'm sure there would be a youth symphony she can audition for there. I was in the one in Charlotte, and it was a wonderful experience (I play cello, so marching band wasn't something I had to think about.)

fatferretfanatic
05-25-2011, 11:05 AM
I don't think your daughter sounds like she is deliberately going against your wishes-it just sounds like she doesn't want to do it, and there isn't anything wrong with that. There are worse things than staying home reading (the issue of her being overweight is another completely). Being a teen isn't so far off in my mind-there were plenty of things I was great at that I hated and there are plenty of things now that I am good at that I hated, and if I don't like them, I wouldn't waste my time with them. My sister is tall, and great at sports-she had the gym teachers all begging her to join basketball. BUT, she didn't want to, and that's OK. She sounds like she is probably a smart girl-she can get college scholorships based on that merit alone, and probably based on other things she actually likes? Does she do well in her studies? If so, that is a pretty great starting point.

midwife
05-25-2011, 11:18 AM
I think you should listen to your daughter. There are other ways to continue the flute if that is what she wants to do.

goodforme
05-25-2011, 11:36 AM
Thanks everyone! I don't know how to multi-quote, but I would like to reply.

I'm not really enjoying the feeling of my forehead repeatedly hitting this brick wall. I'm not going to force her to participate, but I really wanted her to at least TRY IT before she said no. Just like making your children try vegetables before they can refuse to eat them.

She doesn't get bullied by the kids in band. Those are most of her friends. (She has a few friends not in band, but the majority of them are.) She gets bullied because she's fat, and we're poor, or at least not as well off as some of the other families in our area. Her self esteem is very high, unlike mine, and I'd like to keep it that way. Belonging to a group of people who have something in common, socializing with those friends, and pride in her accomplishments are all reasons I want her to WANT TO be in band.

Also, selfishly, I think enforced activity can only be good for her weight and health. Being outside the home during the summer (since my SO and I work outside the home, she's alone all day for 5 days a week) would give her even more opportunity to be around her peers and away from eating and lazing around out of boredom.

I don't think she's willing to be involved in organized sports, for the same reason. She can't keep up, she is afraid of failure, and she doesn't want to be embarrassed.

The real problem I'm having is that this is typical teenage angst. She is learing her own mind, and how to speak it, and how to stand up for herself. I'm the one with the problem, in that I've never had to deal with her growing up before, and I'm not prepared to let go yet. I'm really proud of her. I'm not so proud about her words to her teacher, but I would have let myself be walked all over and joined up against my better judgement, KWIM? I'm glad she's not me all over again.

I just wish I could deal with it better. I never wanted to go to war with my kids. I did that with my parents and I never won. I need to learn a better way to communicate with my girl, and not so much to force her around to my way of thinking, while still letting her know that even though I might disagree with her choices I still love her and respect her right to make the decision.

stellarwbz
05-25-2011, 11:55 AM
I was in band in middle school and once it came time to choose whether or not I would be joining the marching band I chose not to be in it. And honestly, it was because I was lazy. I didn't want to wake up early for band practice. I didn't want to have to play on Friday nights. So instead I took swimming. I went to one class and then dropped the class once I found out I would have to come before school and go to swim meets on the weekend.

I only wish that my parents pushed me to be in band in high school. Because looking back, I think that it would have been awesome. They got to go to Disneyworld and perform, take trips, and make tons of friends. But instead I didn't take any kind of class that would be fulfilling. I ended up having to get an after school job, and made hardly any friends throughout my high school years.

Maybe you can tell her that if she doesn't want to join the band, then with all the free time she ends up having she will have to get a job? That would motivate me to join band.

bargoo
05-25-2011, 12:53 PM
I don't think what she said to the teacher was tht bad. She was telling the truth.

nationalparker
05-25-2011, 12:59 PM
Sounds like you're exceedingly frustrated. Maybe make it clear to her that her choice to not be in the band does not equal a free pass to kick back and do nothing this summer - she now has yard maintenance duty, and whatever else needs to be done in addition to her own chores, while you and SO are working.

Only leave fruits and veggies for her to snack on if she needs a snack between meals - not granola bars/fruit bars, diet soda - whatever you determine is healthy and fits into the budget ... if she eats it all in two days, that's it for snacks for the week until you do more marketing, etc.

ade903
05-25-2011, 01:01 PM
I really wanted her to at least TRY IT before she said no. Just like making your children try vegetables before they can refuse to eat them.

I was in marching band my freshman year of high school. My mom pushed me really hard to do it. Let me tell you, marching band is not the type of thing you want to push a child to "try". It's a huge commitment (as you mentioned). Three weeks of marching band before school started (six days a week, 12 hour days), five days of practice after school, football games, shows all day Saturday (or if there happens to not be a show, all day practice). It's expensive. And if she "tries it" and then ends up hating it, you are in for several months of battling. It's really not something one should quit.

Being in marching band consumes so much of the first half of the school year that most of the friends I made were in the band. When I decided to not continue it the following year, I had a really hard time making friends, and all of my friends were busy with band. It kind of screwed me up for the rest of high school.

I guess what I'm saying is that this isn't a small thing she should try. She really sounds like she doesn't want to do it.

fitness4life
05-25-2011, 01:09 PM
How to deal with it? Mentally practice letting her go. Let the leash out. Tell her she's earned your respect to make her own decisions but with that freedom comes responsibility and ownership of those decisions. Tell her it is now her job to make herself shine that you gave her all the right tools to be able to do so, but that you'll always be there for support and to keep her on a good track.

Then watch her bloom in her own unique way. :)

aimeebell
05-25-2011, 01:16 PM
Can she still join symphonic band if she doesn't play in marching band? My son has one more year of middle school band, but he says he is NOT playing in the marching band. Honestly, nobody could have paid me enough money to wear that marching band uniform in high school. Could they make them look any more ridiculous? I was not overweight, and still there is no way I would have worn it. I'd let this one go, and then keep encouraging her to make healthy choices by doing family activities and cooking healthy meals. She told the teacher she dreads walking through the band room doors every day. He asked her, and she said how she feels. It is not an insult to him.

pnkrckpixikat
05-25-2011, 01:47 PM
i dont really have advice about the band thing, but in your followup post you mentioned not liking the idea of her being home all day everyday during the summer. many ymcas boys and girls clubs or other day camp programs have a counselor in training (CIT) program (that was the name at the Y idk about the other places) where the teenager gets assigned to a camp each week and acts as an assistant to the counselor/s of the camp. with the Y the first week was training and was a little less then normal camp rates and we got instructed in safety first aid and cpr and things like how to recognize signs of abuse etc. the rest of the summer the weekly rates were a lot lower then normal weekly camp rates.

my mom made me do this the summer i was 13, 14, and 15 because she did not want me sitting around the house unsupervised all summer long. when I was 16 I was hired on as a full time counselor because of the previous years as a CIT I worked as a counselor for 2 more summers after that and it is definitely a fun and unique experience, although draining as all get out.

It also looks good on college applications and resumes.

goodforme
05-25-2011, 02:28 PM
Her school does have a concert band, however, since they have an award winning marching band, and possibly because the band director gets to make the decision, freshman students MUST participate in marching band before they will be allowed to drop down to concert band for sophomore, junior, and senior year.

We do have a YMCA just around the corner from us (around 5 miles away) so I'll check into that for her. It would be another way to get out of the house and meet people.

Nationalparker, there is a limited amount of snacky-type stuff in our house, good point, and she could chip in with more chores to get a little activity.

Fitness4life, that's going to be very hard for me to do but I've got to do it. Thanks!

I'm going to have to pull up my big girl panties and let my child grow up. It sucks. I want to wrap them both in bubble wrap and protect them from anything hurtful, while still trying to prepare them to be adults with responsibilities and the ability to make sound decisions. Can't hold them back and hold them up at the same time. There has to be a self-help book revolving around this topic, right? :o

Gogirl008
05-25-2011, 03:04 PM
I'm going to have to pull up my big girl panties and let my child grow up. It sucks. I want to wrap them both in bubble wrap and protect them from anything hurtful, while still trying to prepare them to be adults with responsibilities and the ability to make sound decisions. Can't hold them back and hold them up at the same time. There has to be a self-help book revolving around this topic, right? :o

Can I just say "Yay for you!" I'm not sure what the right answer is, but the fact that you are really trying to balance what she wants with what you think is best for her, that sounds like good parenting to me. I know it must be hard to watch her put down her flute, but she's getting old enough to know what she wants, or at least what she doesn't want.

I was forced to do band and many other activities and man, did I rebel. I know people say they wish they'd been forced, but I was forced and I do NOT thank my mom for that. I wish she'd taken an interest in what I might have rather been doing, or what else I might have thrived in.

The plan for my kids this summer is that they either have to choose their activities or several will be choosen for them. But they are required to do at least 1 outdoor active thing, be it sports, camp, etc.

Could your daughter volunteer at the library working with younger kids, or as a camp counselor at a Y program....something like that might help use up her time and keep her moving.

Just saw the above post by pnkrckpixikat about the CIT counselor suggestion, sorry for repeating! Must mean it's a great idea. ;)

indiblue
05-26-2011, 12:13 AM
I think your inclination to get your daughter involved, out of the house, and moving around, is a very good one. I am so grateful my parents required us to DO something after school, starting in elementary school. They didn't care if it was sports, theater, art, debate, volunteering, etc. They supported whatever we decided to pursue.

Because we were in fact required to do something, I found great interest in activities I never would have pursued otherwise, I met lots of new people, I had a great resume for college full of activities I loved doing (which admittedly was important to me even as a 9th grader, and paid off in the forms of scholarships to top schools), and most importantly it was instilled in me and my brothers and sisters the importance of staying involved in our peers, our community, etc.

I think requiring your daughter to stay involved in something during both the school year and the summer- whether it's band or volunteering at an animal shelter or starting her own club- is in her best interest. She will thank you later for helping her avoid sitting at home all day for so many social, physical, and psychological reasons.

I don't think I've said anything that hasn't already been said, just want to say as someone who was a teenage girl 5 years ago that I am grateful for parents who required me to stay active and involved, but who let me decide what that meant.

Shytowngal
05-26-2011, 12:25 AM
I was also given the ultimatium by my parents - be involved in after school and summer activities or get a job to keep busy. I chose sports.

Scarlett
05-26-2011, 12:56 AM
The more you let go of control the more you have. It sounds like she resents that you're trying to force her to do something she doesn't want to. This is probably making her resist band even more. Unknowingly you probably couldn't be doing more to push her away from band. Since this has become such a battle she will probably never change her mind and admit her mom is right out of pride. If you take the battle out of the band issue, it will be much easier for her to change her mind if she wants to.

I agree with the sentiment of telling her if she doesn't do band she needs to be doing something else. She can't sit home all day. Tell her it's her decision what activity she wants to do. Whether its a job/club/community activity or sport. Good Luck

Chubbykins
05-26-2011, 05:41 AM
How about you sit down together as a family and check out documentaries about obesity, unemployment and all the miseries that might await her if she doesn't think of her future when she makes desisions. (I don't say leaving the band will cause that, but leaving hobbies/occupations that need work and dedication in general will).

She sounds like the right age to learn that adults don't do everything they just "like" out of the blue. We have to learn to like what does us good in the long term. It is a dark path for anyone with weight problems to stay longer at home and less in the outside world. There are little to no opposrtunities at home.

Part of growing up is to learn that the real world won't be so forgiving like mom. They will check her resume see an abandoned hobby instead of an aspiration and WILL act accordingly.

goodforme
05-26-2011, 02:08 PM
The saga continues. She is feeling pressured on all fronts, which does lead to her digging in her heels. Her friends are all talking to her about it at school (I was unaware) so the teacher was the last straw. She got several texts last night from acquaintances, not really true friends, all asking the same question. She got FURIOUS!! She thinks her friend is actually paying people to put the pressure on her. :dizzy:

So, the last thing she needs is more of the same from me. I told her we needed to communicate on this issue without my pushing her, and without her locking me out. I gave her some advice for ways to shut down her nosy friends without inviting criticism (I have made my decision, I don't want to talk about it. Nothing to invite argument.) I told her we would look into alternatives for activities for her throughout the summer and school year. She told me about some "clubs" her school offers, everything from Harry Potter to Visual Arts, things she sounds thrilled about. (Again, I was unaware.)

Things went downhill when she started telling me that she's hurt by her friends not inviting her to go out to movies or coffee with them, because when they invited her in the past, she always had to decline because we don't have the money. I got defensive (bad momma move) and told her she could pick up some odd jobs this summer if going out with her friends was so important, as long as she could get rides back and forth since I have to work. And she told me "I knew that would make you mad, I'm going to bed now." Ugh. :?:

Anyway, thanks for everyone's opinions and advice and been there done that, I really needed to hear from others. I'm still a work in progress.

nationalparker
05-26-2011, 02:32 PM
She can babysit/do lawnwork/pet sit, etc. for neighbors to earn her spending money, like most kids have to do - I never had money handed to me for that type of stuff ... so that'll further help her mature and realize that she's in control of her choices to a point - if she wants to have $5 for coffee with friends, then she needs to kick it in gear and do something to earn that money.

FlipFlop Love
05-26-2011, 08:38 PM
Oh how I remember those teenage years.

I really think the 2 of you need a bonding time to reinforce your relationship in a positive way. My mother and I can barely speak to each other because of the damage done back then.

I'm not sure my advice will be the most popular, but I think you should approach things from a "friends" perspective. Try reaching out to her not as a daughter but as a friend. Yes, there will be boundaries and instances where you have to reverberate back to Mother Mode, but I would hope those times would be far and few between.

What I'm trying to say is, spend some time with her as you would if you were a teen. Gradually, you'll be able to chip away the layers and actually get to what she is truly feeling, instead of assuming. Go to the movies together, go walking together... maybe even take a trip to a neighboring town to see a local attraction. I know you said money is tight, but there really are a lot of things you can do that are free. Do you exercise? Why not extend the hand of being exercise buddies?

Being a teen is hard. Being an overweight teen is exponentially harder. She really needs your support right now, and I think she'll feel more comfortable if she's looking at you as a friend she can confide in. Again, there are limits... but opening up that aspect of your relationship is key. She will be out of the house if a few years. Being on her own will be terrifying, and she should feel comfortable coming to you about anything and everything. If that means biting your tongue and simply nodding at first, so be it. Any step in that direction is progress.

Scarlett
05-26-2011, 09:05 PM
My mother and I can barely speak to each other because of the damage done back then.

same here. At that age you just feel SO vulnerable. It sucks so much to feel terrible about the way your life is going. To come home and have your parents beat you up over things you screwed up hurts even more. I remember feeling super alone and like noone understood. It took me a LONG time to repair self worth damage done in my teens. Conveying the message that you believe in her and trust her to make good decisions for herself would mean alot. Try to let the home be her safe place to fall. It sounds like your heart is in the right place, your trying your best and you care alot. Good Luck.

krampus
05-26-2011, 10:59 PM
I hope you don't let her complaints about the money situation hurt you. You are obviously a loving and concerned parent who just wants to see your daughter make something of herself. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Yes, teenagers' emotions are valid and teenage angst is real, but let's face it - almost everyone survives their teenage years and gets over the "fighting with mom" stage eventually. Sometimes a little tough love goes a long way. When I was 15 I fell in with the wrong crowd and started cutting myself for attention. My mom saw and said "great job, now you're gonna have stupid looking scars." No fawning over me, no sympathy, so I stopped.

That said, music and band is not something you can really excel at unless you are passionate. There were kids in orchestra in high school who were crap at their instruments and only stayed in the orchestra for the easy grade or because their parents made them, and those of us who really cared about it resented their presence.

IMO the "pick an extracurricular or get a job" choice is a good one. It is clear that you love your daughter very much; let her know that and she will come around and see that you have only ever wanted the best for her.

astrophe
05-26-2011, 11:43 PM
How to deal with it? Mentally practice letting her go. Let the leash out. Tell her she's earned your respect to make her own decisions but with that freedom comes responsibility and ownership of those decisions. Tell her it is now her job to make herself shine that you gave her all the right tools to be able to do so, but that you'll always be there for support and to keep her on a good track.

Then watch her bloom in her own unique way.

This.

I'd let the teen make her own choices. And as far as choices a teen can make, this band one is pretty low risk. She's in the band or not. She might regret whatever she decides, but it's not going to kill her. So let her make her choice and live with it.

You know that quote? "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."

We always want our kids to grow to be sensible people, but keeping them in bubble wrap isn't the answer. It hurts us too to let them be hurt. But better they take small risks in making choices where the hurt really isn't such biggie. Then hopefully they have some sense already before the bigger, riskier choices pop up in teendom!

The thing about income -- I think there you reacted rather than listened. She knows you work hard. She knows the reality of the family budget being what it is. She voiced a regret -- that she can't hang with friends because she doesn't have the income to blow on activities they do.

So... next time just go "Yep. I hear ya." Then listen to her reaction/response. Ask yourself what she needs from you right now as a supportive parent? What is she feeling?


Maybe she is just airing out because she felt yargh!

Maybe she feels lonely and she need ideas for socializing that's free?

Maybe she wants income of her own and needs ideas for finding first jobs?

Maybe she wants namby pamby but she NEEDS some tough love?


But the point is -- you are LISTENING first. Not REACTING.

You are getting her temperature/feelings on the matter at hand. You are not jumping ahead of her to solve her problems for her. You aren't threadjacking her to go off and vent about your own problems and making the conversation about you.

You are not your teen's pal. You are their parent.

Their life stuff is still your business because they are your dependent even if in the slow changing phase of allow more freedoms as they get closer to hitting adulthood and being on their own.

YOUR life stuff isn't always your kid's business. Discuss that with your friends, partner, siblings, whoever. Oversharing parent stuff can cause a sensitive kid to clam up because "I don't want to worry Mom more..." That's as bad as having a cow any time a teen tries to tell you something. The end result is the same -- the teen stops talking to you.

I would value establishing open lines of communication through the early teen years. Stress that. "Whatever else there is -- we can always handle it!"

But if there's no communicating, how would we know there's something to handle? And if my child doesn't come to me and tell me because she's afraid of how I behaved in the past when she tried to open up... or she's afraid of adding to my burden...

Dude, that would be shooting myself in the foot. I want to know what's up with my teen!

It's not easy when they are all weird and hormonal -- hang in there, Mom!

:hug:
A.

astrophe
05-27-2011, 12:02 AM
PS... you answered your own question you know.

I just wish I could deal with it better. I never wanted to go to war with my kids. I did that with my parents and I never won. I need to learn a better way to communicate with my girl, and not so much to force her around to my way of thinking, while still letting her know that even though I might disagree with her choices I still love her and respect her right to make the decision.

Tell her that. :)

And when she tries to make some of her own decisions, ask her to explain why. And if she can present her case to show she actually gave it some serious thought (even if you do not agree with it) --- give your blessing. Birdies need to practice flying before they try to leave the nest for real.

BUT -- that doesn't mean at 14 she gets to make ALL her decisions now. Some you will make --- she still is going to school, the dentist, etc! While you travel teenagerdom together she will assume more and more choices for herself til she's finally an adult.

And if she's 18? 21? And never wants to see a dentist again her teeth are her problem then! You did your parenting job! ;)

GL!
A.

KylieH
05-27-2011, 01:01 AM
I never wanted to go to war with my kids. I did that with my parents and I never won. I need to learn a better way to communicate with my girl, and not so much to force her around to my way of thinking, while still letting her know that even though I might disagree with her choices I still love her and respect her right to make the decision.

After reading your post, I suspect that part of your frustration with your daughter is due to some degree from your feelings of frustration as a kid dealing with your own parents, particularly as you mention that you never "won" with them and now you're not "winning" with her.

However, I think you're on the right track by recognizing that the goal is communication not who wins or loses.

Good luck.

theox
05-27-2011, 01:08 AM
It sounds like you're heading in the right direction, goodforme. It's great that there are things that she's interested in doing during the summer (and that she's telling you about them!), and while she won't be able to get a "real" job at her age, a little babysitting/lawnmowing or volunteer work with some worthwhile local organization could keep her quite busy.

I don't know how the band program at her high school works, but most high school band programs only have 2-3 weeks of band camp at the end of the summer. A full summer of band camp seems more than a bit much, and I wouldn't blame any kid who didn't want to participate in it anyway for resisting against it. The 2-3 weeks of band camp that I had to do every year were kind of a drag (and I wanted to be in band).

Playing music isn't just something that might get her some money for college, it's also been linked to increased aptitude for mathematics. Plus, it's a lifelong hobby. Even if she's burned out on it now, she may decide in a year (or five or 10) to pick it up again, and it might give her enjoyment then. So - not a total loss, right? I don't know how State and Region auditions work, but would she have to participate in the school bands to audition for Region if she wanted to?

On a practical note, marching band is expensive. Not only the $500 for fees, but then there's the costs of gloves and shoes, money or food for long trips to games and competitions, the cost of carting fruit or candy around in your car that you'll have to absorb, possibly the costs of trips to a parade that many bands do on an annual or biannual basis, and possibly also incidentals like money for meals with her band friends after games/competitions, section t-shirts, or the souvenir junk vendors sell at competitions. If she doesn't want to participate in marching band, you'd probably be better off putting that money towards private flute lessons and the costs of participation in a community orchestra or wind ensemble, or (if she doesn't want to do music at all right now) toward whatever other activity interests her and will help her develop her other skills and talents.

Also, if she doesn't like playing the flute, then making her play the flute so she can get a scholarship for a few hundred or thousand dollars a year that she'll have to work for by playing an instrument she doesn't want to play in ensembles at her college (which is time away from a part-time job she could have, or studying, or participation in some other activity that she might receive a scholarship for and might enjoy more) maybe isn't the best strategy. Unless she likes the flute enough to play it well and play it A LOT, it's probably a better idea to look for money elsewhere. I can't tell you how many ex-music majors and ex-music scholarship holders I know who got to college and found out that it wasn't what they thought it would be.

On a second practical note, I did marching band all four years of high school and gained weight each year. Walking around a parking lot or field for a few miserable hours for 15-20 weeks probably isn't going to do much except possibly slow her rate of gain (if she is gaining) down. If you're concerned about her health, then changes in the family diet and habits and a non-judgemental, running conversation about your concern for her well-being and willingness to help her lose weight if she's interested in trying to would probably better serve your purpose.

ETA: What she said to the band director lacked tact, but it doesn't sound as though it was meant to be nasty or particularly hurtful. She just seems like a kid who wants everybody to get off her back.

goodforme
05-27-2011, 10:23 AM
So many good thoughts here, I should print this out and read it before bed every night.

I guess what I meant about going to war and never winning was just that we as kids were not allowed to question the status quo. What we did was mapped out for us by my dad. If you wanted to deviate from the plan, well, too bad. No opportunity for discussion.

So, I never learned to communicate with my parents, and therefore have no behavior from them that I can now model to my children. I'm flying by the seat of my pants here. Trying to go with my instincts (since my parents are both gone, there is nobody to ask for advice) and not do too much harm.

Some odd thoughts: she says she is fed up with playing the flute. She doesn't want me to get her private lessons, she doesn't want me to investigate any non-school related bands she could join, she is just done with it. She did ask me about taking guitar in school. My response was "Sure, if you can earn the money to buy the guitar since I'm still paying for the flute you are refusing to play."

Also, band camp is for the last 2 weeks of summer before school starts, so not the entire summer. Also, she said she would love to participate in the concert band, BUT not if she has to be in marching band first. Conflicting signals??

I've been searching my heart. She told me I was trying to live vicariously through her. And that may be part of it, since I have no talent for music, and can only play the radio. I want to nurture that talent and help her make the best of it. Also, if I really REALLY think about it, her behavior reminds me of myself. It's painful! I was so shy, had such low self esteem, was ashamed to walk into school, into the cafeteria, into classrooms, so many things because of one reason. I was fat.

I feel like, even if she won't admit it, she's letting obesity hold her back from joining. :?: I wish I had realized that is what I was doing when I was her age, instead of being near 40 and still working on it.

At any rate, I'm trying really hard to listen to her signals on this. She's gotten so defensive and dug in that I know she's serious. I'm giving her a break from my nagging. I'm not discussing it with her unless she brings it up, and then I'm only letting her vent to me, and not trying to engage her in another argument. And, I'm still looking for things for her to do this summer, and will present her with a list of things that are financially feasible for us that she can choose from. And, finally, I'm still hugging her tight and telling her I love her, while she'll still let me.

ddc
05-27-2011, 11:50 AM
Maybe you can sell the flute to get a guitar?

junebug41
05-27-2011, 12:27 PM
I was overweight in high school and was in the marching band (not really a serious marching band, but still...)

It was my life. I lived and breathed it. I majored in music (flute) and did marching band in college. Being overweight/obese did not scare me away from participating. On the contrary, it was the one active thing that I wasn't afraid of doing.

I do remember the kids that were clearly there only because they had to be. They looked miserable and it was a drain on the teacher as well because they constantly had to be pushed. A LOT of kids drop activities at that age. I was in basketball for years, but dropped it freshman year because I liked music more. Hopefully as she settles in to high school she will discover new passions.

It's a tough situation and I don't know what I would do in your shoes. You know it could be very fulfilling for her and you don't want her to regret not sticking with it when she grows up. On the other hand (as you're experiencing now), the harder you push the more she stands her ground. Plus, she really doesn't sound genuinely interested any more.

I would definitely encourage her to pick up some summer work. We were poor as well and after the age of 13 or so it was forgone conclusion that spending money was something I had to earn myself.

ETA: I do like the idea of trading the flute for the guitar to keep her in music if it's something she wants to try. Nothing wrong with trying new things. I do think she should work for it though or perhaps sell the flute.

astrophe
05-27-2011, 12:41 PM
I so feel for you. Navigating teendom with my DD is NOT something I look forward to. Sigh.

I guess what I meant about going to war and never winning was just that we as kids were not allowed to question the status quo. What we did was mapped out for us by my dad. If you wanted to deviate from the plan, well, too bad. No opportunity for discussion.

So when she starts to question the activity plans YOU laid out for her... why can't she have discussion and deviate from the plan?

Some odd thoughts: she says she is fed up with playing the flute. She doesn't want me to get her private lessons, she doesn't want me to investigate any non-school related bands she could join, she is just done with it.

So she's done flute-wise. Hear her.

She did ask me about taking guitar in school. My response was "Sure, if you can earn the money to buy the guitar since I'm still paying for the flute you are refusing to play."

That was kinda snarky. You are asking her what she is interested in, she actually tells you, then you shoot it down and add a grudge to boot? Why would she want to tell you anything else later?

Could have just said "I didn't know you were interested in that. (true) Let me know later if you want to look deeper into that." (gives you time to digest this new data, and gives her some space to do or do not.)

Then let the rest go unless she brings it up again. She may move on to bikes or knitting...and leave the guitar thing in the dust. Or she may be serious about guitar and want to talk and she may have to earn some money, try to freecycle up a guitar, sell the flute... whatever it is if she really wants to do this.

But she really didn't need you shooting it down before it even left the gate.

I've been searching my heart. She told me I was trying to live vicariously through her. And that may be part of it, since I have no talent for music, and can only play the radio. I want to nurture that talent and help her make the best of it.

That's how you nurture the music thing? By shooting down the guitar and laying a money guilt trip? I'm not trying to be mean to you -- just pointing out how all this can be read as "mom's a hypocrite, why do I bother talking to her?" by a teen.

More importantly -- You tell her you want a better teen/parent communication thing than you had with your parents.... but then when she tries to communicate her teen stuff to you, you shut her down with snark?

Again -- if she truly loves music, letting it rest a bit to explore other things as a teen doesn't mean she will never come back to it or derive pleasure from it. Don't let this become a battlefield topic for you guys.

It's like you are getting stuck in this tree (music) and not realizing the forest may be at risk later (teen no longer trying to communicate with parent.)

Try harder to NOT blurt out your initial reactions. LISTEN first. Be willing to humor to a degree, and remember the whole world doesn't have to be solved in the first convo.

It's totally fine to go "Interesting... we can talk about that some more later if you want"

If the teen wants to talk about it NOW NOW NOW! (like some teens are) but YOU need more time to digest this new data you can say something like "Wow, you are really into this! That's awesome. I want to give you my full attention on it. And I will... let's talk after (dinner/Saturday/whatever) when things are less crazy for me, ok?"

Teens don't need you to tell them everything little thing like you do for younger children. But teens sometimes do need gentle reminders that they aren't the only people in the world with needs.

Even if the guitar thing NEVER comes to pass, your teen could have a memory of "Hey, at least mom took me seriously and didn't blow me off" from the convo. That's a plus, right?

Also, she said she would love to participate in the concert band, BUT not if she has to be in marching band first.

Well, that's an easy one. Don't overthink it. You say something like "Cool. Go figure out at school if that is possible or not. Let me know if you need help to figure it out."

Let your teen assume some responsibilities Yeah, you could do it better/faster/more efficiently -- via phone to admin, school website, talk to teacher, etc.

But that doesn't teach the teen how to do anything for themselves. And let the teen choose, and also let the teen cope with the natural consequences of that choice.

Also, if I really REALLY think about it, her behavior reminds me of myself. It's painful! I was so shy, had such low self esteem, was ashamed to walk into school, into the cafeteria, into classrooms, so many things because of one reason. I was fat.

Well... she's not you. ARE you projecting on to her feelings that she doesn't actually feel?

She may be overweight, and that's a health thing. Diet, fitness, underlying health problems, etc. This bit would need to be addressed tactfully with a teen.

But it doesn't automatically mean that she feels bad about herself. I'm obese and I've never felt bad about me -- I have quite good self esteem and always have.

I feel like, even if she won't admit it, she's letting obesity hold her back from joining

Just a few post back you wrote that she told you about some "clubs" her school offers, everything from Harry Potter to Visual Arts, things she sounds thrilled about.

I don't get the vibe that she's not wanting to join things. I get the vibe she wants to be free to explore stuff other than flute.


She told me I was trying to live vicariously through her. And that may be part of it, since I have no talent for music, and can only play the radio.

Well, your teen is communicating her perception. ARE you trying to live through her?

Or maybe you aren't trying to live through her. But its more like your teen is asking for more room to make her own choices and you aren't giving it?

Maybe reading more on teen thinking would help? Stuff like

http://www.thefunplace.com/guild/teen04.html

And, I'm still looking for things for her to do this summer, and will present her with a list of things that are financially feasible for us that she can choose from.

Why? I mean... can't she look up what she wants to do herself? You are still picking out things for her that she might not want or like. Can you see how that would grate on a teen?

She can't control the family budget. That is reality for all of you, not her choice.

She can't control that you expect at least 1 summer activity. That is your expectation and her reality, not her choice.

So why can't you throw her a bone and let her make her own choice list so at least ALL the choices are things she'd be into?

"Look, I'm not going to nag. But I expect you to do at least 1 activity thing this summer -- a class, volunteering, sport, etc. We have a budget of X for this activity. So go make a list of your top 3-5 things you might like that fits that budget. Then we can talk together about what works best. If you need help finding activities I will help.

If there's extra leftover after you pick your thing, maybe we can put it toward saving for a guitar or to add to next summer's activity budget. "

Hang in there with this. Clearly you care a lot about your kid and are trying your best!

:hug:
A.

goodforme
05-27-2011, 03:25 PM
I agree my reply was snarky. How much money do I have lying around that isn't allocated for something else, when she knows how tight things are? And, how long would she play the guitar until she decided to drop that too? I'm not willing to finance her waffling. The back story is that way back in 5th grade I tried everything I could to DISCOURAGE her from joining band, but she was insistent to the point that the daycare workers were offering to buy her a flute. It was a HUGE investment for me, and I won't be finished paying for it for another 2 years. I didn't really want to sell it, thinking she might come back to it in a year or more, but that is an option.

Concert band is a no go unless you participate in marching band. I told her she could discuss it with her director, but I'm out of it. And how can she be so insistent about NOT playing anymore, then ask me if she can join concert band?

And, if I let her choose her activity, she simply won't choose anything. So, I'm willing to do the research and give her some choices. And, since I haven't learned in my life how to have a conversation with her, I don't know how to properly do it, so I'm still rambling around here in the dark.

Bottom line is that she isn't going to do what I want her to do. I don't know what she's willing to do that I can finance. And at 10 pm on a school/work night is the wrong time to try to talk about it. I probably am projecting my past onto her, which is something I'm working on, but when does reality cross with my perception? How can I know?

They had "graduation" just now, it was a very emotional time for me. Maybe that's all twisted up too, the fact that she is growing older and more away from me. I could just pretend the whole thing doesn't exist, which is what my parents did, and cruise through the summer working and not dealing with her. I'm trying to do the opposite.

Thanks again for all your responses.

theox
05-27-2011, 04:13 PM
I think astrophe hit it pretty well on the head.

Some odd thoughts: she says she is fed up with playing the flute. She doesn't want me to get her private lessons, she doesn't want me to investigate any non-school related bands she could join, she is just done with it. She did ask me about taking guitar in school. My response was "Sure, if you can earn the money to buy the guitar since I'm still paying for the flute you are refusing to play."

Also, band camp is for the last 2 weeks of summer before school starts, so not the entire summer. Also, she said she would love to participate in the concert band, BUT not if she has to be in marching band first. Conflicting signals??

She may not really know what she wants. She's going from 8th to 9th grade, right? That's kind of one of those in-between stages in life. She may not know what she wants, may not be sure if what she wants is workable, or may keep changing her mind. Perhaps she feels like she's being pressured to commit to specific activities for her entire high school career. If that's the case, then it will probably resolve itself once she's had a chance to get to school, settle in, and see what it's actually like. She doesn't have to make a decision this summer about what she'll do for the next four years. She's not really a position to know. I think astrophe's advice about being supportive and letting her make her own decisions was right on.

Guitars aren't terribly hard to come by. If she wants to take guitar at school, encourage her to find out about the program (Are there prerequisites? What's the time commitment? Can guitars be rented?), and let her know that you'll help her figure out how to make it work.

Don't guilt-trip her about the cost of the flute. You're the grown-up and the one responsible for making financial choices. As a 5th-grader she was not in a position to make a long-term, well-reasoned choice about whether buying a flute was a good idea. Surely you knew that there was a chance that she wouldn't stick with it, and that children change over time as they grow and learn more about themselves and the world. I'm not suggesting that you ignore your financial situation to try to give your kids everything they think they want, but I think that if you calmly listen to her, encourage her to find out more about what she's interested in, and then sit down with her and explain what you can contribute to help her and what she needs to do herself, and perhaps brainstorm with her how she can accomplish what she wants to do. Then it's up to her to do it.

I wouldn't even bring up selling the flute unless she raises the topic of coming up with money for whatever hobby she wants to pursue, and even then I'd be very neutral about it ("Those are good ideas for raising money. I notice you haven't played your flute recently - is that something you think you might like to sell?"). It doesn't sound like she's completely ready to give that instrument up, and making her feel like she has to choose between having one and having the other may make her feel punished for not knowing exactly what she wants. Instruments (esp. guitars) are listed in our local papers on a fairly regular basis, if you ask around a little you may find somebody with a decent older guitar who may be willing to part with it for cheap, and beginner kits can be gotten from reputable music stores for relatively little money. I wouldn't buy from a pawn shop - quality istruments can be gotten from dedicated music stores for the same or a little more, and a good music store will also be willing to work with you if there's a defect with the instrument (check before you buy). Let her know you think her interest in the guitar is great, that you think she should find out more about it if it's something she still wants to do, and that you'll help her figure out how to raise the money for a guitar if she decides she wants to take it up. If you or she know somebody who plays guitar and would be willing to show her some chords or teach her a song for free, it might help her get a better idea if guitar would be something she'd like to play.


I've been searching my heart. She told me I was trying to live vicariously through her. And that may be part of it, since I have no talent for music, and can only play the radio. I want to nurture that talent and help her make the best of it. Also, if I really REALLY think about it, her behavior reminds me of myself. It's painful! I was so shy, had such low self esteem, was ashamed to walk into school, into the cafeteria, into classrooms, so many things because of one reason. I was fat.

I feel like, even if she won't admit it, she's letting obesity hold her back from joining. :?: I wish I had realized that is what I was doing when I was her age, instead of being near 40 and still working on it.

She sounds interested in doing other things at school that aren't marching band, though. And I thought I read in one of your earlier posts that you said she does have good self-esteem. She's old enough to make some of her own decisions, and (whatever her reasons for not wanting to be in band) this could be a good experience for her. It's really not a life-or-death situation, and it sounds like she wants to spend her free time doing something productive and social.

At any rate, I'm trying really hard to listen to her signals on this. She's gotten so defensive and dug in that I know she's serious. I'm giving her a break from my nagging. I'm not discussing it with her unless she brings it up, and then I'm only letting her vent to me, and not trying to engage her in another argument. And, I'm still looking for things for her to do this summer, and will present her with a list of things that are financially feasible for us that she can choose from. And, finally, I'm still hugging her tight and telling her I love her, while she'll still let me.

I think astrophe's right on this, too. Let her tell you what she's interested in and find out what's around that might be in y'all's budget, maybe suggest (neutrally) some of the things that you found that you thought she might be interested in, and let her make the decision.

Hang in there! :hug:

goodforme
05-27-2011, 05:48 PM
I did print this thread out, ha! I'm away from internet until Tuesday, don't think I'm avoiding the issue. Thanks so much for all your input.

Expunge
05-27-2011, 07:53 PM
I was in band for a couple years in school and HATED it. Part of it was that the teachers were awful, and the fellow students were worse. I went into it having had 6 years of piano lessons beforehand, so I already knew how to read music and a lot of theory. I basically spent the whole time waiting for other kids to catch up to me - and since most of them never practiced or really cared, that didn't really happen. It went from something I was initially excited about to something that was boring, monotonous and stupid. None of the other kids were serious about music in the way that I was. Also, I was interested in the type of classical music that wasn't being played in the band.

So I quit band and took up cello lessons. I eventually had to quit that because of financial issues with my family, but I was so much happier feeling like I was actually learning an instrument correctly. My advice would be to encourage her to continue playing the flute, but do so through private lessons and have her get involved in something like a community orchestra (the one in my area welcomed all ages and levels of experience, provided they could play the music decently well - I'm sure at her level she would be able to join one immediately). The same amount of money spent on the school band could be spent on private lessons to far greater effect, provided you find her a quality instructor.

astrophe
05-27-2011, 10:57 PM
I haven't learned in my life how to have a conversation with her, I don't know how to properly do it, so I'm still rambling around here in the dark.

I think we all fly by the seat of our pants. Don't be so hard on yourself that you don't know the perfect answer. You are involved in your kid's life, you are trying to get perspective -- you are doing all you can. Give yourself a pat on the back for that! :)

I'm not willing to finance her waffling.

Actually, we all do. It's called financing the child's development. But to a reasonable degree of course. We can't go crazy giving in to every whim! ;)

As she gets through these teen years, your goal is to let her assume more responsibilities. And that includes responsibilities over her own regrets and disappointments.

Not to harp on the music example, but say she DOES sell the flute to buy a guitar. And she babysits or whatever to make up the rest. And then she takes guitar. And finds out she hates it and really misses flute? Well... let her suck it up. And earn herself another flute if she's serious!

Your job is to shape a teen into a sensible adult person, even if it means allowing the teen to make some small messes and sometimes that will cost some emotional grief and some money. And resist the "I told you so" thing and resist short changing her the experience of making her own choice and living with it.

Like years ago you taught her how to feed herself with a spoon, right? And that involves some messes. But now she feeds herself -- spoons, forks, maybe chopsticks! But you had to supply the initial spoon, let her make the mess to gain the experience to master the skill.

You might think the skill here is flute playing -- but it isn't. The skill is choice making, and living with your own choices for good or bad. Then making the next choice that needs to be made. :)

And how can she be so insistent about NOT playing anymore, then ask me if she can join concert band?

Because she is a teen that is ping ponging. :)

She wants to be more independent and make her own choices (no flute) but at the same time she wants to know mom is still in her corner and values your blessing (concert band) if she picks another choice.


And, if I let her choose her activity, she simply won't choose anything.

And if you never give her the chance to rise to it... she def won't pick anything. Again... give her the space to make her teen messes. Be grateful they are relatively small risk. "Ok, kid.,, here's your chance to make your own choice! Tell me a few things you like that fit the budget by Saturday and we can narrow it down from there. "

There's nothing wrong with you gently suggesting some things too, but let her own her summer destiny a bit. And if you have to pick it in the end and she fusses... well, you gave her the chance to own it at the start! This is the consequence of her choice. Not choosing in time is a choice, and by choosing to not meet the deadline, then mom picks. Try again next time.

It seems like the end results is the same -- mom picked the thing -- but it isn't. This is different than not allowing the choice at all. This is letting her make a choice and letting her experience the consequences of what she chose.

Those small choice risks navigated successfully will give her the courage and confidence to navigate the bigger choices later and come through ok.

I remember when I went to college you could tell which kids had been too sheltered in high school. First taste of semi-adult freedom living in dorm, being their own boss? They go bonkers and fail out first term! Lack of discipline, lack of sense, lack of life skills. Bouncing checks, partying too much, all kinds of kooky. It was like they never were responsible for choosing anything before at all and when faced with open buffet - they went nuts. I was amazed.

I don't know what she's willing to do that I can finance.

You ask her and give her the chance to reply.

And at 10 pm on a school/work night is the wrong time to try to talk about it.

Well, know you both learned something then. No 10 PM talks! Wait til better rested!


I probably am projecting my past onto her, which is something I'm working on, but when does reality cross with my perception? How can I know?

You ask her and give her the chance to reply. "Look, kid I'm working on not projecting my stuff on to you... but seriously.... I'm worried about X. Am I projecting or is there maybe a tiny bit of truth to that?"

They had "graduation" just now, it was a very emotional time for me. Maybe that's all twisted up too, the fact that she is growing older and more away from me.

Congrats to all of you! It's a milestone! :)

But don't think that her growing up is her moving away from you. So long as you try to relate and have a back and forth communication, she's still always going to be your daughter. Just be ok letting the child daughter go so you can get to know the adult daughter is coming in.

I could just pretend the whole thing doesn't exist, which is what my parents did, and cruise through the summer working and not dealing with her. I'm trying to do the opposite.

You can totally tell that you love and care about her a whole lot! You are doing the right thing. It may feel weird, but you are trying really hard to adapt to teendom too.

Keep your sense of humor -- it will help! Just think... maybe one day when she's the mom going through teendom for the second time with her own kid you can marvel at how expert you now feel going through it for the 3rd time over! :)

:hug:
A.

theox
05-28-2011, 01:38 AM
I'm not willing to finance her waffling. The back story is that way back in 5th grade I tried everything I could to DISCOURAGE her from joining band, but she was insistent to the point that the daycare workers were offering to buy her a flute. It was a HUGE investment for me, and I won't be finished paying for it for another 2 years. I didn't really want to sell it, thinking she might come back to it in a year or more, but that is an option.

Trying different things is how people grow and find out what they're good at and what they like. It's not "waffling," it's experimenting to find out about herself, life, and the world.

If you don't want to sell the flute, are planning on paying it off anyway, and now have less stress on your long-term budget (since you won't be having to shell out hundreds of dollars in band fees - could that money be put towards playing the flute down faster?), what purpose would selling the flute have, other than to punish her for not enrolling in band? I don't mean to be unkind or anything, but I'm having trouble seeing why it should be an issue, since you seem to be able to make the payments.

And, if I let her choose her activity, she simply won't choose anything. So, I'm willing to do the research and give her some choices. And, since I haven't learned in my life how to have a conversation with her, I don't know how to properly do it, so I'm still rambling around here in the dark.

Well, it's clear that you're working really hard at being a good parent to her. You're probably doing a lot better than you think you are. (And you're infinitely better than those parents who stop trying when their kids hit adolescence or never care or try at all.)

But how do you know she won't choose anything? Have you given her a chance to make her own decision? Teens sometimes drag their feet doing stuff ;), but if you give her some basic parameters (e.g., must be for x hours a week; must be helpful to others or herself; must not cost more than $x a week) and a deadline for letting you know what she wants to do, along with a warning that if she doesn't choose something for herself, you'll choose something for her (or give her a list of things to choose from), that could be a really good chance for her to practice making decisions, and for you to start stepping back.

Bottom line is that she isn't going to do what I want her to do. I don't know what she's willing to do that I can finance. And at 10 pm on a school/work night is the wrong time to try to talk about it. I probably am projecting my past onto her, which is something I'm working on, but when does reality cross with my perception? How can I know?

Well, she is her own person. Does she do what you want her to do most of the time without it being a major fight? Stuff like going to doing her homework, cleaning up after herself, doing her chores, being home when you tell her to be, etc?

I think financing things like hobbies might be a bridge to cross when you get to it. Things aren't always as expensive as they appear to be, and sometimes things can be negotiated to be less expensive. To use the guitar thing as an example (just an example!) - a decent new or gently used beginner's guitar set-up (guitar, case, small amp. if it's electric, tuner, picks, strap) can be gotten for about $300, and possibly half that or less if it's used. A chord book and a "teach yourself" lesson book would not run more than $30-40 combined. That's less than you would have paid in band fees, and low enough that she could potentially earn some of the money to pay for it herself if she could get a few gigs babysitting, petsitting, mowing lawns, whatever. That figure doesn't include lessons (the costs of which range widely depending on who's offering them), but guitar can definitely be self-taught if she's motivated to do it (and maybe when she's a bit older she could get a job to pay for some lessons). That still may not be doable for your family, but then at least you've shown her that you're taking her seriously, as well as what working to exhaust all her options looks like. She should be the one doing most of the footwork - finding out what fits her needs, getting price quotes, etc. - that way if she decided that she didn't really want to play guitar after all, you wouldn't feel put out about having busted your butt to try to make it work for her, while still allowing her to pursue the idea.

They had "graduation" just now, it was a very emotional time for me. Maybe that's all twisted up too, the fact that she is growing older and more away from me. I could just pretend the whole thing doesn't exist, which is what my parents did, and cruise through the summer working and not dealing with her. I'm trying to do the opposite.

Congratulations on her graduation! :) It's great that you're working to stay involved in your daughter's life and help her grow into a successful young woman. A lot of parents seem to check out or give up once their kids hit high school, which is precisely what their children DON'T need. She still needs you, just in a different way than when she was little.

Ally Michelle
05-28-2011, 11:57 AM
I am not a mother, but as a 20 y/o daughter I was in a similar situation. I played clairinet though...from 4th grade through 8th...and then high school came around.
I fought my dad about being in the marching band because those kids are tortured at my school :(
I wanted to make new friends and re-invent myself...which through my eyes was impossible in a band iniform.
I also wanted to GO to the football games and enjoy them. I instead used drama class as a creative outlet and found some of my best friends.
I know how irritating it was to my father but sometimes you just have to follow your gut and try something new in high school.
Im sure your dd would not be this stubborn if it didn't mean so much to her not to be a part of the band.

This all being said you sound like a great mom who only wants to best future for her daughter. (hugs)

But dont worry! There are so many other ways to get scholorships! Lots of ways that she would be so happy about :)
Best of luck.

p.s.
Im sorry my spell check won't work...its driving me crazy too! grr

Darkblue
05-28-2011, 12:27 PM
I was in band in Junior High and just loved it, then we went to high school...

Marching band meant getting up at 0430 so we could practice on the field before the jocks got there. Band ranks lower than sports, so we got the worst practice times. I spent that year chronically sleep-deprived. Marching band meant wearing a wool 1960s uniform in the Midwestern 90+ degree heat for weeks, smelling all the previous wear-ers and the dry-cleaning fumes. It was nasty. Marching band meant losing every single Friday night for months. When it got colder, it meant bare fingers freezing to metal keys. And on top of it all, the football team didn't give a rip if we were there or not.

I hated marching band.

But that said, I loved music and loved concert band, and miss playing in a band or orchestra to this day. However, the misery of a year of marching band was not worth it. So yeah...I can totally see your daughter's point.

There are some great suggestions offered here. What else is available for her to do? Scouts? Summer classes/workshops? Could she tutor a younger student with music lessons?

Good luck...raising a teenager isn't easy!