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Could use some perspective (about my teen dd)

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Old 05-25-2011, 09:16 AM   #1
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Default Could use some perspective (about my teen dd)

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. . .
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:31 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:35 AM   #3
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Why are you insisting that she do something she clearly doesn't want to do ?
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:38 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:40 AM   #5
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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!
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:43 AM   #6
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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..
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:45 AM   #7
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The one thing that stood out in your post was the words "bullied more". Is your child being bullied by someone in the band?
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:51 AM   #8
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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?
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nina125 View Post
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?"
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:01 AM   #10
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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.)
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:05 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:18 AM   #12
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I think you should listen to your daughter. There are other ways to continue the flute if that is what she wants to do.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:36 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:55 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:53 AM   #15
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I don't think what she said to the teacher was tht bad. She was telling the truth.
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