Hi new mom, questions about teen depression/socialisation

Discussion in 'Homeschooling' started by saycheese, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. saycheese

    saycheese New Member

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    Hi. I'm new to this board. I've been homeschooling my 3 children since they were all school age. My eldest is now 17, and a junior (she would have been a senior this year, as she is turning 18, but requested 3 years ago to take two years for one grade). We didn't plan on officially homeschooling through high school, however, she didn't want to go to high school, for various reasons, at least at that time, and we thought at some point she would want to experience high school, or engage in some more unschooling. Now I see that it was probably in part her possible adhd, and her apprehension about fitting in with her peers, that prompted her to ask to stay homeschooled. She does not participate well with homeschooling instruction, and does not actively pursue unschooling. She has become depressed in the past few years, and anxious, and it's taking over. She is not up to studies and she is not sure where she wants to do as she gets finished with high school. She feels she is behind, and that is causing her some anger and anxiety/depression issues as well. One thing that occurred about 4 years ago, was her social circle, both with school friends and homeschool friends, fell apart. Mostly not in a bad way, they just drifted apart, and since she was not the main friend in any of these groups, she didn't keep in contact with others, though she had friends around all the time until she was about 13 or 14. Now her main friends are people she plays games with online (all is monitored and completely transparent). She is in therapy (between therapist as of today), and she has said that she doesn't want to focus and commit to friendships when she is still getting herself together. I think that having more of a social life will help her with her confidence, self-esteem and feel more connections. The problem she is having is finding people her age that she wants to connect with. She has recently started a couple of new clubs/groups, and participates in archery (for past few months). Her anxiety is getting the better of her and she is getting very unconfident. Prone to recent mild panic attacks. She has gone from being a bubbly and fun-loving younger teen to a sad, unconfident, unsure older teen. Part of it could be growing pains of growing up, but, it is more than that. I am wishing to turn back time and have her in school, though not sure that would have been best either. Part of her wants very much to be a conventional, traditional person, and yet, she is quite unique and gifted and talented, and perhaps homeschool stifled that, or accentuated that more than she would have wanted. Though we have always supported, encouraged and helped her talents as much as we could. She doesn't like to stand out, and I can see now that being homeschooled made her feel different and standing out. I am feeling a lot of anger and resentment for our past decisions. We never forced her to be homeschooled, and we did consult her opinions and feelings, however, as her parents, we did make the final decision based on her feedback, etc. If she vocalised wanting to go to school, we would have pursued that. Sometimes she thanks us for homeschooling her, but I am not sure if that is her trying to be thoughtful, or saying what she thinks we would want to hear.

    I am feeling that homeschool was probably not the best for her, though at the time, we thought it was best for her precocious, yet hyperactive, unattentive mind, and slightly oppositional disposition. where she would feel free to learn what she wanted to, at the pace she wanted/needed. So now we are here. How, and where, does an introverted, shy, depressed, anxious, unconfident teen find commonality with others, when there are not a lot of teen groups in our area, especially when she does not want to enter high school, and where she has a perspective that she is "behind'? (This is a self-imposed idea I think, based on not following a traditional school schedule, and just an idea what she will "need to know" to go to college--again, I blame myself for that, as I was always mildly concerned to keep the kids up to grade level, in case we had to enroll the children in public school, at some point (like for example, if something were to happen to my husband or I, and the children needed to go to school, I wouldn't want them stressed out by the transition). We are not part of a church, or such group, and she is not open to that. We live in a very homeschool friendly state, but our particular town is very pro-school and very into their town schools (this was one issue that has cropped up over and over throughout her childhood). She volunteers, but there are not a lot of teens she can connect with. She is extremely artistic, and does help her art teacher with classes, and partakes in some classes outside the home, with other teens, but she does not feel confident enough to make friends. I know she values her online friendships, but she unfortunately doesn't feel they are the same as real life friends. She is a great kid. She doesn't lie, she doesn't drink, smoke, or do anything 'bad'. She doesn't take drugs, she doesn't partake in any illegal or poor internet behaviour. I can see she is lonely, and this may or may not have been because of homeschool, and much of it has been because she has become more distant from peers in the past 4 years. She has a fear that because she hasn't experienced the high school scene, she will never be able to have those kinds of friends, and will always lack the social skills she feels she lack, even in college. I hope that with her next therapist she will feel more hopeful, as I don't think high school is the end all of a girl's social life.

    I know that socialisation is a huge hot topic with homeschoolers, but we are actually having a socialisation issue, (among other things) and I just wonder if any teens or parents of teens have some clearer insight that seems more hopeful, and perhaps some suggestions that will help us avoid these issues with our other children.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. mschickie

    mschickie Active Member

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    Chances are she would have had these same problems in a traditional high school and then would have added bullying on to it (these types of kids are prime targets for bullies). So even though you are second guessing your decision to homeschool it probably was the best avenue for her. I think you are doing everything right and I think she will find as she gets into college that she will make friends just fine. She has the skills since she uses them with adults and today's kids are tomorrows adults. I would encourage her to focus on making one really good friend.
     
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  4. vantage

    vantage Active Member

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    Its also possible that this is a medical, ie a biochemical/brain chemistry problem and that it would not have mattered where she was schooled.

    If you child does not find help with the therapist, perhaps medical treatment might be considered. It would seem that relenting depression in a kid this age puts her life at risk.

    I pray that she gets better soon.
     
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  5. Susan

    Susan New Member

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    I agree with mschickie. She would do alright when she gets to college.Just keep motivating her whenever you can.I will pray for her and hope that everything goes alright once more.
     

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