14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

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Active scribe

14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

my 14 year old has always been shy, but was really starting to thrive in middle school.  Towards the end of her 8th grade year, she had a big fight with one of her friends(which was the start of a downward spiral). One year later and she is still facing some major challenges of how to handle disagreements, name calling, feeling isolated, and defending herself.  I do think that she is somewhat socially immature, being one of the younger girls in her grade. My biggest concern is the lack of self esteem and confidence I am seeing in her. She has told me she feels like she has no real friends, was wanting to change schools, and we've had countless of tears over this.  Of course, this is affecting me because I feel I can't help her much.  I have tried to tell her to change her reactions to people because we can't control how people act, nor should we.  I have also made an appointment with a counselor, which my daughter refused to go to. She feels if she goes, she will be labeled.  I do think counseling is important and am trying to work on how I can make her see it is to her benefit to go.  just feeling hopeless, but I know it will get better for her

Mod

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

Hey @momof2teens this sounds pretty tiresome for sure, I can definitely understand the feeling of helplessness. I think one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with young adults is the fact that we can't be there every step of the way when they are up against social upheaval. The best thing we can hope for is to instill some resilience in which they can carry through their entire life. You're on the right track finding her a counsellor, even though she's resistant to go due to stigma, I think this is a key goal for both of you. Would it help to offer to go in with her for the first session? If the therapist agrees?

 

In the meantime how is your self-care as you continue to support her through this pain? Do you get any time for yourself i.e. baths, yoga, meditate, outings? I can see you are in the USA, we are an Australian site so are limited in linking you into local services in America but we're most definitely here to listen & support as a community. 

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Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

Casual scribe

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

She might benefit from some training the mind techniques. 

 

Mindfulness meditation. Yoga. Qu-Gong. Tai-Chi.

 

Understanding her personality type can help in understanding her. It can also help her understand herself. See David Keirsey book Please Understand Me II. (The II means second expanded edition )

 

One quick test you can do is ask her if she sees information in other people's eyes. If she does not know what you are talking about, look up Aspergers. Find her a book on body language.

 

If she does not do well in school, she may have the Artisan personality type. They excel in other areas. (Schools are designed by Guardians for Guardians, not for Artisans. They need hands on action.)

 

Listening is a key skill. When someone can tell their story, it makes them feel better.

 

Watch for the possibility of starting drug use, or alcohol, as a means of escape. (They are very good at hiding it so there's really no way you can tell. If it's there then eventually it will become known.)

 

She thinks people who go to councilors are defective people. Actually some if the best most well adjusted people go to councelors.

 

Knowing her personality type will tell you what she bases her self-esteem on, and what motivates her.

 

Sometimes large schools can be overwhelming, and the student may do better in a small school.

 

(Sorry there is no magic panacea. Oh, there are free Meditation apps one can download on their cell phone.)

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

hi @momof2teens

 

Your daughter is lucky to have such a loving and caring mum who listens and tries to help so while I can relate to the helplessness - you are doing all you can so remember that

 

Has your daughter got any friends outside of school? Does she do activities outside of school? It would be good to nurture any friendships that are not linked to school - just to make her world a bigger place. Sometimes it feels like school is the be all and end all and it just isn't. So I would try and encourage her to spend time with other people she may know that aren't part of her school situation

 

Have you tried explaining to your daughter that counsellors are there to help others with strategies and ideas to make life a bit easier? And that no one will know she is seeing someone unless she wants them to?  My daughter who is 16 now has also had a lot of social issues over her adolescent years and she has seen a couple of counsellors. When she was younger she felt a little like oh is there something wrong with me but she quickly realised how empowering it was to talk to someone who just wanted to help, who had experience helping lots of people just like her and also - if you find someone who your daughter connects with - it can be a confidence booster to have that relationship in her life.

 

Friendships are so hard. But most people I know aren't even in contact with people they were in high school with. And as I have told my daughter before - for some of us it can take longer to found our kind of people - but they are out there.

 

Active scribe

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

Thank you so much for responding. Every little bit helps. It is also good to know that I am not alone. She actually goes to a small school and plays volleyball and school and outside of school. She recently told me she does not want to do volleyball anymore, which was upsetting for me To hear. I think it has something to do with her closest friend on the team not wanting to do it anymore. She is going to finish out this year, so I am not going to approach this subject until I need to. I sometimes feel like she does things that I don't want her to do on purpose. I am going to try and get her to do some volunteering outside of school. My goal is to get her to eventually go to counseling. I really think that benefits everyone. Thank you for your support and truly appreciate your input
Active scribe

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

Hi. I think some mind techniques would be good for her. She does have a tendency to have negative thinking. She always assumes the worst before it even happens. She does well in school. She is on the honor roll and active in sports. I think the big issue here is how she deals with her environment. She needs to control her reactions in a positive way. Also seeing herself as a beautiful, smart, funny girl. The self-confidence is lacking in needs to be worked on. I will definitely look into that book and see what her personality type is. Thank you for your suggestions and support
Active scribe

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

Hi. You are right, one of the most difficult aspects of being a parent is that we cannot be there every step of the way for them. I am learning to step back and let her learn life lessons. Also trying to be a good listener and not interrupting when she is talking to me. I am seeing that she definitely needs guidance in dealing with friendships and their conflicts in a positive manner. She is a sensitive girl and things affect her deeper than others. She's also quite shy, which makes her sometimes seem unapproachable. We are working on her positive body image and how to increase her self-esteem. Ultimately, would like to get her into counseling. I did tell her that I would go with her and I am very happy to do so. Appreciate all the support
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Casual scribe

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

There's also the Keirsey website you can google.

 

They have some short descriptions of the 4 personality types.

 

(Each 4 in turn has 4 subcategories, making a total of 16 personality types. However, they all group together nicely into 4 main groups. The advantage of knowing there are 16 is, if you feel you are different from everyone else, it's because no matter what personality type you have, there are 15 others!)

 

I take the approach of I can lay out options in front of my kid and see if he takes any of them. I don't push him in any direction. I just point out directions he can go.

 

I was taught meditation by doing it for just one minute. (That's a long time for a novice!) Just tell them to return their focus to the present moment, and when their mind wanders, which it will, let the thought go and return their focus to the present moment. That might be enough to get the ball rolling.

 

And we're always taught the best way to help others, is to first help ourselves. When we are calm, then others become calm. When we take care of our spiritual needs, then we are in a better position to nurture others. So I go to support groups which help me, and that in turn helps my son.

 

Best wishes! Sounds like you are doing all the right things!

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: 14 year old daughter going through tough time socially

Hi @momof2teens, welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing with us. I'm so sorry to hear your daughter is struggling socially. It's so hard as a parent to see our kids finding things tough and it can be equally hard to know what to do to help them. The love you have for your daughter shines through your messages, and you're doing a wonderful job looking out for her best interests. 

 

Counselling could be really beneficial for your daughter if you can get her there. My daughter is 15 and sees a counsellor, and she now gets that it's help for her. I used to tell her it was about gaining skills to help her cope better with the things she struggled with which will make life less upsetting for her. 

 

I can understand your daughter's fear of being judged by others, and it's a valid fear. It can be really positive to acknowledge and validate what she's feeling - she'll feel heard then and be more open to hearing what you say. How would you feel about letting her know that no-one need know that she's seeing a counsellor if that's what she'd prefer, that it really isn't anyone's business and we have the right to choose what we share with people? That might reassure her. 

 

Thank you for your response @del677. (Welcome to the forum too!) I've just had to edit your post to comply with the community guidelines you can read here. Being an Australian site we like to keep our referrals local, and any links must be approved by ReachOut before posting. In the guidelines you'll find an email address that you can use to send your request through Smiley Happy

Some mindful techniques could be really useful in dealing with anxiety, that's a great suggestion. I do tai chi myself and I love it. I find it very grounding and it's part of my self care. My daughter uses breathing techniques that she researched herself. Hopefully your daughter will be willing to give something like this a go - but also great for your own self care @momof2teens