A mom and daughter consider homeschooling as a solution to social difficulties at school due, to the daughter’s extensive involvement in dance performance.
My 15-year-old daughter is having a very difficult time at school. She was told that the girls in the group she hangs out with don’t like her. They think she is conceited and thinks too highly of herself. They leave her out and talk behind her back. She has one friend, a gay boy, at school, whom I suspect also feels like an outcast.
My daughter is very bright, and an extremely talented dancer. She has spent the year touring with a dance convention so has missed a great deal of school. She suspects the other girls are jealous of her, which I am guessing is right. However, I have no clue on how to help her.
She wants to home school or switch schools. I would be okay with home schooling but my husband is against it. I am not sure switching schools is the answer either. With how much she travels, I fear she may encounter the same problem any place she goes.
If there were an arts school close to us that would be the best place for her but there is not. Any suggestions on helping her? Home schooling would let her concentrate on her dance like she wants (she has many friends at dance it is where she fits in). A different school? Or make her tough it out where she feels alone and outcast? Thank you for any help you can give.
I’m sorry your daughter is struggling. Because your daughter has friends at dance, she probably has good social skills and is not lacking in that part of her emotional development. This gives you and her more options and flexibility.
Fitting in with a group is high school, particularly for a girl, is difficult under ideal circumstances, and being out of school often with dance commitments probably makes socializing even harder. Having self-confidence and poise are wonderful skills, especially since many teens lack self-esteem. It’s quite possible that her schoolmates see her confidence as being stuck up.
Still, I would dissuade her from blaming others for being jealous since those thoughts could prevent her from looking at her own contribution to how she’s viewed by peers. Any insight she has is an asset to her social development and will help her when she’s with less homogenous groups of people as she matures into advanced education and a career, even if that career isn’t in dance. Also, I assume as a dancer, competition can be quite stiff, particularly if she goes a professional route.
In some cases, homeschooling can limit socialization opportunities and rob a student of opportunities to learn coping skills and negotiate conflict. In the case of your daughter, her unique circumstances are the crux of her social difficulties so homeschooling might be ideal—if you and your husband can agree on this.
For your daughter, homeschooling wouldn’t be running away from problems as much as finding an option that meshes better with her life outside the walls of the school. Switching to a new school would mean getting to know new people, but having the same life circumstances that are likely causing her hardship and making her tough it out seems without benefit in this situation. If you do decide to homeschool, try to make certain she has opportunities to socialize so she continues to spend time with teens outside the dance world as well as her friends in dance.
It might be worthwhile for you and your daughter to discuss your concerns and options with an educational professional, perhaps a guidance counselor, at her school.
Good luck figuring this out.
Signed, Amy Feld
*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.
Category: Child and adolescent friendships