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Is homeschooling a solution to my 15-year-old daughter’s friendship problems at school?

April 10, 2017 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
A mom and daughter consider homeschooling as a solution to social difficulties at school due, to the daughter’s extensive involvement in dance performance.

QUESTION

Hi,

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.

Signed, Phyllis

ANSWER

Hi Phyllis,

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.

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Category: Child and adolescent friendships

Comments (6)

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  1. Joe says:

    The more I read the docs advise the more stunned I am as to how bad it is. You don’t blame a 15 year old kid for issues of a group of girls who clearly are not her peers. The initial post says she gets along great with girls who share her interests and not those of this other group whose only common thread is that they go to the same school. It clearly sounds like jealous to me and them pressuring her to give up dance if she wants to fit in. I would drop them in a heart beat. The gay likes her because they are both different and they understand what is like to be different. Says alot about the people who attend and run the school. Clearly they are Neanderthal’s in their thinking even if they are the majority. Secondly, forcing your daughter to stay in such an environment hurts your daughter and no one else. It is terrible advise to suggest that given how those people think. She can still be friends with those who want to be her friend as is like the gay guy. Don’t kill your daughters dreams because of these people and the doc. Your husband should be supporting you with this not forcing his child into what will end up being a physiological war zone for your daughter. For your husband I implore you to support your wife on home schooling. You have one daughter who means the world to you and your wife. Please don’t destroy her dreams. She will resent and hate you for it as she gets older. I have seen this in a couple my friends both male and female who were forced to be some place that was not friendly to them. It destroyed their dreams and their relationships with their patents in their adult years.

  2. Londonshaz says:

    Frank speaks a LOT of sense. I don’t agree with Lottie. The daily isolation in school is depressing and can lead to bullying and all sorts of problems. Home school will work better than formal schooling with her schedule seeing as you said she has to miss a lot of school anyway. Lots of young performers are home schooled and dance training toughens you up anyway (speaking from experience!)

  3. Frank says:

    By the way, my sister was a professional dancer. My future son in laws mother was a Prima ballerina. So I know a lot about what you are going thru with this. While the business is tough, having peer pressure from others who profess to be your daughters friends do the things described is not something she needs. A wise man once said that you should surround yourself with people who enable you and bring you joy. In the arts this is so true.

  4. Joe says:

    Stay away from the school district advise experts. They really are not and will do everything to keep you there for money reasons for the district. They will also tell you the wrong things for homeschooling. You contact that guy who sent a post or the homeschooling group for your State and area. Contrary to what others tell you, you do not need to be an education expert to teach your kid.

  5. Frank says:

    I have six kids and we home schooled them all thru high school. It works and my kids are highly successful as adults in life and in college. As a gifted child myself, these girls are jealous of her because they have not found their direction in life while your daughter has. Home schooling will work just fine for you. Your daughter will get plenty of socialization contrary to what the doc says. Home schooling does not mean locking your child in a room thru their educational years. The question you need to ask her and your selves is whether you place a value on the social norms that formal education brings like the prom, etc. In my case and that of my kids the was not just no but hell no. There is some good but also lots of bad like being isolated in a sea of people rather than being accepted for who you are. The negativity can be overwhelming at times with the net effect of taking away the focus of or desire to achieve a dream. As your child gets older she will be better able to handle it. My kids now adults are so much better able to handle life then others their age even as children growing up it was noticeable by others outside our family. Your child’s dream is the thing that motivates her life right now. Don’t let others steal it from her because that is precisely what they will do. There is nothing wrong being different. Homeschooling will also all you and her to develop relationships with like minded people which will be much healthier for her and you as well. She will excel at dance, follow her passion, and be the best version of her possible. Isn’t that what we want for our kids? If you need to know how to get started please let me know. I would be more than happy to get you started. I am sure there is some way on this site for you to contact me.

  6. lottie says:

    Hello PhylIis

    Sorry you have this worry. You are not on your own no doubt loads of parents want to help their children to be pain free. Moving schools to me is not the solution. So I am with your husband. It could happen again or could be worse. Teach her to toughen up she will need it when she goes for auditions at Dance School. It is a highly competitive business. When push comes to shove she will not have you to hold her hand. Make her take responsibilty now for her up and coming career. She has friends at Dance School so she could make more.

    As for someone saying she is not liked…who said this?? Or was it the messenger who made it up…being the jealous one. Advise her to take no notice of tittle tattle and gossip.

    Of course you could suggest your daughter makes conversation about others activities at school. If all she talks about is Dance School it could grate on potential friends nerves. Not that I am saying all conversation points back to her.But it might. Not meant in a nasty way Phyllis, it is just a thought. She loves her dance but others could find it a tad too boring.

    Best wishes for her future career and stop worrying. Wait till boyfriends and the like enter the scene.

    Ps. Another thought Phyllis, it is as well she thinks highly of herself.
    Who wants an actress/dancer who doesnt think good of themselves. Lottie

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