Heartbroken

A Certain SadnessI read a post yesterday that broke my heart. The young girl was speaking out about her homeschooling experience and her plot on life.

(Normally I would post a link to her blog, but I cannot, in good conscience, do so with this post. The language that she was using was astounding.)

In short, this young person was complaining about her online schooling. Her family has recently relocated and her parents have opted to use a virtual academy. The virtual academy is not to her liking and she is struggling with learning. She is apparently very dissatisfied with her lack of social outlet and is very much frustrated with, what she views as, her mother’s lack of understanding and follow through.

So what was wrong with the post exactly? Perhaps the girl is justified in her frustration. Perhaps the virtual academy really isn’t working. Perhaps she does need to meet some new friends and get involved in something outside of the home. Those are all valid reasons to be upset and they should be addressed.

No, my problem was the attitude behind the post. The mother was called every name in the book (no kidding!) and was accused of being a liar. The young girl, very obviously, had more going on than a lack of enthusiasm for her curriculum.Looking Outside

It all seems to boil down to one thing… lack of relationship.

If her parents spoke with her about their choices and helped her understand, would she still feel this way? If she was free to speak with her parents, vent her frustrations and explain her needs, would she still feel this way? Do her parents have a history of not telling the truth or not following through with their promises?

I suppose it also got me thinking. Do my kids trust me? Am I true to my word? Do I fully explain why we do what we do and allow them to vent their frustrations, as long as they are respectful? Do we respect each other and have a good relationship?

My heart breaks for this young girl who is obviously in need of attention and help. I hope that her parents start to hear her, before it is too late and they have lost their daughter completely.

I pray that as my children grow older, they will never feel the way this girl does. I pray that our children’s needs are always met, that they can count on us no matter what, and that they feel comfortable in sharing their feelings.

What advice would you give this girl?

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35 thoughts on “Heartbroken

  1. Wow so many thoughts going through my head about this.
    A) Virtual schools are hard. In our area there is one particular company which requires x amount of hours per week. It results in several hours a day online. I was not into that at all because I don’t want my kid sitting in front of a computer like that all year.
    B) Either mom and dad isn’t listening or talking or she isn’t listening and talking. There is a break down in the stream of communication and about the only way it’s going to get fixed at this point is with intervention. :/ That stinks.
    C) The disrespect for her mother sounds off the charts, however, many a teen girl has done it. The problem is that with the internet something that should be a private journal becomes public and yet again, why does a young person have unrestricted use of it?????

    :/

    Not sure what I would say to her other than offer a sympathetic ear, some motherly advice that says vent privately rather than publicly as it can come back to haunt you in ways you can’t imagine.
    Talk to your mother or father and when doing so use words such as “I feel….” “I need….” etc….

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    • As I have had no experience with virtual school, I will defer to your expertise. I am sure they can be hard, especially if you are a more hands-on leaner. While the issue of her method of schooling definitely needs to be addressed, my heart is for her hurting. It is obvious that she is very unhappy and I wish that were not so. It made me take a good look at where my family is at and pray that my children don’t share the same complaint.
      I agree with you and rcwriter; if she is old enough to be on the internet, she ought to be responsible enough to know how to use her words a little better and to start researching different options herself.
      I wish I could offer her friendly advice and a listening ear, but I am not sure she would take it from a complete stranger. Thanks for the thoughts, they were all helpful!

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  2. My heart breaks for her also. As you expressed, there are so many factors that we are unaware. Did this girl post with raw emotion before thinking and now regret her words? We all tend to fly off the handle and do things without thinking (sometimes I think I’m the poster child). I’m not trying to make excuses, just make you think.

    We also have to look at the environment. There have been major changes in her life. Everything is now topsy-turvy. Relocation isn’t something parents necessarily want to do, but sometimes there is no choice. I found myself in the same position several years ago. It was heart-wrenching watching my son leave the only home he knew and his best friend. One thing this girl must remember is that mom and dad are going through changes also. New job, new friends, it can be just as tough on them not having their regular support group and friends nearby.

    The school situation could be out of their control also. Every state has different homeschool laws. I know Mississippi doesn’t have any, whereas Tennessee (where I live) is very specific.

    Since this child is old enough to have a blog, then she is old enough to take responsibility for herself. Why doesn’t she search out new homeschool support groups in the area? Find family activities to enjoy together? Think about this move as a trial run for college. When you go away to college, you’ll be new and probably know no one. What would you do to find your way around? Meet new people? Find social activities? Make this a new adventure.

    This advice is general. I by no means know what the relationship is within this family. My ideas for this girl could be far off the mark. I do not follow the blog in question or know anything about this girl or her family. I only made suggestions based on my own experience within my own family. I’m not saying what I posted here will fix all the troubles of one specific person, these are only general ideas.

    Sorry my reply is so long. I pray some of this helps.

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    • I agree, there are so many factors here that can’t be seen. That is why it is so hard to know how to help. As I mentioned to another reader, I wish I could offer advice to her, but I don’t know that she is willing to hear it.
      I am sure the situation must be hard for all involved; relocation is always a challenge. I moved about ten times in my youth, it was never easy. Throw homeschooling in, on top of it, and I am sure the situation can be very dramatic for one so young.
      I think having her research different homeschooling options for herself, is a wonderful idea! She ought to be old enough to handle some basic research and make her parents aware of some better options. What a great perspective, using this as an adventure and as preparation for college! Brilliant!
      Your advice seems sound, wise, and very helpful! Thank you for sharing your insight!

      p.s.
      Don’t ever worry about your comments being too long! I love reading them.

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  3. I have to agree with you – there’s likely more going on here than simply the choice in schooling. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and I’d wager there were problems in the family before this change took place.

    What makes me the saddest is that she feels like going online is the only way to vent her problems, i.e. not trusting that she can go to her parents for help. It’s a wake-up call and reminder for us all.

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    • That sounds valid, them having trouble before the move. As she doesn’t give details, it is hard to know.
      I agree, I wish she had someone with whom she could vent. Someone who could help her out and make her feel heard.
      My sadness really stemmed from a desire to make sure my children never felt this way. After some reflection though, while I make mistakes daily (and will more than likely continue to do so), our kids know that they are always free to discuss anything with us. Their feelings, their desires, and their frustrations are welcome to be voiced, as long as they are being respectful. In turn, we will do our part to listen and try to help as best we can. I pray this will be enough and that through much trying, our relationships will always be strong.

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  4. What a sad reminder for parents everywhere. Relationship really is key. Though I have no idea what I would say to your young friend. Talking to my parents and being heard always seemed like a challenge when I was younger – sometimes it’s still a challenge. I hope my kids come to me. I hope I don’t turn them away.

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  5. This has so many levels to it, it’s hard to begin to have words for this young lady. Here’s what I see. SShe is angry. Angry that she had to move. Angry that things have changed. Angry that she is not happy. Angry over so many things and in so many ways. She is in a process of grieving and does not know how to deal with it. It has little to do with the academic end and everything to do with the emotional end. And that is where she and her parents need to be talking. They all need to be proactive in this matter instead of reactive. Like one commenter suggested, she can research other alternatives for her education. She can venture out and make new friends, get involved with groups and activities that are uplifiting and character building. That will be proactive and therefore constructive. Her parents can follow up more closely with her, be involved, listen, share, etc. Again, proactive and constructive. It’s obvious that there is a break-down of connections here. I suspect that was an issue long before the shuffle and transitions took place. Just the language you describe tells me that there are some serious trust and security issues running rampant within this young lady’s mind and emotions. I pray that she finds some peace, that her family gets restored and renewed and that great things come from this experience for all of them.

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    • It certainly seems as if she is very angry. Anger, when not dealt with, can lead to some serious problems. I pray that, for her sake, she finds a way to be more proactive and turn the situation around.
      I pray that the Lord would bring some people into their lives who will help them become more aware of the situation and help them to handle the concerns in a positive manner.

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  6. It sounds like to me that you have a lost of wisdom and good instincts in how to respond to this girl. You have also been given a lot of good advice. The one thing that I might add is not so much what to tell her- at this point- but rather how to let her know that you HEAR her. If you are going to engage some in comments back and forth, perhaps you can ask for clarification of some some her points, restate some of what she is saying, “so you think….”. Obviously, she needs to be heard or else she would not be posting. Then once she knows she is being heard and being understood THEN she might be open to advice. Blessings on you for your desire to help!

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  7. I think everyone has already left excellent advice, so I’ll just say that I hope you’re able to help her. I think it’s awesome that you’re giving it the effort. If there’s anything we can do to help, please let us know. I’m not sure how old she is, but, perhaps, an online friend would be better than no friends/social life? Maybe some of our kids could provide a positive outlook?

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    • The young girl is in high school. I can certainly ask her if she would like the interaction. Be aware of the fact that she does use foul language though. I am not sure how much exposure your kids have to that. I’ll make sure to update everyone really soon!

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  8. I don’t know this girl’s situation, but I admit my sympathies lie with her mother. My adopted daughter had reactive attachment disorder and other issues. She called me every name in the book. Long, painful years. I wonder if her parents have a different perspective…
    Education is a privilege

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    • I think parents must have a different perspective. Not that it is unbiased either, though. I once heard that the truth has three sides; mine, yours, and the actual truth.
      Education is a gift; what you do with it, is your gift back to God.

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  9. I would simply pray for the girl and her family that God would manifest Himself to them; He can certainly send the right people into their lives. Someone who can meet the girl where she is without judging her. Who knows what type of family she comes from? It does not excuse her behavior–even if her family is horrible–but anger births angry.

    Before I recommitted my life to Christ, I was an angry person and didn’t realize how deep my anger was. Fortunately, God rescued and delivered me, before the deep-seated anger transferred to my child.

    It could be the opposite though; her family might be a wonderful, godly family, and perhaps she has rejected that way of life and is in rebellion. Only the one Judge and Lawgiver, God, knows.

    Over the last several years, I have answered many questions from homeschoolers (adults and children) on “Yahoo Answers,” and there are many pre-teens and teens who say their family does not listen to them, or ignores their wishes entirely, when it comes to homeschooling, virtual schooling, public schooling, etc. I haven’t read profane rants, because Yahoo doesn’t allow it on the answer board, but I have read many posts where teens feel as though their parents have no concept of what they’re thinking or feeling–and many feel as though their parents don’t care.

    Praying is the best thing you and I can do for this girl and her family, and I’ll join you in this. Then if God leads you to do more–proceed in Jesus’ name.

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  10. I feel for this poor girl. I am old enough that it is difficult to remember the crazy hormonal feelings that I had as a teen, but I still have my journals. They aren’t pretty, but I keep them to remind myself that as teens we have crazy feelings that hold us. Everything feels worse, or better. All their emotions are geometrically increased, and we as adults forget what that feels like. Our parents never have the right answer. They are holding us back from what we want. Now, should she have spewed it out on the Internet for all to read? No. She could have used better judgement where to place her thoughts. But teens that have good judgement 100% of the time are a rarity. It is that hormone thing.

    I have two teens. We recently moved. It is very difficult as a teen homeschooler to move around. My senior just wants to go. He is counting down the days until he leaves for college. Sometimes the answer isn’t as easy getting out there. A lot has to do with personality type, location, and skills. Anyway, I feel for her. I have a very good relationship with my kids, but they still get angry with me. They disagree with me on many things. I am thankful they don’t choose the Internet to let everyone know about it.

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  11. I think I would encourage this girl to identify what is driving her anger and to speak with her parents respectfully. I know I would encourage those parents to stick to their decision. I believe that the lack of relationship is a result of sending kids off to school. They all have to come to a place of mutual trust and respect but its probably going to be a bumpy road for a bit. They can struggle together or they can struggle against each other.
    When I became homeschooling I read “Education in the Heart of the Home.” Kimberly Hahn states that most homeschooling problems are discipline problems. The language you reference is an example of the reality that discipline is lacking. Virtual school may not be right for her – but it sounds like it really is a background issue at this point.

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    • It seems this young lady didn’t have as bad a relationship with her mother as she made it out to be. It seemed she was just having a down day and needed to vent.
      I do believe she needs prayer though and some new direction.

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  12. So sad. Unfortunately there’s a lot of that going on out there…. a definite sign of poor communication between parents and their children… a sign of unstable homes and not enough love shown, or at least the kind of love that is needed. Everyone has down days and maybe that was what was going on but it still shows a problem for her to ‘vent’ in such a profound way. I hope things get better for her… she does need prayer and it’s so wonderful that she has someone like you who cares enough to do that. Though she may not know you personally, your prayers can lift her up.

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  13. At a loss for words on what advice to give to that girl, but I pray the Lord will touch her heart and make it new. Your post is a reminder to me to ALWAYS pay attention to what my child is communicating — we’ve just started homeschooling and I pray that with God’s grace, we’ll grow more closer to God each day we’re learning.

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  14. There seems to be a definite breakdown in communication and relationship. At this age, children are still mostly a product of the home environment. Rebellion and anger are usually signals of much deeper problems. I pray that God can get to the root of the problem and that the parents will get in touch with their daughter.
    There have been times in our journey that due to finances or time restraints, we were not able to meet all of the promises we made our kids in the manner we thought we would. However, those have been times for them to learn to trust me that it would all get covered.
    Moves are hard on every one and maybe the parents themselves are still trying to get adjusted.
    Advice to her would need to be along the lines that all she is doing is hurting herself by her attitudes and lashing out. Sadly, those responsible for the pain aren’t the ones who are hearing her. The fact that her post is out there and mom has not commented on it would point to a disconnect. I have access to all my children do online and on a computer period and I excercise my right to violate their privacy- this way they can resist the temptation to put something out there that they would regret later. 🙂
    May God give you the right words to open the door to healing.

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  15. I am always disheartened by a child who feels they have no tangible outlets for frustration. I am also left wondering why the parents are homeschooling. Are they homeschooling simply because they haven’t found a school for their child, weren’t properly prepared (maybe the move was unexpected?), or because they have a genuine interest in homeschooling their children for whatever reasons related to their family and child (not the convenience of their situation). Why we homeschool is critical to success for ourselves as homeschooling parents and the children.

    I think a conversion from a classroom school environment to a homeschool (especially strictly virtual where my hunch from your summary is she is left to work almost entirely independently), as well as a change in their community, could be frankly traumatizing to a tween or teenager. Homeschooling is a lifestyle change. I wish I could know more about the situation. I hope that the child emerges from the situation with a stronger bond with her parents (she will melt down at some point) and that the struggles the parents are facing manifest into a positive future for their family.

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  16. It’s always good to remember that sometimes, especially with teenagers, they can be overly dramatic and use language they might not otherwise use around people when writing. I think someone mentioned about the difficulties arising when teens have unlimited access to the internet and using public forums to vent their private feelings.

    I recently found out that my Mum had found a little journal I had written years ago in which I made some sweeping statement like, “I hope I never have kids because imagine if they hate me and disrespect me as much as I hate my Mum!”. Apparently my Mum had then taken that to heart and kept that thought in her mind for years, thinking that’s what I thought about her! In reality, I was just being a drama queen in the moment and I have no recollection of even thinking that for a moment! When she finally brought it up with me recently, I reminded her of the classic line in the movie “Bridget Jones’ Diary” – “It’s just a diary. Everyone knows that diaries are full of crap”.

    🙂

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