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Thread: 13YO Behvaior Questions

  1. #1
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    Default 13YO Behvaior Questions

    My (recently turned) 13 YO daughter was referred to a psychologist by her pediatrician for evaluation. In my opinion, she is very disorganized and lacks self-awareness. She's very indignant - nothing is ever her fault. She seems unable to do anything unless she is specifically instructed to do it. Her room is always a mess, her clothes on the floor where they came off, and her laundry piles up for weeks before she will put it away. I can't just say clean your room. I have to give specific tasks one at a time - pick up the clothes off your floor, clean your bathroom counter, make your bed.

    She's a wanderer. If I am not watching she will disappear, and I will have to go find her. She spends a lot of time on the toilet. School takes forever, but she is bright. She can memorize a Latin declension/conjugation with a quick look. She gets math easily, although she claims not to like it. She read the Iliad and Odyssey without issue. The problem is getting her to get the work done. I simply can't get her to move the pencil unless I am staring at her telling her to move it. She takes 4 online classes because if she didn't, she'd get nothing done. Last year she took MS Lit II, 3FL, Ref/Con and Classical Studies I with the online academy. We were using Novare Physical Science and NEM I at home. Luckily she was ahead in math and science because she only made it 1/3 of the way through each book. She barely had time to work on math or science because she was always catching up on her online classes. No other subjects were touched last year. I did ditch the NEM this year. We are currently working through parts of Dolciani PreAlgebra, and plan to start Foerster in a couple of weeks. This has helped math greatly. She is now completing a section a day, but it takes all day. Yesterday she had 24 math problems and she 'worked' on those from 11-5. Nothing else got done.

    She is a figure skater as well. She skates 5 mornings a week (7-9:30). Her school day starts at 10:00. Not ideal, I realize, but she's done it for a long time. She is a talented skater, learning elements quickly, but then never mastering them. She gets lazy and messy, and she doesn't see it. She skates because she wants to skate - not because we are pushing her to do it. She needs a schedule, and skating gets her up and moving at the same time every day. If she were not skating, I would spend a considerable amount of time each morning getting her out of bed, so part of me fears that quitting skating would do more harm than good.

    She hardly ever gets to go anywhere outside of her daily skating. I keep hoping that making her stay home to work will encourage her to work, but she is missing out on so much free time. On occasion she catches up, and has a such a great sense of accomplishment, only to falter two days later and end up in the same boat. I don't want her entire childhood to be spent with me following her around telling her to do her work.

    This has always been somewhat of an issue, but the last two years have been awful. I think part of it was because I transitioned from mainly sitting with her to sitting with my younger two, and maybe partly hormonal. She is just not a very good independent worker. I don't know what to do with her. I see her heading down a similar path this year. Does this sound like something psychological or is this typical 13 YO behavior? Am I just expecting too much from her?
    2017-2018:
    DD 13 | 8A | Foerster, MPOA student (Latin, Lit, CS & Comp)
    DS 11 | 5M | Singapore, AAS
    DD 9 | 4A | Singapore, AAS

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 13YO Behvaior Questions

    This sounds very much like ADD. Very bright, very dedicated, very perceptive, very imaginative, ingenious, creative, even entrepreneurial! But very -- VERY -- distracted. I would consider an evaluation. Medication and creative approaches can definitely help.
    "Do not let the past disturb you -- just leave everything in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and begin again with joy."
    ~ St Mother Teresa of Calcutta

    "Pray, hope, and don't worry."
    ~ St Padre Pio

    Boy Wonder: 9, Simply Classical, Level 2
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: 13YO Behvaior Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jenniferjb View Post
    My (recently turned) 13 YO daughter was referred to a psychologist by her pediatrician for evaluation. In my opinion, she is very disorganized and lacks self-awareness. She's very indignant - nothing is ever her fault. She seems unable to do anything unless she is specifically instructed to do it. Her room is always a mess, her clothes on the floor where they came off, and her laundry piles up for weeks before she will put it away. I can't just say clean your room. I have to give specific tasks one at a time - pick up the clothes off your floor, clean your bathroom counter, make your bed.

    She's a wanderer. If I am not watching she will disappear, and I will have to go find her. She spends a lot of time on the toilet. School takes forever, but she is bright. She can memorize a Latin declension/conjugation with a quick look. She gets math easily, although she claims not to like it. She read the Iliad and Odyssey without issue. The problem is getting her to get the work done. I simply can't get her to move the pencil unless I am staring at her telling her to move it. She takes 4 online classes because if she didn't, she'd get nothing done. Last year she took MS Lit II, 3FL, Ref/Con and Classical Studies I with the online academy. We were using Novare Physical Science and NEM I at home. Luckily she was ahead in math and science because she only made it 1/3 of the way through each book. She barely had time to work on math or science because she was always catching up on her online classes. No other subjects were touched last year. I did ditch the NEM this year. We are currently working through parts of Dolciani PreAlgebra, and plan to start Foerster in a couple of weeks. This has helped math greatly. She is now completing a section a day, but it takes all day. Yesterday she had 24 math problems and she 'worked' on those from 11-5. Nothing else got done.

    She is a figure skater as well. She skates 5 mornings a week (7-9:30). Her school day starts at 10:00. Not ideal, I realize, but she's done it for a long time. She is a talented skater, learning elements quickly, but then never mastering them. She gets lazy and messy, and she doesn't see it. She skates because she wants to skate - not because we are pushing her to do it. She needs a schedule, and skating gets her up and moving at the same time every day. If she were not skating, I would spend a considerable amount of time each morning getting her out of bed, so part of me fears that quitting skating would do more harm than good.

    She hardly ever gets to go anywhere outside of her daily skating. I keep hoping that making her stay home to work will encourage her to work, but she is missing out on so much free time. On occasion she catches up, and has a such a great sense of accomplishment, only to falter two days later and end up in the same boat. I don't want her entire childhood to be spent with me following her around telling her to do her work.

    This has always been somewhat of an issue, but the last two years have been awful. I think part of it was because I transitioned from mainly sitting with her to sitting with my younger two, and maybe partly hormonal. She is just not a very good independent worker. I don't know what to do with her. I see her heading down a similar path this year. Does this sound like something psychological or is this typical 13 YO behavior? Am I just expecting too much from her?

    Hi, Jennifer.

    From here it sounds like a mix of issues. At times you might be expecting too much from her still-maturing work ethic, but that is certainly not the entire issue. Much of what you are expecting seems reasonable. The good news is that she can (and wants to!) get up daily and follow a productive routine for the physical and mental challenge of figure skating. Not only this, she performs reasonably well with the accountability provided by her MPOA classes. This is very encouraging.

    The psychologist can help tease out the remaining questions you have. Why is she having such a hard time? Is she lazy? Or is her inattention due to something else, such as a treatable condition? If the latter, this will be good to know. You do not want to confuse character issues with organic difficulties, especially at adolescence when your relationship with her needs to be strong.

    For now, if you agree with your pediatrician's recommendation, find a good psychologist to evaluate your daughter. Explain to your daughter that you know she has many gifts: intelligence, ability to get herself up every weekday morning for figure skating, read classics (a rarity for many 13yo children), and work well with good teaching. Tell her that you and her doctor (if she likes him/her) think that something might be interfering with her ability to make the most of her abilities. See if she agrees. If not, explain that you want to see if she is right and, if nothing else, rule out anything that might stand in her way of succeeding in high school and beyond. Take the approach of a "coach" (e.g., you can do this, so I know you will succeed; we just want to find out how best to help), rather than an "accuser" (i.e., you can do this, why not that??).

    In the meantime, whether she has an official diagnosis or not, you can help her become more independent in her daily chores, her work, and her organizational skills. Such skills will help her now and throughout young adulthood. Consider the good suggestions from any of these good books, if you have not already:


    Smart but Scattered Teens
    Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, second edition
    Late, Lost, and Unprepared

    You might also appreciate the Behavior chapter in Simply Classical, if you have not already read this.

    Let us know how everything goes. You have already given her many, many advantages. With her daily physical exercise, a good routine, great support from online classes, and a strong academic curriculum, she has MUCH going for her! You and she are entering a new chapter in her life, so it is good and right that you pursue new ways to help her move forward.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 13YO Behvaior Questions

    Thanks to you both for your responses. Rereading my post it seems I am very down on her. I'm just frustrated. I see so much potential, and I just can't figure out how to tap into it. I will definitely check out the recommended books. Thanks so much!
    2017-2018:
    DD 13 | 8A | Foerster, MPOA student (Latin, Lit, CS & Comp)
    DS 11 | 5M | Singapore, AAS
    DD 9 | 4A | Singapore, AAS

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Location
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    Default Re: 13YO Behvaior Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jenniferjb View Post
    My (recently turned) 13 YO daughter was referred to a psychologist by her pediatrician for evaluation. In my opinion, she is very disorganized and lacks self-awareness. She's very indignant - nothing is ever her fault. She seems unable to do anything unless she is specifically instructed to do it. Her room is always a mess, her clothes on the floor where they came off, and her laundry piles up for weeks before she will put it away. I can't just say clean your room. I have to give specific tasks one at a time - pick up the clothes off your floor, clean your bathroom counter, make your bed.

    She's a wanderer. If I am not watching she will disappear, and I will have to go find her. She spends a lot of time on the toilet. School takes forever, but she is bright. She can memorize a Latin declension/conjugation with a quick look. She gets math easily, although she claims not to like it. She read the Iliad and Odyssey without issue. The problem is getting her to get the work done. I simply can't get her to move the pencil unless I am staring at her telling her to move it. She takes 4 online classes because if she didn't, she'd get nothing done. Last year she took MS Lit II, 3FL, Ref/Con and Classical Studies I with the online academy. We were using Novare Physical Science and NEM I at home. Luckily she was ahead in math and science because she only made it 1/3 of the way through each book. She barely had time to work on math or science because she was always catching up on her online classes. No other subjects were touched last year. I did ditch the NEM this year. We are currently working through parts of Dolciani PreAlgebra, and plan to start Foerster in a couple of weeks. This has helped math greatly. She is now completing a section a day, but it takes all day. Yesterday she had 24 math problems and she 'worked' on those from 11-5. Nothing else got done.

    She is a figure skater as well. She skates 5 mornings a week (7-9:30). Her school day starts at 10:00. Not ideal, I realize, but she's done it for a long time. She is a talented skater, learning elements quickly, but then never mastering them. She gets lazy and messy, and she doesn't see it. She skates because she wants to skate - not because we are pushing her to do it. She needs a schedule, and skating gets her up and moving at the same time every day. If she were not skating, I would spend a considerable amount of time each morning getting her out of bed, so part of me fears that quitting skating would do more harm than good.

    She hardly ever gets to go anywhere outside of her daily skating. I keep hoping that making her stay home to work will encourage her to work, but she is missing out on so much free time. On occasion she catches up, and has a such a great sense of accomplishment, only to falter two days later and end up in the same boat. I don't want her entire childhood to be spent with me following her around telling her to do her work.

    This has always been somewhat of an issue, but the last two years have been awful. I think part of it was because I transitioned from mainly sitting with her to sitting with my younger two, and maybe partly hormonal. She is just not a very good independent worker. I don't know what to do with her. I see her heading down a similar path this year. Does this sound like something psychological or is this typical 13 YO behavior? Am I just expecting too much from her?
    I was over here on this board because of the post about sleep (my kids and I need more of it) and this caught my eye (I probably should have been sleeping, but I wasn't). If your pediatrician recommended an evaluation, I don't want to discourage you from that. However, I must say that I thought I was reading a description of my daughter at that age. Mine is almost 15 now, but at the time my daughter had recently started her periods and was VERY hormonal. She always been messy, slow to clean if not standing right with her, and prone to pick up a book and read. The defensiveness (once you filtered out the hormonal component) seemed very much tied to the fact that everything had always been easy and some of the stuff like math was no longer just jumping off the page and into her brain. We were also trying classical composition for the first time and I didn't know what I was doing and neither did she, but she didn't want help so we had constant fights about it not getting done. It took a lot for her to come to terms with the fact that she wasn't a failure or not smart because she had to work at something. The online academy was wonderful for her. She did really well with writing once someone told her what to do and after some pretty ugly moments when she didn't do so well on an online grammar or Latin quiz because he had no idea how to "study" she really stepped up to getting her work done for those classes. Last year we added in Classical Greek and it really killed every other subject besides her online classes - she did Foerster algebra, but she was almost done any way, Novare physical science -nope, lit - 1 book, classical studies - just over halfway. This year the deal was if she was taking Greek again she couldn't let that happen since it was now high school. She took Romeo and Juliet as a summer class with MPOA and is on week 8 of geometry. The room is still a mess and the clothes are still where they land on the floor, but she has been working (not quickly) to make sure she has time for Greek. She also really prefers to focus on something for awhile rather than have all the different subjects going simultaneously. She is also looking forward to the delectare discussion group this year for Iliad/Odessey. That was one of the things she didn't finish last year.

    My advice would be to take a deep breath. I can't express how much hard work is involved in keeping pace with third form Latin in the online academy and knowing things well enough to take all those computer graded quizzes. If she can handle the load you listed she is doing well. OK - she should have done math and science, but a year without physical science isn't going to kill her. Have you taught NEM before? I have heard it is a hard in a weird, not that much direction sort of way. That may play into it. My daughter is good at math, but would fight/wilt with an art of problem solving format where things aren't really taught. For Foerster I HIGHLY recommend the math without borders videos because my daughter liked the independence it gave her. She liked that she didn't have to wait for me. My daughter also loved Foerster's puns and such in the word problems. Warning, it isn't the easiest text on the face of the earth. Her math shouldn't take that long...either she doesn't get it or she is doing something other than math (for my daughter it would be doodling or reading). I would start with every other odd problem and she doesn't have to do the rest if she gets them correct in a designated period of time.

    Oh, and my daughter doesn't skate, but she swims 4-5 nights per week for two hours a night. She likes it, is a hard worker at practice, but has never done well in meets. I get some of that same indignant attitude around championship season when her brother is qualified for states and she never has. I chalk the excuses/attitude up to image preservation. I would say your daughter could use some social outlet outside of skating (which is hard work) that she can look forward to...for my daughter that is AHG and choir, but it can be anything and doesn't have to be with teens. My daughter hangs with the younger girls at swimming because she really can't comment on the last Instagram post. My son is particularly fond of his blacksmithing class with one other homeschooled boy and the sweetest lady I have ever met. He and my daughter took her coppersmithing class this summer and they both loved it.

    Good luck on figuring out what makes your daughter tick. Early teen girls are a handful.
    Dorinda

    DD 14 - 9M with Geometry, MPOA(Henle 2, Comp3), Lukeion Greek2
    DS 12 - core 7M with Henle 1
    DS 8 - core 3A/4A
    DS 4 - loving life with AAR1

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: 13YO Behvaior Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mom2mthj View Post
    I was over here on this board because of the post about sleep (my kids and I need more of it) and this caught my eye (I probably should have been sleeping, but I wasn't). If your pediatrician recommended an evaluation, I don't want to discourage you from that. However, I must say that I thought I was reading a description of my daughter at that age. Mine is almost 15 now, but at the time my daughter had recently started her periods and was VERY hormonal. She always been messy, slow to clean if not standing right with her, and prone to pick up a book and read. The defensiveness (once you filtered out the hormonal component) seemed very much tied to the fact that everything had always been easy and some of the stuff like math was no longer just jumping off the page and into her brain. We were also trying classical composition for the first time and I didn't know what I was doing and neither did she, but she didn't want help so we had constant fights about it not getting done. It took a lot for her to come to terms with the fact that she wasn't a failure or not smart because she had to work at something. The online academy was wonderful for her. She did really well with writing once someone told her what to do and after some pretty ugly moments when she didn't do so well on an online grammar or Latin quiz because he had no idea how to "study" she really stepped up to getting her work done for those classes. Last year we added in Classical Greek and it really killed every other subject besides her online classes - she did Foerster algebra, but she was almost done any way, Novare physical science -nope, lit - 1 book, classical studies - just over halfway. This year the deal was if she was taking Greek again she couldn't let that happen since it was now high school. She took Romeo and Juliet as a summer class with MPOA and is on week 8 of geometry. The room is still a mess and the clothes are still where they land on the floor, but she has been working (not quickly) to make sure she has time for Greek. She also really prefers to focus on something for awhile rather than have all the different subjects going simultaneously. She is also looking forward to the delectare discussion group this year for Iliad/Odessey. That was one of the things she didn't finish last year.

    My advice would be to take a deep breath. I can't express how much hard work is involved in keeping pace with third form Latin in the online academy and knowing things well enough to take all those computer graded quizzes. If she can handle the load you listed she is doing well. OK - she should have done math and science, but a year without physical science isn't going to kill her. Have you taught NEM before? I have heard it is a hard in a weird, not that much direction sort of way. That may play into it. My daughter is good at math, but would fight/wilt with an art of problem solving format where things aren't really taught. For Foerster I HIGHLY recommend the math without borders videos because my daughter liked the independence it gave her. She liked that she didn't have to wait for me. My daughter also loved Foerster's puns and such in the word problems. Warning, it isn't the easiest text on the face of the earth. Her math shouldn't take that long...either she doesn't get it or she is doing something other than math (for my daughter it would be doodling or reading). I would start with every other odd problem and she doesn't have to do the rest if she gets them correct in a designated period of time.

    Oh, and my daughter doesn't skate, but she swims 4-5 nights per week for two hours a night. She likes it, is a hard worker at practice, but has never done well in meets. I get some of that same indignant attitude around championship season when her brother is qualified for states and she never has. I chalk the excuses/attitude up to image preservation. I would say your daughter could use some social outlet outside of skating (which is hard work) that she can look forward to...for my daughter that is AHG and choir, but it can be anything and doesn't have to be with teens. My daughter hangs with the younger girls at swimming because she really can't comment on the last Instagram post. My son is particularly fond of his blacksmithing class with one other homeschooled boy and the sweetest lady I have ever met. He and my daughter took her coppersmithing class this summer and they both loved it.

    Good luck on figuring out what makes your daughter tick. Early teen girls are a handful.
    Thanks Dorinda!
    My hope is that she will outgrow at least some of this soon. I can live with the messiness. I think it's the always playing catch up that gets to me the most. I had hoped that starting the school year fresh and not being behind would motivate her to keep up. Online classes start next week, and now she's really going to have a lot of work to keep up with. I think part of her problem is that she compares what her brother and sister are doing to what she is doing. She has more work, and it's harder. My younger two are also much more motivated to be finished, so they are done much earlier in the day. To her it's just not fair.

    I do think I overwhelmed her with math. In addition to the difficulty of NEM, I was assigning every problem in every section. That's why I ordered the Kolbe lesson plans for Foerster. I suppose the box checker in me needed permission to only do the odds. I will checkout the Math w/o Borders videos.
    2017-2018:
    DD 13 | 8A | Foerster, MPOA student (Latin, Lit, CS & Comp)
    DS 11 | 5M | Singapore, AAS
    DD 9 | 4A | Singapore, AAS

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