Seeking Professional Advice for a Senior in High School

Updated on October 13, 2006
S. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
18 answers

My daughter is a senior this year and has started to "rebell" about going to school. She has been an honor student up until her 11th year and has never given me a problem with school at all. She started seeing a counsler and lexapro about 2 months ago, I also talked with the school guidance and prinicipal's about this situation. She promises to go every evening, but in the morning, it's a whole different story.........

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C.M.

answers from Erie on

My daughter is also a senior this year. She did not want to start back in september (Honor student also) I think my daughter's fear is that senior year is the beginning of the end, then they have to grow up. She and I battled the whole month of september about college issues, I just made her understand that the quicker she applied then the less stressful the rest of her year would be. We are waiting for an acceptance letter, but things have improved. I don't know if this will help or not.

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J.S.

answers from Reading on

I would rethink the Lexapro idea. My stepdaughter was on that and it made her anxiety and depression alot worse. If your daughter suffers from depression and is suicidal, taking lexapro is proven to make it even worse. We took my stepdaughter (she was 16 at the time) off the lexapro, against her counselors advice, and she actually started feeling alot better. You should seriously look up some articles on lexapro. There has been alot of bad publicity about that pill recently and I actually thought they pulled it off the market. Please do a little research and talk to your doctor and see if there is a different pill that they can prescribe.

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S.F.

answers from Atlanta on

sounds like a power issue and "senioritis". Is she involved in any activities? see if she can find something enjoyable to do fter school...volunteer doing something she would like. I was the same way, then started to volunteer w/ children and turnd it around. If she had plans for college, you may want to take a little trip to check out the school she most wants to attend. Give her back her focus. Good luck!

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M.J.

answers from Dover on

Hi S.,

I personally went through almost the exact same thing. When I was a senior, I just kind of stopped going to school. It got to a point where my mother called the school every morning to make sure I actually went & eventually I had to fight to keep my credits & be able to graduate. They let me go through only because I didn't miss a single day for the remainder of the year & had never caused problems in the past.

Looking back on the situation, I believe it stemmed from being scared to death to move on & grow up. I never really decided what I wanted to major in in college, I hadn't decided what colleges I might be interested in going to. I felt like I was completely floundering when all my friends knew just what they wanted & where they were going & how to achieve it. It definately took the school holding back my credits to snap me out of whatever the funk was I had fallen into.

I'm almost 30 now & still not entirely sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I make a decent living doing accounting work & we get by. I wish I had had more help from my guidance counselor & I wish at the time I had been able to voice to my parents just how scared I was & ask for help in figuring out where to go from there. I can't say whether this is your daughters same problem, but it sure was mine. Good luck!

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K.S.

answers from York on

S.,
My son was the same way. It took me all I could do to just get him to graduate so I know how you feel.As for the Lexapro I would ask maybe how she feels being on that. I had to get on something when my mom passed away. I found that when I was on the Lexapro my head after about 3 months would just hurt all day and all night long so I ended up getting put on something else that helped alot better. All I can say is maybe see who she is hanging with and just keep on top of things. Don't back off either. I know its hard trust me but we can't back down. I know my son even was pushing me to the curfew thing and I was called so many times to come pick him up and from the cops as well. But he did graduate and is now 18 and working. Sure its still a hassle cause I began to make him pay me 25 dollars a week rent and he complains about that. I take him to work also and he complains I am just 5 mins late. Sooner or later he is going to realize what I have done for him. Just hang in their ok K.

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L.W.

answers from Scranton on

I dropped out of school as a senior not because of bordom but because of problems in my life I think you should try to see if there is anything going on at school that would make her not want to go like taunting from the other kids it may be the worst case senario but it does happen.

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S.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

Does your daughter have depression? I have bipolar depression and I'm on lexapro myself and most of the time I don't feel like doing anything. I'm seeing a counselor too but are you sure she's talking about the right things when she goes in? Good Luck and Take care. Best Wishes!

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R.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

S.,

Why the need for the counselor and meds? She is a senior and by this time, as i am sure you remember, you just didn't want to deal with it anymore. You were "done". Maybe that is it. Or maybe she is having a problem with someone at school. Does your school have a work release program for seniors? Of they do, check into that for her. Some district will allow seniors ot only attend their mandatory classes as long as a they have a job tha tthey can go to during the day....cashier at the local grocery store...things like that.

Good luck.

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D.K.

answers from Lancaster on

I was thinking the same about senioritis. My son's girlfriend seems to never get to school. She is always "sick." I didn't have that problem with my senior, but she did slack off on getting this completed and such. She also was an Honors student. You are doing the right things with a therapist. Hopefully they are suggesting consequences to you. Accountability is something all children must learn, and most aren't. Taking responsibility for their choices only come with making mistakes and going through the effects of those choices. Good luck!

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N.O.

answers from Philadelphia on

hello!! i am familiar with the situation because it happened to me but it happen from your daughters point of view. when i was in high school i stated doing hte same thing that shes doing. i have always been a 4.0 student and for the first semester i started tripping and not taking responsibility for my oun actions. my parents, like you, the first thing that hey did was get a counselor and a psicologist, of course that didn,t work. they spend a lot of money and that didn't work.

my only advise to you is, nobody knows your child more that you. so before you start taking your daughter to all this proffesionals that don't know her and because of that are going to scar her soul for life, just to make some money, sit down and talk to her. open the lines of comunication and you will find out the real story.
i will tell you waht my problem was. when i entered my senior year i know that that year does not count for erly admition to college, lest face it, why would i burn my brain studying and doing all this extra work when with my grades the way they were i was getting a full scholarship? why would i study abd study when i can be playing ball, going out with my friends, etc. thats what i was thinking. and trust me there is no profesional that can posibly get to what your daughter is thinking better then you, so talk to her, have a little get together, go away somewhere, thats what my parents did and i graduated with my 4.0 GPA, and i graduated from college 3 years ago with a airways science BA.
hope this works for you the same way it worked for me.

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K.D.

answers from Reading on

Hi,

I'm not a professional, but I too have a senior this year. I have had trouble with him throughout the years and this year is no different. The only thing I keep telling him, is if he wants to be an adult and be on his own he has to graduate, if he doesn't go to school he will not be able to do that.

I wonder if since she is a good student and seems to have enjoyed school until now, it may be she is afraid to graduate and leave school, so her way of dealing with the anxiety is to rebel against school.

Just some thoughts. Hope you find a solution soon.

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A.H.

answers from York on

Not sure if any of this will help or not. But I graduated from Northern back in 94. I was the same exact way my senior year. I mean think about it, her whole world is about to change come June. She will have graduated high school, she may not know what she wants to do yet. I mean, the friends you have all through school, you split ways shortly after graduation night. Everyone goes their seperate ways, and everything as you know it up until that point is about to change. You have no choice but to become an adult, to make choices, to have to pay bills. It's a scary world when you become a senior and realize alls about to change.
Just give her sometime to adjust to all of it. But personally one thing I'd do is sit down and talk to her about all of it. Bring it up yourself if need be. I mean talking about it can be just as rough for her. She maybe thinking all of this, but not sure how to talk about all of it.
My senior year, I was told if I didn't shape up, I was gonna fail my senior year and not be able to graduate with all of my friends. The last marking period I did less than I had all year and made the honor roll (the only time I was ever on the honor roll all through school, go figure).
I personally just think she's scared, may want to talk but just doesn't know how too. Hope some of this helped.

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C.E.

answers from Washington DC on

S.,
I can sympathize but I'm not sure I can be much help. I am 45 years old and just married for 1 year. My daughter is just about to turn 17 and a senior in high school. The same is true of my daughter and nothing seems to help. During the end of her 11th year she just started hating school. She failed 2 subjects so I sent her to summer school. Big mistake. I told her that she basically has to show up and she will pass. Well she started cutting the summer school classes. So I withdrew her, took away the cell phone and her car. She was grounded over a month until school started again. I told her that she will have to work extra hard in her senior year to make up the credit when, if she had passed, she would have had early release.
I took her to be analyzed at Sheppard Pratt in Columbia. The therapist there said that she thought it was a power struggle between me and my daughter. She also said that it was part of her growing up and starting the separation process because we had always been extremely close. My daughter has been to a few sessions with the Sheppard Pratt therapist.
I also took her to Pathways and had her drug tested because I thought that this sudden change in her attitude must be drugs. Well it wasn't. I take her every month for a drug test and it is clear.
I'm sure this doesn't help but it does help me to know that I am not alone in this. Everyone I talk to tells me that this too shall pass. It can't be quick enough for me.

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J.W.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Actually, I would like to know more about your daughter in order to give my opinion. Not really. But you probably should find out more about her personal life.
By this, I mean :

What does that mean girl click have against her?
Who's boyfriend did she talk to and make an enemy of and now that chic is bad mouthing her all over school?
What boy did she have a crush on and he totally diss'd her?

When I was in high school, I was in this kind of situation and I really didn't feel that my parents understood just how bad I felt on a daily basis.I felt that I tried to talk to them but they gave me advise like" Oh that's not important what those girls think about you".
Honestly, it really was important to me at the time because I was so miserable having to face those people and I felt alone and pursicuted.
I really can't tell you what would have made my situation better at school but it would have been easier to bare that burden if my parents had understood it.

My advise talk to her and find out what the issue is and please don't be judgemental if it has to do with things that don't agree with the morals you thought you taught her. She probably made a mistake and is paying for it emotionally. And because she knows you'll judge her she is definitely afraid to confide in you.

Good Luck.

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D.B.

answers from Allentown on

hopefully that lexapro is working for her...when i was taking it ..it made me really mean and i wasnt a very nice person to be around...
and time heals all wounds..if she needs soemone to talk to ..tell her to email me...i had a hard time with my teenager too....but shes a 24 yr old mother now of two..and everything is goin good..cept she needed to be put on zoloft postpardon depression after her last baby...
one thing i always did in school when i had no friends and work also..was to keep smiling..no one knows what your thinking of..and happiness brings happiness..
good luck to the both of you

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J.B.

answers from Scranton on

I myself dropped out of school as a senior because I was so bored! I was also a gifted student and the school didn't have much of a program for us. I would have done so much better if they'd let me test out of a few grades earlier on, or at least let me just read in the library and actually learn something new instead of doing hours of busywork every day. But that's neither here nor there. ;)

Since she's almost done, and the situation will be so much better in college, I'd try to get her to focus on doing what she needs to do to get through. It may be that her school will let her do a "homebound" thing for a few weeks or months -- not full homeschooling, just keeping up with her coursework at home, maybe with a tutor.

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C.E.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My daughter, also 17, went through the same thing last year. She is a good student and very social and we were shocked to say the least. We had her seek help and found out that she is unhappy with the things that go on in school and the "Drama" as she calls it. My husband decided to look into cyber school and she is now attending. I was worried and was not happy about the idea but it seemed to be an answer at the time. The part that is so scary is that when they turn 18 they could drop out if they wanted to do so. I am not saying that cyber school is the answer but it is something to look at. She is so much happier and is doing very well in school. It takes a lot of dedication on both my daughter and my part with keeping up with all classes and making sure she spends enough time and her grades are good. I am able to monitor this every day. It has been much better

Good luck,
C.

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C.G.

answers from Allentown on

Hi S.-
I'm a high school teacher - I have 9th and 12th graders this year. From my experience with my 12th graders, I find that everything for them feels like it falls apart for 12th grade. At the beginning of the 12th grade year, it REALLY starts to sink in that LIFE IS CHANGING and it's unstoppable- I think it FREAKS them out. Friends start to pull away from each other (I think they do this unconsciously because they know their time together is limited now), they feel tremendous pressure about getting into the school of their choice, they still want to excel in school but are sick of it and are outgrowing it by the second. It's just HARD stuff. I think Senior year is the worst year of all. Plus, they're going to be leaving home and living on their own soon AND they're supposed to be sooooo happy about that-it's just not cool to be scared about being on your own for the first time. It's big, grown-up stuff for a formerly little girl. I think it's a big adjustment.

I think you're doing the right thing by taking her to a counselor and talking to her guidance counselor and principal. Don't be afraid to reach out to a favorite teacher- just because they're big doesn't mean anything. I love to talk to my kids' parents. The lexapro might be having the opposite effect- there's been a lot of research and articles lately on the effects of anti-depressants in adolescents. I'd be inclined to take her off the medicine and increase her 'talk-therapy'. Check with the school to see if they have a 'student assistance counselor' (SAC). This person is a great resource too. (Our SAC is amazing!!!)

Things will get better for her as the year goes on- the winter's bound to be stinky- but as we get closer to prom and graduation, the kids seem to pull back together because their colleges have accepted them, the stress is off, the end is in sight, the fun stuff is coming up fast, and they seem to realize this and want to be together to celebrate these things.

Feel free to email or even call me if you'd like- I could talk about teenagers forever. I started this as a job that I thought would be pretty cool and soon fell so in love that I can't imagine that other people don't want to talk about kids all day long! Imagine that! ;-)

Take care-
C.

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