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What is the next step after flaming out?

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Replies to: What is the next step after flaming out?

  • calla1calla1 Registered User Posts: 1,793 Senior Member
    I agree with a lot of the above comments, and I'd start with a few therapy sessions that include myself and my spouse and my child so that all the issues are on the table.

    One other thought I can add: like your daughter, my son went to a very competitive private high school and he did very well. We wound up bringing him home his freshman year. There were many issues but one of them was his feeling of being on an assembly line that he couldn't get off of. Every student in his competitive high school was going to a great college. It was just understood that he would as well. So college wasn't really his decision, but rather an expectation that he was trying to live up to.

    He dropped out very early in his freshman year and announced he didn't need college. We said fine, prove it. We gave him some time to look for a decent job which paid enough to support himself, while receiving therapy to keep him on track. He pretty rapidly realized he did, in fact, need college. And when he went back to his studies, he took ownership in a new way.

    Your daughter may need time to take ownership of her future. A good therapist can help her with this task.
  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    @calla1 I am still waiting for my daughter to come to the realization she needs some kind of skill or education-- she is living on her own (and I am pretty sure is pretty behind on her bills) but she isn't complaining to me or asking me to pay her way so I have to let it go.
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 7,900 Senior Member
    Too many- hugs. Don't want to hijack this thread, but you've posted about your daughter before and I'm sending you good karma. I know a lot of "early 30's" who are in the process of getting it together and it is so gratifying when it finally happens. I think some of these young people need to hear from someone who is NOT their parent "you have so much potential".... when it's a boss or a customer it starts to sink in....
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,052 Senior Member
    In the short term I would suggest just providing her with a safe and non-judgemental place to live, plus some hugs. In the medium term (maybe starting now, maybe starting in a month or two) counseling. You as a family need to figure out what is going on. She might not know herself, or might not want to say. Remember that you are not the counselor. So let a professional psychologist and/or psychiatrist figure this out. You be the parent and for now provide a safe place.

    There are some guesses above that might be correct, there might just be too much stress at school, she might have realized that she does not know what she actually wants to do and therefore does not know why she is at school.

    I think that she needs to feel ready before returning to school. Also, she might want to think about what balance is correct between academic challenge versus stress. There are a significant number of very smart students who don't take well to stress, and we live in a very stressful world. As such finding the right school can require some care. I have seem many posts on CC which read to me like "as a student I want to go to the most prestigious and therefore most stressful school possible". Eventually reality hits and students in some cases realize that a different choice is a better fit. Regardless, life is not a race and school can wait until she is ready (there will still be many great schools in a year or two or three).

    To me no drastic solution should be considered until you know the reason for the problem. As one example "the military" does not seem like the right solution to me. I don't think that this is her being lazy. I think that something deeper than this is going on.

    I know this is hard, but I have seen kids come out of situations that seem similar and do very well.
  • InigoMontoyaInigoMontoya Registered User Posts: 1,491 Senior Member
    I agree with counseling, but wanted to add an anecdote about light at the end of the tunnel. A friend's daughter was a good student, private high school, went to college for engineering and flamed out. Came back home and went to beauty school. Is now taking Engineering courses at a local college. It's going to be a harder and longer path to the degree than if she had gone straight through, but there was a certain amount of maturing she needed to do to be ready.
  • TempeMomTempeMom Registered User Posts: 2,680 Senior Member
    edited September 13
    One thing in addition to the above good comments, I know you are likely disappointed in your daughter. Imagine how disappointed in herself that she probably is.
  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    @TempeMom I know my daughter is disappointed in herself ... I wish she would use that to take action of some sort but she is instead stuck in a cycle of blaming me and accusing me of being disappointed. I mean would it even ring true if I said I wasn't?? She blew through $20,000 in college savings and has a $5000 loan to pay back with zilch to show for it and each time telling me if I just let her do it HER way things would be different. They never were.

    It is hard especially at a young age to be introspective I guess.
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 7,900 Senior Member
    Toomany- you are now letting her do it her way. She gets to decide when she's ready to go back to school. Kudos to you for backing off but still supporting her.

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,618 Senior Member
    Great story, @calla1 . Not all kids are going to get through college in four years. There are a lot of students who need to do things in their own time, in their own way. A good friend's daughter had a similar experience to your son. She is now set to graduate from college at the age of 25. She worked a series of bad, low-paying jobs, and that woke her up. She finally realized that for her to have the kind of life she wanted, she needed to get a degree.

    I myself was put on academic probation while in community college, which was the wake-up I needed. It took me six years to graduate. Luckily, my parents never pressured me, but I simply didn't get serious about it until I realized that I wouldn't get a degree if I didn't shape up. I do think it has to come from the kid, with support from the parents, of course.
  • mommyrocksmommyrocks Registered User Posts: 1,095 Senior Member
    I have a friend who has several kids. One finished graduate school and has a high-paying job now. The other dropped out of college after a couple of years and went through a period of being "lost," not knowing what she wanted to do. She tried various jobs, including working with kids for a while, and eventually discovered she loves hair. She went through training to become a hair stylist and works at a hair salon. I wonder if working will help your daughter find a path that either leads her to a career that doesn't require the four-year degree, or leads her to be more focused on what she can gain out of a degree to motivate her to go back with more energy and determination.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 30,520 Super Moderator
    Oh, I feel for your daughter. Your write, "The question is what is the next step for a student like this."

    Take her to a professional, NOW, and have her evaluated. She's obviously struggling. Hopefully it's just a blip, but you need to get to the bottom of things. If it's something serious, you don't want to look back in five years and say, "If only..."
  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    @blossom - not an easy task at all!! Thanks for kudos sometimes parenting is so thankless LOL
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 62,600 Senior Member
    You are paying for an expensive private school. We made it very clear to our kids that they needed to get grades of C or better...or they would not be returning to their private universities.

    You already have taken that step.

    NOW...be supportive of your daughter doing something beside attending college. A job would be good. If there is a community college nearby, or a four year school within a short commute...perhaps,she can work..,and take one class...at some point in the future.

    But first...I agree....get her a good counselor. Someone who worked with young adults. Your daughter needs a road map to success...which first involves figuring out what derailed her...twice. Then move on...slowly,

    College completion isn't a race...it's a journey. And for some it's a bumpier ride than for others.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 7,967 Senior Member
    To the OP, I know you are worried and disappointed but I hope you can find the strength to welcome your daughter back in the midst of her troubles.

    I have been in your position and can assure you that if you treat it like an opportunity, not a disaster, things may go better. Counseling will help.

    Just want to say that there are a lot of zigs and zags with a scenario like this but turnarounds happen all the time. Some of the kids who get off the track a bit end up being interesting kids with compassion for others.

    These days there are many ways to do college: part-time, online, distance, extension/continuing ed/adult learner. I am a huge fan of NOLS too.

    Some kids don't go back either, and that's okay. Help her find some interests. Perhaps she can do an internship or volunteer or take an art or dance class while she is healing and getting counseling.
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