Monday, May 10, 2010

What Grounded Teens Do For Entertainment.

Watch The Grass Grow Of Course

This is a photo of Middlest taken by Middlest. It's one I figured I could get away with so if you recognize those dirty feet let me know because I'll have to take it off!

The problem with grounding Middlest is that Middlest doesn't usually seem to have a problem with it. She is perfectly content to roll around in the yard by herself. She has always been able to amuse herself with few resources.
She has no learning or attention disorders.  She has tested out as gifted. She has been barely passing in school for years. She is what is known as a gifted underachiever. She has 1 year and 1 month left before graduation.

So what do you do when grounding doesn't work? When explaining falls on deaf ears. When pleading is pointless and nagging is a no no. What do you do when you not only point them in the right direction but hand them the arrows, give them the tool box,  pack a healthy lunch,  screw the wheels on tight and set them firmly on the right track. Nudge them forward or if necessary give them a kick in the butt. And still....
They start to roll backwards
Or tip over
Or just stand there and watch the grass grow under their feet?

   For most of elementary school I would have to let her teachers know that her work was probably crammed somewhere in her school desk, along with the socks and whale drawings and whatever book she was reading instead of doing her work until you caught her. By the time she started 5th grade I had to step back and let her take responsibility for herself on some level or she would never learn. I couldn't always bail her out. When her grades were falling they called me in for a conference.
I explained. No, she is not struggling. I have to let her take some knocks or she will never learn to fend for herself. She is grounded. But the problem is she does not care. The only thing left to take from her would be her books but I didn't feel that was the way to go. Her math teacher actually suggested maybe I should do that, "her mother had". I said, "I don't know" I thought, "Maybe that's whats wrong with you". She was a screamer. That is one thing my kids can't abide, a screaming teacher.
    They worried about her keeping to herself. They were afraid she might be antisocial. No, she is not antisocial. She has friends, she just doesn't Need them. When they are there she is happy. If they are not she is still happy. What she is is a control freak. A quiet one. Under the radar so to speak.
I told them I hoped she would straighten up because she wanted to play basketball and I told  her she could not unless her grades came up. Their faces were actually stunned. Mid has always been a quiet bookworm. Her teachers seemed shocked when I told them she had  played softball for 4 years. And also that she had been surfing since she was very small. One actually said, "I can't believe it." Yes, she did all of things. But only when she enjoyed them. Her life never revolved around them.
I told them she also was a girl scout and had been playing cello for 2 years. That she would be auditioning for orchestra in the middle school for the arts.
Their reaction was, sounds like a very good idea....ok...never mind.

She played for 5 years and added string bass for one of the years to try it out. She came to us when she was 9 and asked if she could try it. Then she set it down at the end of 8th grade and hasn't picked up the instrument since. I have to admit I miss the music in the house. But it was her choice to begin and therefore her choice to end.

She writes very well. She began to be very "in to" writing  in 6th grade. She filled endless pages and when it was time for the  high school for the arts auditioned as a writer and was accepted. At the end of 9th grade she put down her pen. She still occasionally writes but only for her own amusement. Her highest achievements in school were always language related. For a long time she wanted to be a language arts teacher. She is in an AP or college level/credit language arts class. She was put there because of the skill level she was at. She is in danger of failing the class this semester. It is not to hard. She is tired of Language Arts. She is saturated. She does not want to do it anymore.
She has not listened to me, other family members,  teachers,  counselors or even friends.
She has been grounded for her grades for 7 years now ; )

Middlest always has a A+ in Art.
This is her latest work.

It blows me away.
It is her friend and a perfect likeness ( They also have known each other since 3rd grade &  I just started hearing giggling when they talk.....every day...numerous times....hmm...might explain why they are both failing German...) Anyway...
I am terrified of this talent going to waste.

In all of these years she has still not learned to take responsibility for herself.  She does what it pleases her to do and lets the chips fall where they may.
She has never seemed to comprehend the reality that things won't magically fall into place. When they don't she just shrugs and moves on. I ground her because I feel I should do Something. It is pointless but I have to take a stand somewhere. I am beating my head against a brick wall but trying not to complain about it too much while I do. If you try to talk to her about it you can physically see her dig in her heels and turn off her ears.
I have written about this somewhat before. I am trying to get a grip on it because honestly I just don't know what to do any more.  I am growing weary of worrying about her future.

I know there are many people who become successful by unconventional routes. I am praying that I don't have a stroke trying to keep my mouth shut and that she will find her way.

There is a saying and when I was little I loved the song my mother would sing to me. (Ok, yes we were big Doris Day fans too)

Que Sera Sera.

I think it may be tattooed somewhere into Middlest's DNA

I need it tattooed on my heart.

To help me remember that I have learned it is simply true.

what will be...will be....

I have a need to listen to my favorite song this morning, over and over again.
Join me if you like. (yes I know that ever since I realized my blog wouldn't explode if I embedded code in it I have been inflicting video's on you. This one is always worth the time: )....It's not Que Sera Sera...

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  1. That pencil drawing is AMAZING! You can see she has an amazing, natural talent. and I can see why you are feeling so frustrated. I'm not sure there is much more you can do.

    The people I know who have that God-given artistic talent, all had teenage years like Middlest, and they seemed to find themselves and become more grounded in college and beyond.

    I think she'll be alright. :)

  2. My 19 year old and i went through the same never ending over achiever grounding ceremonies!! Even down to the overstuffed desk and bad grades. He starts College at a real University in June.. not even Community College (which i am not putting down, my daughter attends) which for him is a great accomplishment!!

    I love her artwork. That is absolutely Stunning!!

  3. My brother, although not artistic, heard his own drummer. Barely got out of high school, nothing my parents did helped or changed his behavior or study habits (and lack thereof).

    Sometime in 11th grade, he had a business teacher who lit a fire under him.

    Now he has two MBA's and is very successful If someone had said that twenty-seven years ago, no oe would have beleived it.

  4. I think you have to hold firm to the belief that what ever this child tries her hand at, she succeeds! She WILL forge her own path & unlike so many others, she will be HAPPY doing it!! But if the grounding doesn't work, my girlfriend enforces baseboard cleaning & line writing....& they work! Plus her baseboards are really clean LOL! :-D

  5. That drawing is outstanding!! My stepson is similar...being a gifted student who has been "slipping". I don't know the perfect way to deal with these situations, but I think as they get a little older the reality of life will catch up...and they'll be okay!

  6. Well at least she is very smart, and obviously amazingly talented. She will find a way.

    I have no real advice - it is a frustrating situation.

    My 10 year old is quite smart, and is also in advanced classes at school. LAst year her work was slipping and I knew she knew the stuff but she didn't really care and was just making sloppy errors.

    She loves $$$.

    So, just like the real world, I paid her for her schoolwork. "A's" got a dime. (her daily work was graded and sent home.)

    If she grows up and doesn't care about her job she will get fired. Just like doing an extra good job gets a promotion or raise.

    This new system made her work neater and made her care more about her papers and tests and gave her a goal. It was nice.

  7. I forgot to add that I LOVE Doris Day movies!!!! My favorite is the one with the vip candy with the liquor in it! i can't rememeber the movie title!

    I used to have all of her movies on VHS, but now we only have DVD players in the house :-(

  8. I have such a fear that one of my kids will be unpeterbed by my talks and punishments. And I will hit the wall that you've described. Because I can only do so much before I'm not the mom that I want to be.
    I'm still hoping that I'll be able to find that THING. For my three year old it's going to his room. It's the ONLY threat that works. And I'm sure it will end and my reign as the mom of well-behaved children will end with it.

  9. It might be hard to be a gifted child, but it's probably even harder to be the mother of one. You are clearly thoughtful and aware, and I think that's the best thing you can be (take her books away? Why not just peel off her skin and be done with it? Ridiculous suggestion!)

  10. I have had to take away my daughter's books only twice in her life and it was for being disrespectful towards me and then again, for breaking a family rule. I didn't enjoy it, but was she ever disrespectful again or "forget" to tell me she was going to a friend's house? No. That was the only thing I could think of that would drive home the seriousness of what I wanted her to understand.

    With all that being said, DON'T DO IT!!! It's HORRIBLE!! : (

    And that drawing... wow! Just wow! Sorry I don't have any advice, but I think if you listen to your gut, then you'll figure out what you need to do. I listen to mine and it usually tells me some good stuff.

  11. Her talent is incredible! I'm glad I read this post. My son is only 6 but he is gifted and I see the passion in him and his quest when he is interested in something but once he has mastered it he is done. So again, I'm glad I read this so I can keep it in my mind while he grows up and realize that I need to foster his intersts and accept his accomplishments as an accomplishment and not him giving up. She will be just fine - you have laid the groundwork for her to survive.

  12. MOPG, it's like your living in a pressure cooker-is this what the teenage years will be like? (My son is my worry right now...)

  13. Thanks for the support Everybody. I was slipping off the tracks a little myself and you helped me keep on chugging....onward that is...not beer...really.

  14. She is truly gifted. Maybe a goal with her art would entice her to do better in school. Me and my friends use to turn the sound off and make up our own dialogue and my mother would have a fit when she would get my interim report, but when the report card came it would be full of a's and b's. I wanted the cash and that enticed me to keep the grades high.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate


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