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Mourning my DD's choice to go to public HS
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amother




Lawngreen


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:59 pm
My DD absolutely refuses to consider going to the Jewish high schools in our area. There aren't many but still she refuses. If we force her, she will make life miserable and hate it anyway. What's worse, she says she is "not going to do anything Jewish" when she is older. She says she has no clothes for when she is to go to high school and I told her she would wear her usual clothes. She says, "no. kids will make fun of me", yet she won't step out of the house in anything that is hugging or shows any shape because she is so self conscious. She is so worried about what other kids will think of her. I can't imagine her going to a public school. I just can't see her functioning well. I'm sad she feels this way. She hates her current Jewish school and can't wait to leave. I wish it would be just an easy fix to just pick up and move to a place that has a school she would want to go to. Unfortunately, I think any Jewish school is out of the question in her mind. I'm upset about her attitude but I don't think being openly upset is going to help. I know I need to show that I don't judge her so I don't push her away, but I am having a hard time.
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amother




Copper


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:21 pm
I don't know, I think maybe it's a good thing to openly upset. Going to public high school is a big deal and will affect her life. Why does she get to choose if she is still your dependent?
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Amalia




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:24 pm
amother wrote:
My DD absolutely refuses to consider going to the Jewish high schools in our area. There aren't many but still she refuses. If we force her, she will make life miserable and hate it anyway. What's worse, she says she is "not going to do anything Jewish" when she is older. She says she has no clothes for when she is to go to high school and I told her she would wear her usual clothes. She says, "no. kids will make fun of me", yet she won't step out of the house in anything that is hugging or shows any shape because she is so self conscious. She is so worried about what other kids will think of her. I can't imagine her going to a public school. I just can't see her functioning well. I'm sad she feels this way. She hates her current Jewish school and can't wait to leave. I wish it would be just an easy fix to just pick up and move to a place that has a school she would want to go to. Unfortunately, I think any Jewish school is out of the question in her mind. I'm upset about her attitude but I don't think being openly upset is going to help. I know I need to show that I don't judge her so I don't push her away, but I am having a hard time.


This jumped out at me: it does not sound like a frumkeit issue at all.
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thanks




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:31 pm
Have you considered a Jewish school with a dorm? Maybe there's a school she would agree to go to.
(Sorry, this doesn't answer your question. Just bringing this up since a Jewish hs is so important,and maybe there's a scholarship that's a good fit.)
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ectomorph




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:31 pm
Why not homeschool. You can pm me. I have experience in this area.
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SixOfWands




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:31 pm
amother wrote:
I don't know, I think maybe it's a good thing to openly upset. Going to public high school is a big deal and will affect her life. Why does she get to choose if she is still your dependent?


Because given the circumstances, she is doing what she thinks is best for her daughter, even if she's personally upset and disappointed.

OP, leave the door open for her. Let her know that you're giving her the freedom to try public school, but that she can go back to a Jewish school whenever she wants. Forcing is rarely effective, and more usually counterproductive.

Try to find ways for her to connect to Judaism on her own terms. Maybe by participating in a Jewish youth organization if there's one in your area. Or a Jewish camp with girls who she might connect with more than she does the ones at her current school.

Hatzlacha.
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amother




White


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:33 pm
What awful thing happened to her in a Jewish school that makes here adamant that she does not want to go? Also how come she thinks public school is an option that is not the usual thought process of an elementary school student?
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cm




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:48 pm
Public HS grad here...Perhaps reframing this transition in a positive way in your mind will help you to be able to help her. Ask her what she is looking forward to about public school, and be excited with her (Soccer team - wow! Model UN - awesome!) even if you do not share her priorities. If she's not sure what to expect, look over the course catalog and activities together. Obviously, from your post, this isn't what you had in mind for her. However, depending on where you live, public school may offer secular opportunities far beyond those of most yeshiva high schools. Try to think about this transition in terms of the benefits for your daughter rather than the losses.

As for what to wear, let her look around and see what the other kids are wearing. Since she doesn't want to wear tight clothing, it is unlikely that she will choose anything too inappropriate. It's understandable that she is feeling unsure of herself, and her insecurity may be compounded by whatever difficulties she has had plus just being a teenager. She wants to fit in, but it might take a few tries in a new school.

Her taking a different path (which might only be temporary) does not reflect on your parenting. Of course you are feeling upended by this situation, but try to focus on your child's need for a loving, supportive family.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:48 pm
OP, I'm assuming she is 14 years old? This is not a decision that she gets to make herself. It seems to me that the issue is deeper than school and you should first address that. Maybe she would benefit from going away from home for high school. There are special high schools that deal with these situations. Rather keep her home then sending her to public school. Please speak to an experienced therapist, parenting, or chinch expert before you let your DD manipulate your life.
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flowerpower




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:59 pm
Sounds like a good out of town school with a dorm may be something to look into. Call someone that’s in the field for guidance in this areA. Some have good resources and ideas. Good luck!!!
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southernbubby




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:05 pm
Some communities have small charter schools or independent private schools that may be less of a cultural challenge due to the small size. If a Jewish school really won't work, I have seen people use various options to avoid large, impersonal public schools where parents lose all control.
I know some people who are frum today or at least frum enough to put their own kids in Jewish school, who went to public school for high school, sometimes due to rebellion and sometimes due to other factors.
There are some public schools with significant numbers of Jews and maybe there are even Jewish student groups.
None of this takes the place of a Jewish education but you can at least choose the best of the worst.
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tigerwife




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:15 pm
SixOfWands wrote:
Because given the circumstances, she is doing what she thinks is best for her daughter, even if she's personally upset and disappointed.

.


Actually, OP said she doesn’t see her daughter functioning well in public school. It sounds like she has simply resigned from fighting with her daughter about this topic.

OP, is your daughter open to therapy for her body issues and insecurity? Perhaps she will also open up about whatever event happened that traumatized her from going to “Jewish” schools (as opposed to school in general).
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chestnut




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:30 pm
This doesn't sound to me like a kid who's fed up with frumkeit and would switch to a public school tomorrow, if allowed. Although we have very little info to go on.
Something definitely happened that turned her off of the Jewish schools (yiddishkeit?). For some reason, though, she seems to be anxious about a public school (just cause it's something unknown and scary sounding? cause it's big? cause it's in a less than desirable neighborhood? cause she'll be an outsider? cause her level of academics is lower? cause wants to have on shabbos?) .
She also seems to have a body image issues (not wanting to wear tight clothing - unless it's for tznius reasons? Though I doubt).
My 2 cents: depending on what the underlying issues are, try making a deal with her. She'll try ONE Jewish boarding school for X number of months. If she hates it, she'll switch to a public school.
Meanwhile, you'll research all schools super carefully and will try to find the one which you think will fit her best.
Good luck!!!
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naomi2




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:49 pm
We are definitely not getting the whole story here. Or even enough information to give advice.
Is it at all usual in your community for a child to attend bais yakov for elementary school and attend the local ps for high school?
What is your relationship like with this child? Has she undergone a trauma? What does her father have to say? Are there any other siblings in this school near her age? What does her teachers/principals have to say? How is she doing socially? Academically? Is she extremely overweight? What are you and your husband's parenting style? Does she have any other symptoms of a body image disorder? Has she given you any other information regarding her reason to switch? She mentioned not keeping anything when she gets older, how about now, does she keep the mitzvos now? Does she hope to gain anything from public school or is she just trying to get away from bais yaakov?
OP, obviously you don't have to give us any answers but these questions might help you clarify for yourself how you want to move forward to help your daughter make good choices.


Last edited by naomi2 on Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Brunette


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:50 pm
Was curious if her current Yeshivah is to the right and “spys” on the students when they are not in school?? My own children once went to a school like that and one got thrown out bec she was caught Sat night in the Pizza store with a group of girls and boys. This daughter is now in her 30s and is walking a thin line between orthodox and conservative. The modern orthodox coed Yeshivahs dont do this and I have noticed that many students who go are motivated and on their own become more frum. Many now in their 30s cover their hair! Again there are many who do very well in a Bais Yaacov type of school. Was wondering if your daughter went to a modern coed type of school, if she would be ok with it? Just a thought
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urban gypsy




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 9:10 pm
Amalia wrote:
This jumped out at me: it does not sound like a frumkeit issue at all.


Completely agree. Has your daughter shared why she wants to go to public school? Not wanting to go to Jewish school doesn’t seem like enough of a reason. If you allow her to do online courses, for example, would she still want to go to public school? She sounds way too shy.
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amother




Blush


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 9:50 pm
I agree with the other posters. Having been abused as a child, I also didn't wear anything hugging or form fitting, even though I wasn't frum. Extreme self-consciousness can be a very big indicator of abuse. Honestly, I think you need to take care of her emotional health and make sure she feels safe before even addressing schooling.
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amother




Lawngreen


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:00 pm
OP here.

There are many facets and factors that have created this problem. To answer some questions, yes she has anxiety and body image issues. Her modesty is not from frumkeit. With puberty, her anxiety has really gone to a whole new level and has fueled the body image issues even though she appears to be quite the normal, healthy girl. She is in psychotherapy and on medication. Which is why she can't go to a boarding school.

And unfortunately, we live in a small OOT community and some kids do choose public HS. Her current school is not a BY school so there is probably a wider mix of observance levels within an Orthodox continuum. She has friends who have gone to public HS and some who have gone on to a Jewish HS. She has current classmates who will do both.

There is a relatively large Jewish population of kids in the public HS but that doesn't matter to me because most aren't frum. She likes academics and dislikes disorderly classrooms which is what she has been in from Day 1. The older she gets the more she is irritated with classroom antics and disrespect and is tired of the same handful of kids with their personalities and quirks (not that she doesn't have any). She wants to be a "normal American kid" but I don't think she will be able to handle the drama of a public HS (I've been there). She thinks she wants to be secular. She is a perfectionist. But she is very hard on herself and expects that everyone else is even harder on her so she fears judgement (like most teenagers).

Unfortunately, like many frum families with multiple kids, life is very hectic. And perhaps with two working parents, we haven't handled things as well as we could have. Perhaps we have done a little too much of going through the motions to get through the next Shabbos or next long yontiv. So she sees that. And she has been taught by the same teachers in limudei kodesh year after year and they are human. They have a lot to manage and for some, teaching is probably not their first choice of career in life. Fallibility when it comes to people and frumkeit is just another indictment from her when it comes to reasons to live or leave a frum life.

I may be wrong on this but from conversations and comments from her, she picks up on the differences between Jews (Chassidush, yeshivish, Charedi, etc) and because of those differences, this creates insecurity. Everyone has their right way. She has learned to question the truth of the Torah because she sees discrepancies in how people interpret the Torah and nobody can explain those differences well enough to her or she sees people not living up to the standard that she was told or thought that religious Jews should live up to.

Additionally, I think she is at a stage in which she is wanting to assert her independence but also the anxiety is getting the best of her. She is fragile in my mind and I think if we make the wrong parenting decision, things could go the wrong way and have long lasting consequences. It could back fire and we could be push her away even more from yiddishkeit. Unfortunately, making the decision on HS is approaching and it is a finite date. And so many unresolved issues.

I would love to talk to an expert in this area if there is one available?

I don't expect that an online forum is going to solve my problem. I'm looking for ideas and maybe a "been there, done that" success story or two.
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amother




Chocolate


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:04 pm
Are you happy with her current therapist?

Does your public HS do tours for incoming students? If so, I think it would be very eye opening for her to take a tour and see what it looks like. Right now it sounds like she's working off an idealized image of public HS, but the reality may be very different. She needs to experience that before she can make an informed decision.
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Cheiny




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:11 pm
amother wrote:
My DD absolutely refuses to consider going to the Jewish high schools in our area. There aren't many but still she refuses. If we force her, she will make life miserable and hate it anyway. What's worse, she says she is "not going to do anything Jewish" when she is older. She says she has no clothes for when she is to go to high school and I told her she would wear her usual clothes. She says, "no. kids will make fun of me", yet she won't step out of the house in anything that is hugging or shows any shape because she is so self conscious. She is so worried about what other kids will think of her. I can't imagine her going to a public school. I just can't see her functioning well. I'm sad she feels this way. She hates her current Jewish school and can't wait to leave. I wish it would be just an easy fix to just pick up and move to a place that has a school she would want to go to. Unfortunately, I think any Jewish school is out of the question in her mind. I'm upset about her attitude but I don't think being openly upset is going to help. I know I need to show that I don't judge her so I don't push her away, but I am having a hard time.


How old is she? Assuming she’s a young teen going into h.s. (14?) Im not understanding how you’re going along with her making a life altering, very bad choice. She’s still young enough for her parents not to be giving her free reign to make this decision on her own. I had a friend who allowed her daughter to go to public h.s. after being in Yeshiva for all of elementary school and she ended up getting pregnant by a (non Jewish) boy in her school...not to scare you, but this decision could mean the difference between a healthy future and a very dangerous one,,,,
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