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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, 10:20 pm
Cheiny wrote:
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,,,,


Well, first of all, she has had the idea for several months. We have not just let her make the decision. We have had many discussions and also many arguments. And we already live with her and her professed misery of going to her current school. She does not let us forget that.
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notshanarishona




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:21 pm
She is too young to be making any type of life decisions now, just because now she is not interested in frumkeit doesn't have to stay that way. Personally I wouldn't give a 14 year old an option of choosing a school. If after a year or two she is still miserable then I would reconsider.
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amother




Lawngreen


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:25 pm
amother wrote:
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.


We have switched therapists. I think there are a lot of not so great ones out there. I would go so far as to say most. She has had some progress, some with the help of meds and I think some has to be with growth and maturity. It doesn't happen overnight.

The proposed HS does have tours. I have no doubt she has idealized what pubic HS would be like. But getting one day of it I don't think will shatter the image in her head.
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amother




Mustard


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:37 pm
Is she seeing a frum therapist? If not, the therapist may be encouraging the move to public school.
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Cheiny




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:37 pm
amother wrote:
Well, first of all, she has had the idea for several months. We have not just let her make the decision. We have had many discussions and also many arguments. And we already live with her and her professed misery of going to her current school. She does not let us forget that.


But she’s still the young minor and you and dh are the adults who should be making the sensible choice for her....
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amother




Chocolate


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:39 pm
amother wrote:
We have switched therapists. I think there are a lot of not so great ones out there. I would go so far as to say most. She has had some progress, some with the help of meds and I think some has to be with growth and maturity. It doesn't happen overnight.

The proposed HS does have tours. I have no doubt she has idealized what pubic HS would be like. But getting one day of it I don't think will shatter the image in her head.


Maybe not, but I think it's a good start and can only benefit her no matter what the ultimate decision will be.

Regarding the therapist, if HS is not already an ongoing topic of conversation in therapy, I would bring it up to the therapist asap and ask her to address it.
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nylon




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 10:53 pm
I am going to dissent. If she's dead set against a Jewish school I think forcing her to go to one will backfire and turn her against Judaism even more.

Socially it's hard to predict with public school. the cultures can vary a lot. I don't approve of scare stories about teen pregnancy. That's not likely to happen.

It does sound like your daughter has some additional issues, though. I hesitate to diagnose from afar, but have issues beyond anxiety been considered--maybe autism spectrum? It can present in girls this way.

Are there any smaller private schools near you, not necessarily Jewish? She might do well in that kind of setting. but it also depends on what level of support and what style of class the local public HS has. (A 3000 student high school with classes of 35 is very different form a school of 1100 where classes are regularly in the low 20s.)
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amother




Navy


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 11:09 pm
We are going through this with my DD. Also a community with many choices of Jewish hs. She actually had been asking in 8th grade to go to public and we said no. She is a freshman and hated her first semester. I spoke with her school at length, they told us to take her to See the public school, so she could see it for herself, and also to show her that we hear her and aren't marginalizing her feelings. We did, she actually loved it more. In the end her school worked with her to make some changes in her schedule. Made a couple of Jewish studies classes that were stressful as a pass fail Instead of grades because they felt it was most important that she stay in a Jewish environment and they can always add in those classes another year. Switched a couple of teachers that she felt weren't "getting" her. I can't say she over the roof happy, but is handling things much better. She still talks about switching for next year, but I am hoping she will be happy enough to stay put. I don't know if that's helpful, but I wish you luck. It's very stressful.
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 11:15 pm
Hugs, OP. You mentioned that you both work. Is there any way you can homeschool your daughter? It sounds like she would benefit from some personalized attention and time to explore on her own terms.
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anon for this




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 11:23 pm
OP, if you do enroll your daughter in public school, maybe you should consider getting her evaluated by the child study team to determine if she qualifies for services or accommodations due to her anxiety or any other issues.
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WhatFor




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 11:25 pm
amother wrote:
Well, first of all, she has had the idea for several months. We have not just let her make the decision. We have had many discussions and also many arguments. And we already live with her and her professed misery of going to her current school. She does not let us forget that.


OP, I just wanted to commend you on how you're handling this. It sounds like you and DH are doing a great job addressing her needs, despite the fact that you had different hopes for her.

Of course you're right to make her part of the decision-making process. She's 14, not 7. Forcing a 14 year old to spend the majority of her day in an environment she's adamantly opposed to is almost certain to be detrimental to everyone involved. And it makes me sad to see so many recommend sending a 14yo away from home to a dorm rather than stay with her family and go to PS, especially given her anxiety.

Your daughter sounds like a special teen. She wants someplace with more structure, she wants to do well and succeed. She doesn't want to get into trouble. She's dealing with anxiety but still trying to do her best. Is she willing to do some after-school religious classes if she goes to PS?
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amother




Lawngreen


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 11:44 pm
amother wrote:
Is she seeing a frum therapist? If not, the therapist may be encouraging the move to public school.


No, she is not seeing a frum therapist. I wish she were but we don't live in a major metropolitan area so don't have that luxury.

That is one of the difficulties. The issue never really gets fully addressed because they want to respect us as parents and don't want to alienate her. There is no way the non-frum therapist has any inkling about how huge of an issue this is for us, even when we tell them. They just can't identify.
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 12:52 am
amother wrote:
No, she is not seeing a frum therapist. I wish she were but we don't live in a major metropolitan area so don't have that luxury.

That is one of the difficulties. The issue never really gets fully addressed because they want to respect us as parents and don't want to alienate her. There is no way the non-frum therapist has any inkling about how huge of an issue this is for us, even when we tell them. They just can't identify.

We saw a frum therapist and even she said that your main goal as a parent should be a happy, healthy child. We agreed and switched our child to a school which wasn’t as aligned with our hashkafos but our child thrived there. The yeshiva he was in was knocking him down. I am so happy with our decision.
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chestnut




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 12:56 am
Those saying a 14 y old shouldn't decide where she's going to for HS - do you also just push your 8th grader into the HS YOU think will be better for him/her?! There's absolutely nothing to gain here by putting your foot forward as a parent. The only way to deal with this situation is to talk and discuss a lot, NOT saying "You are going where I decide!"
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chestnut




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 12:58 am
OP - can she spend a full day in the public school, sit in on all classes and be there during all recesses? Instead of taking a guided tour, which won't give her much in terms of what's going on between kids.
Is it a good school? Big/small?
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amother




Salmon


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 2:06 am
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.


Support your DD’s choice. Show her that you are wiling to go along with this even though you disagree with her decision. Make it clear that while she is under your roof, she must observe Shabbos and Kashrus at home and those rules are non-negotiable. If her new Public School friends invite her somewhere over Shabbos, she can’t go. See if you can work with the school to get in Kosher meals and if not, make sure she takes in a Kosher packed lunch with no money for meals.

It is possible to stay frum in a Public School. Sometimes people enjoy being the minority and it brings out their Yiddishkeit more. In your DD’s situation, sending her to a school that you will like will almost certainly mean this will not easily happen.

And most importantly, if she does continue to want to leave Judaism, make sure your DD knows you will still be her mother who loves her regardless of her lifestyle choice. The important message is you support her and love her.
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finallyamommy




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 4:15 am
Is it an option to switch to a frum therapist who can do Skype sessions?
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amother




Gray


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 4:36 am
You sound like great parents.

I would say that if she ends up at the Public school, you should have a Plan B in place, so that she has the mental space to know that she can change her mind. (What's also positive is that there are other Jewish kids there).

You might find that being out of the religious box strengthens her Jewish identity - you never know!
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amother




Blue


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 7:36 am
I went to a public high school (I had one non religious parent who insisted I try it for a year, long story) stayed frum, no one I knew got pregnant, and I enjoyed the classes that weren't available in the jewish hs. But after a year, I switched back to the Jewish hs. I missed the smaller, religious environment. Let your daughter try the public hs. She might find that she prefers a Jewish school. Or she'll prefer the public school, but still might stay frum, and be a happier person.
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southernbubby




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 8:46 am
I used to sub in the local public high school and one boy liked telling me that he put tefillin on before coming to school.
At the same time, there will be students who expose your daughter to the seamier side of life and who openly publicize behavior that would shock most of us.
In a large school, there usually are a few teen mothers as well as students who are wearing ankle monitors because they are on home/school incarceration.
Drugs can also be an issue as well as staff members who are open about lifestyle choices such as same gender marriage or out of wedlock babies.
I am mentioning these negative variables because your daughter will need to be prepared that she is leaving a sheltered environment and entering one with fewer protections.
She will have to know how to prevent being sucked into a non-frum outlook which may be very pervasive in a large public school with thousands of students.
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