“Everything Was Easy For You” or “High School Sucks” – Musings from the Parenting Frontline

“Everything was easy for you.” I could hear Clara yelling at her brother.

He blew through AP classes with a smile. It was all fun and easy. His only problem in high school was the fact that he was always in love. Or he wasn’t watching where he was going (because he was looking at a girl.)

Clara said, “I’ve learned NOTHING since fifth grade.”

I look back and see that her Middle School was a bust. History was from the Age of Aquarius. Only a hand full (yes, about five) of kids were allowed to take algebra. That was sooooo wrong.

The school administrators listened to “Montessori experts” and reorganized the 8th grade like 6th grade. There was more or less no science, no useful math, a bit of English that was worth something, and not much else. By the time the 30 graduation kids graduated they were so sick of each other they could hardly stand it.

Yes, I loved the smaller K-8 Montessori Charter School, but in hindsight it sucked. No I would not have home schooled (I’m the parent, my child needs real trained teachers who are experts), and I would not have sent my kid to the local Middle School (mixed reviews.) Had I known I would have sent her to one of the expensive private schools – maybe.

But I sent her to a school that was safe, but the last two years the administrators were assholes and wouldn’t let the kids grow. Yes, I’m pissed off but there is NOTHING I can do about it now.

That said, life is like that. My child is brilliant so it is time to suck it up.

She gets pissed so pissed off with the feeling that half the kids in the AP classes are ahead of her. But half are below her – a fact that doesn’t matter.

The idea that people are smart in different ways came out of our conversations. The students who memorize without original thought are like the butter that comes to the top. The rest of the kids are just fed to the tigers.

But no, I say. You have to take the challenge, buck it up, deal with it, study hard, talk to your teachers after school, LET YOUR PARENTS HELP, and just do it.

By LET YOUR PARENTS HELP I mean letting them look over work and make suggestions. That is make suggestions without any eye rolling, sarcastic remarks, horrified looks, or invitations to go away. And never tell your parents that they don’t understand. They understand all too well.

By helping that means that you don’t do the work for your kid. You help, like a teacher or a study partner.

I asked Clara about forming a study with two other friends who are in one of her AP classes. She said, “I’d be studying with two kids who are as clueless as I am. We wouldn’t learn anything.”

This too shall pass. Last year she complained like this and ended up with a 3.8 GPA.

There is so much stress on teens due to the looming COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE rates. They fill up on statistics about acceptance rates and the spaces being purchased by wealthy foreign students. They are stressed to the max. Yes, they are learning valuable lessons, such as life isn’t fair no matter how hard you work, but that isn’t what I think they should be learning.

They should be learning to have passion for knowledge. They should be learning how to think. They should be learning how to have discussions. They should be discovering. Yes DISCOVERING.

This is only the first week of school so it will get better. Maybe not better, but at least more comfortable. Maybe not comfortable, but it will be fine.

The child got ALL of the classes she wanted with ALL of the teachers she wanted. They are damn good teachers too. They are the kind of teachers every high school student should have.

So what can a parent do? Just listen. Listen to the rants and raves. Don’t discount feelings that your teens have. Give them hugs. Know what is going on. Help them. If they turn away, gently turn them back. Talk to them and with them (not AT them.)

Yes, it is hard being a parent sometimes. And don’t beat yourself up. If you have a smart frustrated kid that is ok. You know you have done your best. At least your kid cares.

And not all kids have that three million word vocabulary, or can do Algebra in pre-school, or are accepted into every Ivy League College and UC.

Anyway, the sun is up and the cats want to go outside so I’m done.

Like Scarlett said, “tomorrow is another day.”

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (who will have more Vampire and cat and other amusing stuff later – but this IS a parenting blog.)

7 thoughts on ““Everything Was Easy For You” or “High School Sucks” – Musings from the Parenting Frontline

  1. I like your post enormously, Juliette. Of course I am completely missing the connection and experience not having kids myself. But you seem to be the Mom I would always wanted to have.

  2. I sure wish I could help my daughter with algebra, but the new common core method is out of my league! There is only one tutor in my town at Sylvan Learning Center that even knows how to teach it. We were lucky that the teacher was also my daughter’s former dance coach, so we got a discount. Now I did (and will) help with my daughter’s AP History course when she starts up again in September. I spent many a nights with her helping her study for her tests. Great post!

  3. And as one high school counselor told me, she reminds those kids who come crying to her office because the brilliant kid has it so easy and how they WISHED they were that brilliant kid, “You don’t want to be anyone else because everyone has their own set of problems.” And then she reminds them about all the weird stuff that poor brilliant kid has to put up with (because they all know each other’s personal demons).

    • That is what Teddy said. “Those kids you think are so much so much smarter are just as worried as you are.”

      And I told her just because they know a lot of big words doesn’t mean anything… remember, back when we were young, a certain boy with the initials PT. He isn’t running for president.

      The frustrations have passed and all is good… we’ll see how the chemistry and AP history tests go today. I think better than the child thinks.

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