Avatar universal

Daughter pretended to go to college classes and didn't

My daughter who practically had perfect attendance/good grades all through school, is struggling in college. She lives 2 hours away at the University.  What I mean by struggling is, she did fine the first two years, then the whole 3rd year we just found out, she received 0 credits. She would schedule herself for classes every quarter, even ask us for book money for her classes, the eventually drop or just quit going to the classes, resulting in F's  or 0.  Her first two years her grades were good, we saw them. The 3rd year, she always told us everything was going good, her grades were good, we just took her word for it.We  suspected she might not be doing well, since she never actually showed us her grades, but we were going to let her handle it, rather than hover over her, to try and teach her problem solving skills, etc. This summer after she came home, she asked if she could live at the University for the summer, work and take summer classes. Since this is typical for most seniors, we said sure. We asked to see her grades and to make sure she was on track to graduate on time, etc.  In the meantime, we moved her to her new apartment, got new furniture for her, etc. We called her and asked her to let us know about her grades, so she gave us her password to check online to see her grades. Well when we looked, she had 0 credits for the whole junior year. We were so upset, my husband immediately called her and said what is going on??  She said I had a bad year, I was afraid to tell you, I thought I could handle it myself and  I didn't want you to find out, because I promise I will do better now and that won't happen again. And my husband said, of course it won't happen again, if you miss one class, drop one class, or make another F, you are moving back home immediately.
I am so worried about drugs now and all kinds of things. My imagination has gone crazy. Please advise me.  Thank you so much.

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521840 tn?1348840771
   I am sure you are imagining all sorts of terrible things, after all, you have been lied to by your own daughter for a significant period of time. It is no doubt very hurtful and shocking. This is a difficult situation because your daughter is technically an adult (over 18) according to the law. This means that she has a legal right to privacy and does not have to agree to seek psychiatric assessment unless she is a danger to herself or others. I am assuming from your email that she denies suicidal ideation, though you may wish to talk with her and find out if she has been suicidal (and if so, have her evaluated immediately).

  My view is that your daughter has been deceiving you for so long, she is not entitled to function without more parental supervision for a while unless a very specific set of conditions can be agreed upon by all concerned. Of utmost importance is to establish that she is safe and emotionally healthy enough to meet your expectations. If you approach from a punishing or threatening posture, you may miss an opportunity to get her the help she appears to need. Your continuing to support her in her current student lifestyle may need to include a requirement that she seek a psychological or psychiatric evaluation. It will be very important to determine if she has a mental health issue (depression, anxiety), if something has happened to her (such as a sexual assault or substance use) or if she needs to develop better coping skills for transitioning to adult life.

Though you will not be able to attend sessions two hours away, she can grant you permission to exchange information with her psychologist/psychiatrist and can send you copies of her payment receipts. Colleges have mental health or counseling centers, though I recommend that she see a doctoral level professional (they can refer you to someone in the community if the center itself does not have doctoral level staff). If something is seriously wrong, you will need her to meet with a professional who can make an accurate diagnosis.

  I would sit down with her and actually write up a contract in which all of you commit to a plan. You can commit to how you will support her, and she can commit to such things as psychiatric care, giving you passwords to her student accounts, or frequency of contact. You will want to have everything spelled out, and discuss what actually will happen if she chooses not to (or cannot) meet your expectations. You will probably have a difficult time convincing her that it is not in her best interest for you and your husband to just 'lay off' and grant her full autonomy again for quite some time. Talk about what she would need to do to prove to you that she is ready to regain her independence. Given the extent to which she demonstrated poor judgment, you will need to protect her from herself until she gets back on track.

Best Wishes
Rebecca Resnik
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for such a thorough look at my situation. You gave me lots of ideas and things to consider. Actually I have wanted to do some of those things but wondered was I overreacting or being too involved. But I have tried both, being strict, laying off, back and forth, and it seems she is worse when I back off and bury my head. I go back and forth with, should I let her make her own mistakes and learn from them, or try and prevent her from making terrible mistakes by constantly parenting and lecturing her.

I admit I was and am the over protective mother.When I say overprotective, I don't mean she didn't have a life, she is very social, lots and lots of friends, a beautiful bubbly well rounded young lady. I just mean I always watched over her and tried to put her on the right path with lots of love and guidance.  I was thinking, maybe hoping she was just not able to focus on school due to the distraction (by her choice) from her friends. She is in a sorority that keeps her busy and very social. And it would have been understandable and acceptable if she had a few bad grades here and there, but the lieing scares me, and her not going at all, like she wasn't able to or something is what scares me. I try so hard not to try and control every thing she does, I know it's annoying to her and I wear myself out and it's so stressful trying to be so involved in her life, but it's just hard to turn my back to this.   She doesn't share everything with me, and sometimes I feel like I have to pry to get any information out of her. She likes her privacy, and I try and remember I guess it's normal not to tell your  parents everything when you are 20 yr. old, so I try and back off.   Then when I found out she wasn't going to college classes it made me think I should have pried more. But she always made me feel like a nuisance or like I was a worry wart. She even says now, mom I don't tell you anything because you worry too much. So now I try to not lecture her when she comes to me with problems,  so she will be abe to come to me -Use the nonpunishment and nonthreatening posture as you mentioned.  But it's hard not to freak out when you find out she missed 3 quarters of school.
I wanted her to go to college and get in the real world and gain independence and learn to take care of herself.  So I will read your advice over and make sure I do all of those things. The game plan is we get her online password for her grades and always know what she is making at the end of each quarter. So at the end of the summer session, if she has 0's, she is coming home. I will pretty much have no choice at that point to insist she come home. And if she  is going to summer classes and makes good grades, we will let her start again in the Fall with a contract. I have asked her 4 or 5 times to please see the counselors there for support and guidance and she has not. I  was thinking she was embarrassed to tell them what she had done? But I will keep pursuing that with her, especially if she fails again this next grading session.  Thank you so much Rebecca. I can't thank you enough for your time.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi, I'm new here. I'm also a parent having a hard time with my daughter. My daughter is a spoiled brat. At first, I didn't know what to do. But after I discovered that she's into acting, I decided to let her study acting in a film school. She was really interested in watching High school Musical and other television shows regarding acting. So I decided to enroll her to film school. She used to study Architecture but was not really serious about it. That's why I tried asking her what course she really wanted. She told me that she's not interested in studying. So, I asked her why not go into a film school? try modeling, acting or doing movies. She was stunned. So, all i did was to call a film
and enrolled her. She's really doing great right now... She's already participating in public theaters. I thought I could never get a chance to straighten my daughter up. I never thought she could be happier and more serious about herself.
Helpful - 0

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