My youngest daughter, AG, is having a hard time with…well…pretty much life in general. She has always been an anxious type of person, and the closer she gets to her teenage years the worse things seem to be getting. Several months ago I took her to a counselor to see if we could figure out what to do with her and for her. The counselor was an older lady approved by our insurance. We didn’t know anyone who had gone to her, but from the things I had read she was good. I knew from almost the moment we met her that she wasn’t going to work out. She was older, and she acted older. That would be a problem. She seemed easily distracted, and by the end of the first session she was reversing my child’s name. Despite my concerns we made a 2nd appointment. We showed up for the 2nd appointment, but she never did. She never called, and we never went back.
This year AG started junior high. Excited doesn’t even begin to express how she felt about it. It was all she could talk about. Changing classes, lockers, and the general freedom she would have was all I heard about for weeks. School started and by day 3 AG hated school for several reasons.
Reason 1 – They were given 5 minutes between classes, and were allowed to go to their lockers at the beginning of the day, before 4th period, and before 8th period. Even during locker times they were only given 5 minutes which according to AG wasn’t enough time to get to her locker and make it to class on time. AG decided that since she didn’t have enough time she would just carry all her stuff with her the whole day. They aren’t allowed to carry backpacks so we bought her a huge binder that zipped shut to help. Poor child carried her lunch to all her classes as well.
Reason 2 – AG didn’t have any friends in any of her classes. I found this hard to believe. I knew that several elementary schools filtered into the junior high, but on 6th grade orientation night she saw several people she knew in her classes. Apparently just knowing them doesn’t make them her friends. Lunch was assigned seats for 6th grade, and AG sat between 2 boys. One spit when he talked, and the other kept touching her food despite her asking him not to. After much encouragement she finally told the teacher about the kid touching her food, and he was moved. I encouraged her to talk to the other kids and make friends. She said she didn’t know how to make friends and wasn’t good at it. I thought about it and realized that she hadn’t really ever had to make friends before. She did when we first moved to the states, but in 2 years she had only made one really good friend and a couple of kind-of friends. Living in Turkey her friends were automatic. For work purposes we teamed up with other Americans, and they had kids her age. Automatic friends. They went to her school and her church. The community was small and the friends were like family.
(I’m hitting publish and calling this part one. I wrote it a week ago and haven’t had time to get back to it. I plan to try to write part 2 today, but it seems that I rarely have time for writing these days so it may be a few days before I can finish my thoughts.)