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Tempted to give up

May 5th, 2010 at 02:06 pm

I'm very tempted to give up at times... convincing myself that you just can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

Then I remind myself the person I'm trying to help is 9... soon to be 10.

Maybe it would just be easier on ME to give up. But there is one resounding difference I see in the success in children vs those that end up on the streets or in jail... and that difference is, even when they gave up on themselves - no one gave up on them.

I've been staying up till 10 pm some night with DD #1 helping her with her math homework, drilling her, coaching her, and struggling. I'm trying so hard and she never seems to get it.

I reiterate how education is SO important in life. And yet, today she forgets her math homework for the umpteenth time in a row.

I want to give up... so badly. When I have three other kids who are engaged in learning and want to learn and this ONE child seems hell bent on trying to get bad grades just because.

She's not dumb... she's not. She took her practice Standard Of Learning tests yesterday and got a 95% in reading and a 50% in math.

Parenting is hard, especially when it feels like the kid you're trying to parent feels completely fine with failing. But I'm not... its my role as a parent to care, to always care, and if I have to drag her kicking and screaming she will graduate high school and I will do everything in my power at that point to say I tried to do everything I could to help her succeed.

I wish I knew what to do, what to say to make this easier on her. I wish she didn't think I was the enemy. She's so moody sometimes. I had a nice conversation with DD #2 about vet school (she wants to go to Cornell, at least right now) and we were talking about goals. I could tell this talk was upsetting DD #1 as she walked ahead of us stomping. But we weren't mentioning DD #1 at all, I was just fostering DD #2's dreams. They all know if they do well in college I'll help pay for as much as I can.

I don't know what to do... some days I feel lost. Days where the night before I spent 3 ours helping her with math homework despite being on pain meds because DH is "horrible at math and can't do fractions himself" (So apparently a mom with a Masters in Accounting and on pain meds is better than a sober dad with an Associates degree teaching 4th grade fractions). Then emailing the teacher asking if there are any tutoring resources at the school.

I'm lost... and I want to give up. And the only thing that keeps me from giving up is that I know once I do give up... that's the fate I leave to my daughter. A fate of hating math & never understanding it... as much as trying may feel like hitting my head against a brick wall, right now its the only thing that gives me hope that DD #1 might succeed later in life.

9 Responses to “Tempted to give up”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Keep trying...if needed get professional help for your daughter, such as Sylvan Learning or other such assistance.

  2. mrs Says:


    You might consider that she has a learning disability. My little guy just finishing up 2nd grade is just catching on to reading. He overcome a phonological impairment, but missed the boat with phonics and the necessary precursor to reading. After academic and psychological testing, his 1Q is 120 and because of the discrepancy in his performance, he was diagnosed with a learning disability. He's in a Catholic school, but has a service plan in place for the next two years and sees a reading specialist.

    My experience was frustration and cluelessness as to why he wasn't learning. You might not be able to teach your daughter in the way that she needs to be taught to learn. And math might not just be her strong suit. I'd definitely build up her confidence on what she *can* do. My son is a perfectionist to boot - so it has been a long haul with him. I've made sure his self-esteem is in tact. Not all of our kids will grow up to be brain surgeons.

  3. rob62521 Says:

    Don't give up...look for different ways to approach it. You are doing a good service to your child!

  4. pjmama Says:

    Yes, dont give up. And if you need to utilize outside resources, then go for it! Like Mrs mentioned, everyone has a different learning style, and you're not a 4th grade teacher or tutor. There's only so much you can do. But you CAN have faith and push your daughter to be the best she can. That's really the best thing you can do for her.

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    I don't know anything about learning disabilities (no experience) but that is also the first thing that came to mind.

    Or, more simply, it's not working so time to try something else. I wouldn't give up either, but agree with getting a tutor or talking to teacher, seeing what resources are available, etc.

  6. Jerry Says:

    A disability is possible, certainly. Or... she might just not like math for some reason, despite having the ability. I had a couple of crappy science teachers early in my school career, and it (dis)colored my academic career until I was well into my college career. Then I had ONE chemistry professor who completely changed my understanding of myself and the sciences (not to mention the course of my life), and now that leads me to medical school. Don't give up. There has to be a way for her to find it interesting and make it "click." Maybe it is a disability, maybe it is residual from a bad teacher, maybe it is a distaste... but you are right not to quit! The only insurance is not to give up, and you are doing the best thing for her. Good luck!
    Jerry

  7. ambitioussaver Says:

    Hi Jerry, I lean more towards the bad math teacher. She seems to like male teachers best and she started having problems last year. Her 2nd grade teacher was a VERY cool surfer guy type and she loved school, but in 3rd and 4th grade they really cracked down on her and she doesn't enjoy it much.

    We have ruled out a disability in the past with her going to a psychologist. In the end, DD#1 is just very set in her ways, what she wants, etc - she's like a cat, if she does not like it, she's not going to do it. Which isn't all too different than what I was like as a kid... I struggled in math and actually FAILED algebra in 9th grade. As in, I would get the test in class, write a straight line down it and pass it back to the teacher

  8. whitestripe Says:

    Is it possible that by focussing on the problem so much, it is making your daughter dread it?

    When you talk to your other daughter about her plans for vet school and college, it is probably an upbeat and inspiring coversation.

    Then to sit down with your oldest daughter to do homework & study, she may feel like 'A Problem' and a failure.

    It could possibly explain why she stomped on ahead during the previous conversation with your other daughter, and no matter how hard you try not to, some of your feelings may possibly project onto her, and it's just a never ending cycle of frustration and loathing toward math. Is there any way you can make it light and rewarding for her?

    Also bear in mind, she's only 10, and has a long way to go before these grades, if at all, really have any bearing on her future. I'm not saying chuck in the towel, because of course if you stop know, it'll be harder to grasp the basics later on when you have more to learn, but remember that for some kids these things take time , especially when they aren't as into it as another subject.

  9. Miclason Says:

    Ugh, I had written a long comment and got disconnected from the internet.
    My daughter struggles as well. It is difficult for me, too, especially since she´s seeing this stuff in English, whereas I studied it in German -- and my native tongue is Spanish!) If she's having a hard time with fractions, try to make it more visual, meybe that´ll help...
    good luck to us!

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