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Need some balletco support


dramascientist
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Had a message from DD today, she is feeling very depressed after returning to school after half term. We suddenly find out she has not been eating, struggling with class and getting more and more depressed and getting into a horrible downward spiral. DH off to the UK on Saturday to bring her home to see if we can sort it out, feeling completely distraught! Why did we let her go so far away!

 

Help!

Dramascientist

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Poor you....In my experience the time after the 1st half term is often the most difficult. Is it homesickness that's getting her down or is there something else ? Would she not be able to hang on until Christmas to see if she feels better ? Have you spoken to the school ? x

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I am so sorry to hear this.

I am afraid I don't have any practical suggestions, but I do hope you manage to sort things out.

Don't be too hard on yourself. I think its natural that loving parents blame themselves if their children hit a rough patch but sometimes stuff just happens and is often no one's fault really. When things look bad it is only human nature that we assume that if we had taken a different route things would have been fine, but there isn't really any guarantee of that. The only thing you can know for sure is that if you had made a different decision, things would have been different - but not necessarily better, and not necessarily worse.

I know its easier said than done, but try to focus on working towards improving the situation and be kind to yourself as well as your DD.

I hope things look better soon.

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Oh what a shame! I feel for you Dranascientist and your poor dd. Hope that you can get this sorted As soon as possible. Hard enough when they are in the same country but to be so far away must be very hard on you all. I agree with Ellie that this half term is the worst. The initial excitement has worn off, it's a long time till the next break and the relentless nature of the training really hits home now. I wish you luck sorting this out quickly.

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Oh no :-( That must be very worrying for you. I assume you've spoken to the school - what have they said? Don't blame yourself - if you'd not 'let her go so far away' she'd have been upset too and you'd be full of regrets. I hope things improve soon xx

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I'm sorry to hear this. I don't want to throw a spanner in the works but would it be better for your DH to stay in the UK with your DD for a few days rather than bring her home? I'm thinking that it might have been spending time at home that has brought about this crisis (I'm assuming that your DD was happy before half term and that this problem is of recent origin).

 

I don't know where you live but here in the UK the clocks have gone forward with the result that it is now fully dark, in London at least, by 5pm. This does have an effect on the general mood as there is very little daylight left after the school day is over and children have returned home from school (and none after most people's working day has finished). I hope that you get to the bottom of what is troubling your DD and can resolve it swiftly.

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Sorry to hear your dd is feeling so low, a worrying time for you. Aileen makes a very good point about the clock changes, day light hours and mood.

 

Have you discussed with her teachers how she is feeling at the moment and how she is coping in class? Her perception of how she is doing may vary wildly from theirs especially if she is being hard on herself at the moment.

 

Hope you can sort this quickly for all your sakes.

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My suggestion is to bring your daughter home to really listen to her. Listen to her and then allow her to recover in her home with her loving family. When she is ready then perhaps draw up an action plan based on what your daughter wants to do, eg to continue where she is or attend a school at home etc. by doing it this way will enable your daughter to be in control of her situation. Don't be so hard on yourself as you have provided your daughter of a opportunity to fulfill her dream. She may still want to Persue her dream but perhaps she wants to be closer to home? Which school is she at by the way? Big hugs sent, it's awful when your child is feeling so low.

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I hope she feels better soon. You mentioned you didn't think she was eating properly, this can have a huge impact on how she might be feeling. Proteins and healthy fats are very important for the brain functions (speaking from experience!) PM me if you want some more details but I know a few things that might help as a start. A lot of people suffer the same sort of thing at university, once the reality of living alone hits after the novelty wears of it can get tough.

Edited by munchkin16
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Distance probably isn't the problem, like Aileen says it's probably coming home that's made her homesick. One 11year old from our studio went away to the Hammond her parents visited every Tuesday and bought her home every weekend, she barely made it to Christmas before she came home permanently. Each child is different, nothing can prepare child or parent for the tolls of vocational school. Stay strong!

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I'm sorry to hear this. I don't want to throw a spanner in the works but would it be better for your DH to stay in the UK with your DD for a few days rather than bring her home? I'm thinking that it might have been spending time at home that has brought about this crisis (I'm assuming that your DD was happy before half term and that this problem is of recent origin).

 

I don't know where you live but here in the UK the clocks have gone forward with the result that it is now fully dark, in London at least, by 5pm. This does have an effect on the general mood as there is very little daylight left after the school day is over and children have returned home from school (and none after most people's working day has finished). I hope that you get to the bottom of what is troubling your DD and can resolve it swiftly.

I think this is a really good point to raise...I always feel dreadful straight after the clocks go back & sense a lack of interest in doing things from my kids too...this mujst come through when they are at voc school too...If you come from a part of the world without this extreme daylight reduction it could be affecting your DD & if a new sensation, could manifest in thinking .other things are bad. The eating issue is of course one to really keep abreast of - good luck.

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Distance probably isn't the problem, like Aileen says it's probably coming home that's made her homesick. One 11year old from our studio went away to the Hammond her parents visited every Tuesday and bought her home every weekend, she barely made it to Christmas before she came home permanently. Each child is different, nothing can prepare child or parent for the tolls of vocational school. Stay strong!

Are you saying by this that the no doubt well meaning regular visits from family & trips home made it harder to settle for that DC? From personal experience, I think this is likely - it also makes it harder for those who live very far from home (or even overseas) who cannot have these visits & go home. Cruel comments don't help. AT DC's school last year one particularly insensitive child (who went home every w/e & who was taken out for supper midweek every week also....why board????) said to my very young DC "well your parent's can't love you very much or they would visit you too" My blood boils just remembering the trauma we had over the phone from that one.....When I asked what my DC responded I am proud to say they stayed strong & truthful "My parents love me very much - that's why I am here. & I love them very much too & know that it costs them a lot of money for me to be here so they can not spend anymore to make extra visits" This does not mean of course that it didn't affect them inwardly which was then no doubt reflected in behaviour & settling in.....In my experience (now of 2 voc boarding schools) I think the less contact home the better & I think it would actually help all the kids & rest of their family members if visits were restricted to the expected exeats/term ends & when shows/events are on. Maybe sounds harsh, but less is really more - the time allows better settling in without being reminded maybe of what they are missing which can make them confused about what they want & where they want to be.

Good luck to all Dancing Families!!

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I'm sorry to hear this. I don't want to throw a spanner in the works but would it be better for your DH to stay in the UK with your DD for a few days rather than bring her home? I'm thinking that it might have been spending time at home that has brought about this crisis (I'm assuming that your DD was happy before half term and that this problem is of recent origin).

 

This sounds as though it might make sense - depending on your circumstances, of course.  I'm having flashbacks of how it was when we all went off to uni - the first few weeks were great, but then a slump set in there as well.  Mind you, we didn't have half-terms then, so had to tough it out for the whole term.  Actually, I seem to remember my roomie going home for a weekend and then coming back all upset ...

 

I hope you manage to get this all sorted out in due course.  Plus perhaps DH could have a word with the teachers - see if *they* think she's struggling, and whether they can help?  They will probably have seen the same sort of thing lots of times over the years.

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I think that at most 'normal' boarding schools (at least the ones which don't take day pupils) parents can't visit freely and children can't go home except at exeat weekends, unless there are special circumstances. I feel that it must be unsettling for children when other children are going home every weekend and / or having mid-week visits on a regular basis. I believe that at some schools contact other than by letter is, or at least used to be, restricted during the first few weeks whilst new children are / were settling in. It sounds harsh but I think that too much contact often makes the homesickness worse.

 

Alison, at university 30+ years ago it was generally believed that if you started going home at weekends the first few weeks of term you would find it very difficult to settle at university. It was felt that you just had to tough it out. However, we were all at least 18 years old, which is not the case for vocational students starting a new school.

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I remember watching one TV programme about boarding school where the staff member in charge of welfare was saying that she wished parents understood it was easier for the kids if the parents gave them some space early on and let them adjust to being away (so parents visiting every week and having their children home every weekend were often not doing the children any favours). But they were following several children in the programme, and for some the homesickness didn't set in straight away but really did hit after the first time the child went home for a weekend or half term.

 

Hopefully your DD has someone at school looking out for her welfare, although it sounds a bit worrisome that she's not been eating and apparently nobody noticed.

 

I hope you'll be able to sort it out one way or another and she'll be able to continue to pursue her dream somehow. Going off to boarding school in the same country is stressful enough; it must be orders of magnitude worse when you're in different countries and time zones.

Edited by Melody
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So sorry to hear about your DD being so down and low. I hope you're able to get through to speak to someone at the school before Saturday. I agree with the comments about the change in the amount of daylight although it should not be so dramatic where she is so far north. It occurs to me that Swan Princess might be at the same school I wonder if she could offer her some support and advice. all the best in this upsetting situation .

Edited by Billyelliott
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Oh no I'm so sorry that your DD is struggling :( was she feeling upset just on one particular day, or has it been an ongoing issue? The reason I ask is because sometimes we as DC away from home can worry our dancing parents endlessly with upset phone calls, because in the moment everything seems awful- when the next day all is fine again! Obviously I'm not disregarding your dd's struggling at all, I completely get how she's feeling- admittedly, I was so homesick during the first half term that I did consider not going back after the break... I've found that rather than thinking "6 weeks to Christmas break feels like forever!" It's better to think "6 weeks until Christmas break- what do I want to achieve by then?!" Being very focussed helps to ward off homesickness it seems- having plenty of stuff to do always works! I think it's difficult to adjust to a new school, new teachers, new teaching styles and new friends, which is why the first term or so is so hard- but hopefully it will get easier as time goes on!

Anyway I do feel for your poor DD- and you as a parent, it must be so difficult. It can be distressing when the reality doesn't live up to the childhood dream of going to ballet school.... I hope you manage to get DD sorted and happy again xxx

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Dear All,

Thank you for your comments and support. We spoke with her at length and we thrashed out the possibilities. She said she would like to come home to talk face to face, and to be honest I would like to see her to give her a hug and to be able to look for solutions. She assures us she loves it and desperately wants to dance but cannot seem to get out of the downward spiral. I think the second year is much more stress than the first year and due to building work at the school the timetable is skewed meaning they are sometimes finishing quite late. DH will meet with the teachers on Saturday when he gets there to see what they say. I know sometimes coming home can actually make things worse but we feel we would like to break the not eating trend and feel she needs support for this. It has never been a problem for her before, she has always been so sensible about diet, its such a shock.

 

Ok losing it, I will have to stop writing and think of something else,

Thanks again everyone

Dramascientist

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Sounds very worrying and distressing for you. When my DS suffered a real trauma at school and basically hid in his room and didn't eat or drink for 36 hours I told him I would come and collect him immediately. He said afterwards he was so shocked and concerned that I would disrupt my life to jump on an international flight it made him determined to pull himself out of his misery. I am not saying this to suggest there is a parallel with your DD (all children have different circumstances and characters) only that I do understand your anxiety. But we found that having a regular and frequent Skype 'check in' calls really helped in the first few traumatic days and then weeks- to the extent that I would call on a fairly regular basis to make sure he had eaten....

I agree with others that the UK climate can be a real shock (especially if your daughter is in London, as the weather there is particularly grey). And also remember that your DD will reserve all her misery and anxiety to offload on you as a way of 'handing it over' (which then may enable her to let go of it). I remember my younger brother did a university  exchange year in Berkeley and spent the entire year calling my Mum to say how miserable he was, no friends, hated all of it etc.Yet now he describes it as the best year of his degree, and has zillions of photos of himself with friends, at a parties etc. Similarly my DD offloads all her traumas and anxieties on me in one hit around every 6-12months (usually starting at 11pm when I am at my most exhausted). I then get up next day feeling a wreck and like my daughter is a socially ostracised and generally despised human being, and she blithely trots off to school quite happy. Its taken me years to realise this is her way of expressing her deepest fears in order to be able to let them go.

Anyway, not saying this to downplay your daughters unhappiness but, perhaps if she is already saying she wants to stay at school, just the ability to thrash it out with you and express her worries may be enough to give her the strength to carry on... Maybe she was brewing this in the holidays, didn't say it and then the shock of getting back to school with all those worries still festering is what's really brought her down...

Good luck and best wishes with it all x

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Dramascientist I have been in your shoes to some extent.

Dd had a blip same time last year , nothing wrong with college just very down , this was her 2nd year .... I spoke to her landlady who assured me she had great friends , college loved her etc .

It came out of nowhere . She had previously been at Hammond for 5 years and it transpires amongst amother things , that it was there and the support of the boarding house that she was missing .

I strongly advise you utilise the pastoral care of the college , they are used to dealing with these situations . They will allow your daughter a break with a view to returning at a set date .

I'm sorry to say my daughter never returned to college .

I wish you and your dd well x

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So sorry to hear that your DD is struggling. I tend to agree with others that if she is not eating properly, all her problems are likely to seem magnified to her. Please do not blame yourself for letting her go so far away though - you allowed her to follow her dreams - you just need to remember that dreams can change. Second year is tougher than first year and the third year is harder again and I think every student has a sticking point of self doubt and being very down on themselves at some point. DDs best friend at vocational school is from overseas (other side of the world) and she goes through huge periods of self doubt after her visits home. This year in particular I think she was not really settled until October half term - tears on a daily basis which is very unlike her. I hope all your DD needs is to have the love and support of her family around her while she talks everything through. I suspect knowing she is going to get that opportunity is already the first step out of or has paused the 'downwards spiral'. Good luck, thinking of you all

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Dramascientist I have been in your shoes to some extent.

Dd had a blip same time last year , nothing wrong with college just very down , this was her 2nd year .... I spoke to her landlady who assured me she had great friends , college loved her etc .

It came out of nowhere . She had previously been at Hammond for 5 years and it transpires amongst amother things , that it was there and the support of the boarding house that she was missing .

I strongly advise you utilise the pastoral care of the college , they are used to dealing with these situations . They will allow your daughter a break with a view to returning at a set date .

I'm sorry to say my daughter never returned to college .

I wish you and your dd well x

Hairbelles,I am so sorry to hear your DD gave up. Has she given up dancing altogether?

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I really feel for you Dramascientist - my dd suffered badly at Vocational school.  I wanted to pull her out but she was determined to stay and see it through.  Even years later we agree to differ (amicably) on what would have been best.  She says she wouldn't have got onto the degree course she loved if she hadn't stayed, but I think she might well have got there via other routes.

 

But even then, we tried to avoid "if onlys" - and our mantra is, we made the best decision we could with the information we had at the time.  A strong loving family is the best thing for any young person, so I agree a time at home to put things in perspective and talk it all through is best.  

 

On the question of the change of clocks - people have been talking about London, but of course the further north you go the less daylight there is - you get up in the dark and it gets dark before you have finished working for the day if you are in Scotland.   

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