My Gifted Teen Is Failing Classes And Won't Accept Help
(Ft Lauderdale, FL)
How can my husband and I get our 16 year old daughter to be open to help? She has been in the gifted program at school since 3rd grade. Because of that, her circle of friends are mostly gifted, overachievers. She has been struggling to keep up with her heavy course load. She is currently taking 3 AP classes and 4 honors classes. Her GPA is weak, and doesn't reflect the level of difficulty and effort she has put into these courses.
She was diagnosed with ADHD, subtype inattentive about 6 years ago. We tried medication, which she said didn't help. We also tried 4 different therapists, with no result. I began to think I was making things worse by stigmatizing her, so we dropped the medication and therapy.
She struggled through middle school, with most of her problems lying with missing homework, late assignments, etc. Her teacher's comments were that she was definitely a gifted child, and did well on exams.
She is sweet and pleasant, never misbehaved. She is shy to the point where she won't approach a teacher for help or to challenge a grade. In this regard, she flies under the radar of most teachers. That is, the teachers didn't notice that she was struggling.
I've had many conferences with teachers, guidance counselors and administrators. I'm my daughters biggest advocate.
Once in high school, the cycle continued. My daughter is very resistant to accountability. My husband and I have tried to get her to take less challenging courses. She insists on being on the gifted track, because of her social circle and because of her own self worth.
I'm afraid if we force the issue and make her drop the gifted program it would be a huge blow to her self esteem. Because she is such an introvert, I'm also concerned that it would precipitate other issues, such as depression, etc.
She had an awakening moment late this summer, where she asked us to revisit the medication and therapy issue. I researched and found a very qualified psychiatrist who specializes in adolescent therapy. My daughter connected with her initially. But after 3 months, has decided that she doesn't need therapy, and only wants medication management.
She is now a junior, and this is a critical year in preparing for college applications. If she doesn't figure out how to break this pattern, her college options will be very limited. She won't accept help from anyone, including parents, teachers, sister, friends. She is digging in her heels and insisting that she can handle it on her own.
How do I get her to open up and accept help? How do I help her to be less rigid with her point of view? Should I force the issue of changing her classes and risk the emotional repercussions?