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Mom’s the vice principal…

…and it’s not helping! A letter writer’s mom is causing major problems at school.

Our elder helps her to plan a way forward.

Dear EWC

First you need a little backstory but not too much. I have had a lot of issues in the past with multiple things: anger issues, ADHD, depression and major anxiety. My dad was sometimes around, in jail twice before I turned I think 13. I’m 16 now. My mom is a teacher who taught at the high school and I went to the elementary school. We moved from our original hometown to NYC for four years where my anger issues, anxiety and depression got worse. I got worse in general and I wasn’t in a very good mental state, I’m also kind of those I don’t care, eff of attitude kind of people and it hasn’t really bothered anyone before. I guess you can say i’m an itch with a capital b, to put it nicely.

So over the previous summer, my mom got a new job as a vice principal at the school. We obviously had to move into the school’s district so she didn’t have to drive 30 minutes back and forth every day. So I was going to the same school she was. That was never an issue before, and I didn’t think it was going to turn into an issue but it really did. As I mentioned before I have anger issues and I’m also very sensitive, so when a teenage 14 year old boy told me to suck his d**k, I got defensive. This has happened to me before, actually in 7th grade I was bullied a lot verbally for no reason. I told this 14 year old boy to kill himself. Now before you get mad at me for saying that, I just didn’t know how to handle it in the right way, that’s something I majorly struggle with. This happened about a month ago, since then I was given a higher dose of my medication, which also helped me be mindful and I have been really focusing on myself and my actions a lot in this past month, I’m trying to change myself.

My mom deals with all the discipline and stuff like that so it will obviously cause issues. People find out these kinds of things and just make it worse. Kids say things about my mom, I hear these things and it gets me so upset, because my mom and I are so protective over each other because we’ve only had each other. I’ve contained myself from cursing someone out and beating someone up because I am capable of those things but I know I shouldn’t and I know what the right thing to do is. And then previously there are issues with other people and my mother and I have to set boundaries, I’m not like too upset about this but I could deal with it and that’s totally fine.

What happened today is the big thing. So we had this assembly about anti-bullying, and it was nice and really well put together. At the end, someone asked a question saying, “Does this mean that your daughter will stop telling people to kill themselves?” Everyone was there, basically everyone knows who I am and I just started crying. Obviously, my mom responded in the correct way and continued on. I sat there, and I was just shocked and scared and didn’t know what to do. I haven’t told anyone to kill themselves since that one boy about a month ago and I learned my lesson from that and I’ve watched myself. I was just crying and crying and didn’t really stop because there are just so many things going on and it seems to be an issue for me to be at this school when my mom is the vice principal. So my aunt picks me up from school early, we go out to eat and then when I get home my mom gets home a little later. We start talking. She’s under investigation now because of things she supposedly did.

I met a girl who went to the school I do, before school even started and we started talking and we were like holy crap we go to the same school. So this girl and I started becoming friends and we got like super close. I went to her sweet sixteen party and slept over at her house. I liked her family and I liked her as a person and suddenly she just blocks me out. My mom won’t say exactly but one of the things she’s under investigation for is for forcing a student to be friends with her daughter. Which is not true at all! This girl and I started talking about our shared interests when we met and she suggested we sat together since we had the same lunch period.

The other thing my mom is under investigation for is because of the volleyball coach at my school. I love volleyball, like it’s my life and as a mother my mom is very supportive of me. When I injured myself, my mom made it clear to the coach about what was going on and the coach said I could try out after. Then there was this whole other issue with my gym teacher and I don’t even know. So when my mom was late picking me up from practice she wanted to ask my coach about it and she did. I found out today that my coach said she felt intimidated by my mother and since she’s my coach’s boss basically that my mom had to be under investigation for something that happened in her mom time. I think that’s about it. I’m so so sorry that this is so long, there’s just a lot. Any advice on how to handle this really would be great. Do you think I should transfer, get homeschooled, I could even get out of school for medical reasons due to my anxiety, or really anything? My mom is considering it majorly. Thanks!

Aondreaa replies

I’m going to attempt to respond to your complicated situation without knowing all the people involved. I hear you saying that you have a parental history on your father’s side involving incarceration, that your mother is in the administrative disciplinary lineup at your high school, and that you yourself have behavior issues which are complicating your life at school. At the end of your letter, you propose several options for your future: transfer schools, homeschooling, medical excuse.

Here’s my suggestion, if it can be worked out: transfer. Even assuming that your mom means well and wants to support your needs at school, this is a difficult feat at best when a parent is on the school staff. I was my troubled daughter’s 8th grade teacher, and I remember how difficult it was to see that I treated her the same as other students, even down to reading her essays, etc. I was never sure I was getting a true picture from her other teachers, and I’m sure they felt they were on eggshells around me.

If both you and your mom had your own school space, it might be easier for you to manage your friendships and for her to manage her disciplinary role. Of course, she will worry that you are not confiding in her, and it does sound as though you would benefit from ongoing counseling where you can unburden yourself in a confidential professional relationship.

In order for you to become a successful young woman, you will definitely need to learn to control your violent outbursts. It sounds as though there is some medication involved, and growing self-awareness on your part. I’m sure by now you realize how damaging your aggressive remark may have been to the boy you told to kill himself, no matter what the provocation may have been. The fact that you are able to compose a letter to our organization, taking personal responsibility for your words and physical actions is encouraging, and means that you want to change. That is always a vital step. Recognizing that you need help to carry out changes is also a vital step.

Which brings up back to square one: which would be the best option for you going forward? Again, I think transferring to another school with counseling support would be my vote. The change of semesters would be timely. Hopefully you could play volleyball (self control needed here, too!), and that would be a helpful outlet for your pent-up emotions.

I admire you for facing up to your problems, and have a good feeling for your finding solutions. I’m sure your mom wants the best for you, and it’s extremely difficult to keep hands-off when one has a troubled daughter, as I well know.

I wish you (and your mom!) the very best outcome as you move ahead toward wellness!

Letter #: 431591
Category: School

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