DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: I’m a single father and my daughter is (or was) a well-adjusted sophomore. Now, she refuses to go to school. When I insist, she locks herself in her room and cries.
I’m at a loss and must get to work myself. She says “the girls” (her friends) hate her, which seems ridiculous.
They are such nice girls. I think she has blown something out of proportion. How do I talk sense into her? We are going on day three. I did call the school and they aren’t aware of problems.
— Frustrated Dad near Auburn
Ashley, 25, Auburn: Girls don’t fight like guys, where they throw a couple punches and it’s over. No, girls go behind your back, hold grudges (for years), turn friends against each other — all in an amazingly sneaky way. If she’s saying her friends hate her, listen, because something is real there.
You both need a solution to get her back to school. This could blow over, or it could be bigger than you think.
Transferring schools should be an option. Your daughter needs a safe, unbullied environment in order to learn.
See if she’ll talk with a counselor.
Brie, 22, San Francisco: Girls can be cruel. I hated high school after my girlfriends turned against me and spread false rumors. I considered switching schools, but realized I was better than them. (Someday I’ll go see what they did with their lives.) To your daughter: You can get through this. It’s okay to be friends with the “nerds” (the cool kids’ future bosses). High school goes by quickly, and in college, “mean girls” are gone. I’m glad I rose above them instead of falling down with them.
Moriah, 17, Rutland, Vt.: Talk to her!
If you open the conversation non-assumingly, we are usually willing. Let her know you don’t understand how she’s feeling — and want to. There is nothing we hate more than parents pretending to understand when they don’t.