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I’m Depressed and My Parents Won’t Help

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From a teen in Jordan: My parents are humanitarian workers, so we travel to developing countries around the world. We moved to Jordan last week, and because the English speaking schools are too expensive, my parents put me in a French high school. In my old school, I was a hard working straight A student, and I took my grades very seriously. However, being in this school completely destroyed me. Being a non-fluent French speaker, I couldn’t understand any of the classes and would always get a 50% grade.

I would cry to my parents begging them to put me in an English speaking school, but they told me to give it a chance and so I did. I started my second year in this French high school (11th grade), and my feelings still haven’t changed. I hate this school with passion. It frustrates me, it stresses me, it depresses me. I take twice the time on my work than anyone else because I have to translate everything and research to understand the subject and still get 60% while everyone else ju st reads over the lesson and gets 80%. I work every day for hours with no visible improvement on my grades and it’s very discouraging. I have important upcoming projects and exams in which I want to do well.

My education is important to me. I’ve tried talking to my parents about it so many times but all they would tell me is “It’s fine. It will get better over time”, but I don’t have any time. Exams start in a few months. I’m wasting all of my efforts. I know I can do so well in school. I know I have so much potential. But it just feels like it’s all wasted because I’m not learning anything.

The other day my mother screamed at me at the table, saying “Well what do you want us to do? Change the country? Maybe you should just go live in the US with your real father”, and that cut me real deep. I’m being completely destroyed by this school and all my parents can say is basically “deal with it”.

I’m Depressed and My Parents Won’t Help

Answered by on -

A.

 I suspect this is a matter of perspective. Your parents are dealing every day with desperate situations. From their point of view, you have opportunities that other people can only dream about. They may be missing that, for you, your situation is indeed as painful and as worthy of respect as the situations of the people they are trying to help.

You’ve tried explaining and complaining. It hasn’t worked. Your other option is to find alternatives for yourself and present them to your parents as practical suggestions. No, in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to do this. But you’ve already tried turning to them for help and it hasn’t worked. So let’s try a few other things:

First, consider that learning French is an opportunity, not an obstacle. If you are worried about college admissions in the future, be assured that admissions officers do take into consideration unique situations like your own. Clearly, your past record demonstrates that you are a good student. The fact that you are even able to achieve at a 50% level in a language you are just beginning to understand is remarkable. You could decide to relax your focus on grades and to keep at it with the idea that your challenge this year is to become as fluent in this new language as you can. Someone as intelligent as you are will figure out a way to catch up on whatever you miss academically.

Do talk to the school counselor if there is one or a trusted teacher about your situation. See if there is a way you can get some tutoring in both French and the subjects you feel you are missing. See if there is any possibility for help transferring to an English language school. There might be scholarships available that your parents don’t know about.

You didn’t mention why living for a time with your father would be a bad idea. It might be a reasonable solution.

Consider transferring to a boarding school in America. Many of the private schools in the U.S. are attended by a large number of international students. Many are as challenged by English as you are by French so the schools have provisions for English as a second language (ESL) student. You would be an asset to a class because you would be able to empathize with how difficult it is to perform in a new language. Again, there may be scholarships.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I’m Depressed and My Parents Won’t Help

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I’m Depressed and My Parents Won’t Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 15, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/12/14/im-depressed-and-my-parents-wont-help/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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