replied 8 years ago.
Hello again, and thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions so thoroughly.
It's possible that your daughter has felt conflicted for a while, about the family dynamics, her 'standing' in the family, what she wants to study, and what she wants to do with her life; she may have lost confidence in herself and in the decisions she's been making.
If you were divorced when she was a pre-teen or young adolescent, this may have taken a negative toll on her, emotionally, which is not uncommon, and not having a good relationship with her step-dad adds to her unhappiness at home and possibly, being angry with you. Being in a new situation where she's away from home, completely independent, and unsure of herself, may be causing her to feel depressed. If she was a good student throughout High School, and now her grades declined at the end of her second semester in college, she may feel the world is crashing in around her, and she doesn't know what to do to make it better.
The counseling was a good idea, when she first started exhibiting these behavioral symptoms, but it doesn't sound like it was effective. This may be due to her being 'resistant' to the help, the counselor may not have been a good match for her, and I would not give up on the help you can get from another counselor who is perhaps more experienced with teens with similar behavior.
If your daughter is unhappy with her life and possibly suffering from depression, it would be helpful to have her evaluated and diagnosed by a medical doctor and a psychologist/psychiatrist, and medication may be recommended, if needed. I prefer to suggest medication as a last resort, but sometimes, chemical imbalances in the brain can cause these unhappy feelings and behaviors in your daughter, and the right medication can correct the situation, and help her feel happier.
This does not sound like a 'phase' she's going through, if it started when she was a Junior in H.S. and has only worsened. While you do have your happy times with her, which is great, I know, as a mother, you wish she would be happy and communicative more of the time.
Perhaps, now that she's home from school, you can take advantage of the time to have her see another counselor and make some inroads into the causes behind her actions and feelings, so she can work on getting past them.
You did what you had to, re: revoking privileges with her phone and email, but tell her clearly what she can do to earn them back; try working on one thing at a time, like cleaning her room and maintaining it's neatness. Help her clean out her closet, drawers, etc., donate wearable clothing and accessories to charities and throw out anything you can't donate.
Even though she's not a 'baby', if constant reminding (nicely) and following behind her, gets the job done, continue to do this. Hopefully, she'll eventually realize she likes a clean, uncluttered room better than a messy one. However, interestingly enough, if her mind and/or emotions are feeling 'cluttered', maybe that's why she prefers her room in disarray.
As far as not wanting to return to college in the Fall, will they allow her to return, or is she on academic probation, considering her low GPA? She may benefit from a year or a semester off, with time to work, make some money, and/or attend the local community college, and 're-group'; however, make sure she will go back to school after this time off, if that's what you both decide would be best for her. What are her other alternatives? Can she go to the local college or community college and not lose any credits? Do you think she would do better in school if she lived at home? She did well in H.S. even though she didn't seem happy with the family situation.
There is a lot to consider, I know you're in a difficult situation, and I do empathize with you, as a mom, but I'd start with a physical exam and routine blood work by her doctor to make sure there are no underlying medical problems, and then interview some therapists/counselors and choose the one you feel could best help her.
I hope things improve for you and your daughter, soon.
Cher and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you