My 8 year old does not seem to learn unless she has been punished for something Multiple times is it to much to ask for a 8 yr old to reason and understand at least the first 2 time she has been told to or not to do something? Is it " Normal" for a eight year old to really not get it when you are getting on to them?

asked 02 Jan '10, 23:22

Mary's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

edited 02 Jan '10, 23:45

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

IMHO, it's totally normal for them not to get it the first time. (Full disclosure: I'm over 40, and sometimes my wife has to tell me things several times before I get it.)

It's also totally reasonable for you to expect her to pay more attention and start doing things the first time, more frequently. Though without further explanation from you giving examples of what you are asking, it's hard to tell if you are making age-appropriate requests or not.

I think there are things you can do to enhance your ability to get stuff done. Consider the following:

  • Are you making those requests when you have her full attention, or are you asking her to do things when she is engrossed in a book, game, or other activity and she literally does not register what you're saying?

  • Do you make a hundred requests for little things and she can't tell what's really important? Maybe it's perfectly reasonable for some of the requests to be forgotten, or for her not to be able to discern which are important. Or do you ask mainly for the things that you really care about -- in which case it's more reasonable to expect them all to be done.

  • Do you explain WHY these various things are requested, as you would expect from somebody asking you to do things? Or do you just say "do it because I said so" (which in any smart kid will just result in rebellion)? I think eight years is more than old enough to expect the "why" as well as the "what".

  • Are the consequences of not doing it (a) reasonable, (b) consistent, and (c) as immediate as possible?

  • If the things you are asking are at all regular (chores and the like), maybe it would be kind to help her remember by having a checklist or a chart, rather than expecting her to keep it all in her head. I can't remember what I'm supposed to do every day without a list.

  • Are you modeling the behavior you want to see in her? Do you keep on top of your to-do items and approach them in an organized way, or does she see you procrastinate? Do you absolutely avoid the things you're "not supposed to do", or does she see you sometimes "bend the rules?" (Do you speed? Park in the red zone for just a few minutes? Forget to pick up the dog doo?) When she wants your attention (in reasonable doses), do you give her the undivided attention you expect from her, or do you sometimes tune her out or forget things she's asked of you? (We all do these things, it doesn't make you a bad parent. I'm just trying to calibrate your expectations of her to not expect her to be even more organized, prompt, and rule-following than the adults around her.)


answered 03 Jan '10, 05:06

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

edited 03 Jan '10, 17:23

+1 for a great answer that I think covers many important points!

(03 Jan '10, 17:34) Emi

I don't think it is too much to ask that they understand at least some of what you do or do not want them to do. Maybe she won't understand everything, especially if the consequence is delayed. But she should know that if you have told not to do something, that is reason enough not to do it.


answered 02 Jan '10, 23:39

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 02 Jan '10, 23:22

Seen: 3,045 times

Last updated: 03 Jan '10, 17:23