17 answers

8 Year Old Not Listening

Hi, I have an 8 year old boy who for about the past year has been having difficulty following though on directions and keeping focused. For example, at 7:30pm my kids know they have to get pj`s on and clothes ready for the next morning and in bed by 8 for him and his little sister (my 12 year old goes to bed later). Every night I have to tell my 8 year old son over and over to do this. He gets distracted and does something else. This happens when he is supposed to be doing his homework too, he doesnt seem to focus on getting something done in a timely matter,even when we set a timer. I am so tired of repeating myself and I usually get pretty frustrated and after a while I will start raising my voice, which of course doesnt do a darn thing (I guess I need a mans voice, lol). My older son never went through this and knews what we expect from him....any suggestions.
Thanks in advance! N.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi N.:
I am going through the same thing!! Though it is frustrating I am glad to know I am not the only mom who thinks I am losing my mind repeating EVERY single thing. I have asked my son that if he wants to be treated like a 8 yr old its time he needs to listen otherwise there will be consequences. I have also reminded him that he cannot negotiate or argue...I think at this age they try to push and assert how far they can go getting their way. You can even help by charting down stuff for him to do at what time..and remind him to look at his chart..for example changing into PJ's around 7:30 so on and so forth should help...right? I think helping you address the same situation I am in has helped me too. Good luck! Remember this is just a phase....this too shall pass.
Pia.C

Sounds more like he's testing you mommy. Tell him 1 time and that his playtime will be cut down everytime he doesn't listen. Kids need to do things "when you tell them" not when they want or you'll be heading for bigger problems when they hit the teen years. Happy Mothers Day

More Answers

Well first off you need to remember all your children will be different. Maybe he thinks if he stalls, that will allow him to stay up later. Like his older brother. Maybe you can try a reward for that night. Start with very small rewards. I use to set something out as a prize I knew my son would want, but a small reward. Then I would tell him my job to do and his job to do. We would race to see who finished first. Wow he won most of the time. He loved beating my time. I won sometimes, I had to keep him honest. Then my older son wanted in on the action we had a lot of fun and laughs when it was over, we would talk about how ,I was this close. My older son played well and let his brother catch up if he was falling behind. Have fun with it good luck. Then when the game gets a little old check mark the winner each day and work on a reward for Friday night.

1 mom found this helpful

OOOOOO--have you been spying on bedtime at our house? It sounds the same! Here's a couple of things that have helped us with our 7 and 5 year old...now mind you, I do think things like this only work for a time and sometimes need to be changed up. First, we used a cute "Time for Bed" chart. I went to DLTK and searched chore charts and then made my own. On the list of chores we have put on pj's, night time snack, pick up living room, pick up family room, brush teeth, wash face, drink, use bathroom, stay in bed, be happy (for when they get all whiney). If they get a certain number of checks per week for completeing their tssks they can rent a video on Friday. We cut them some slack and don't require ALL things done every night. Also, our routine starts sooner than yours---we start them at about 7:00 or 7:15 for 7:50 story time. The next trick I've found is if they are watching tv we have them complete or work on a specific task during the commercials or the tv goes off. Never thought that would work but it is surprisingly effective. If they are watching a movie, I have "commercial breaks" that I put in about every 12 minutes. The timer was kind of a nightmare for us. Our kids would goof off until the timer rang and then start crying that they weren't done; or if we said when the timer rings you get 2 more minutes they would mess around and then run around like lunatics for 2 minutes and still end up crying.
The commercial chore thing seems to work because the kids can focus for a short time on one small task. The chart worked because it breaks everything down into little easy to handle tasks (and they like to get videos out). You will of course need to find something your kid likes to make this work--maybe an extra 10 minutes a day of computer or whatever he enjoys. I really think telling our girls to "get ready for bed--make sure you do this this and this" is too much at once---by breaking it down into small tasks they can stay focused and be successful.
We still find we need to "prod" our kids at times--but I find that's usually when we're not using a "helping techniques" . Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

N.,

I have a three year old son that I have been working on with listening. When he is lolly gaggling around I let him know that he is going to miss out on playing with his friends, watching tV, or having a sotry read to him. These activities vary depending on the time. Then I make sure to follow through. That is the most difficult part for me but I make sure I do what I say. I have also noticed since having a second child who is 9 months I have to start getting us all ready at least an hour before I go anywhere. That means I have to be completely ready to fo go an hour before I get my kids ready. Then we are able to make it our the door on time. It is crazy how much time everything takes with two children under the age of four.

Maybe set up some rewards for him for when he does follow thorugh and get something done in a timely manner. Better yet make the things he is already doing after he completes a task privledges for completing a task in a timley manner.

I hope my thoughts help some. I am sure you may have already thought of this but this is what came to my mind when thinking of my son who has a difficult time following directions. Every child is so different.

I also raise my voice out of frustration and recently began telling my son that is once, twice and if I get to three he goes to time out for not listening and doing what he should be doing. This has been very helpful as I am finding I don't raise my voice as much. He is usually pretty responsive as he doesn't want time out.

Take Care,
M.

Sounds more like he's testing you mommy. Tell him 1 time and that his playtime will be cut down everytime he doesn't listen. Kids need to do things "when you tell them" not when they want or you'll be heading for bigger problems when they hit the teen years. Happy Mothers Day

Hello,
It sounds as tho your child is in control of you instead of vice-versa. As long as there are no consequences, it will con't to get worse. Your husband needs to be at your side in all of this. Together you stand, or divided you fall. Has there been a change in your household? He seems to be greatly distracted and otherwise focused. Parenting is not for cowards! Your child needs you to set boundaries, and wants them , believe it or not. Love and kind words cover a multitude of sins! Best of everything to you,stay strong!!!!
Prayerfully, J.

Does he have the same trouble at school? If so, at home, make eye contact and use 3 to 5 words to tell him what you want him to do - keep it simple and direct - then have him repeat what he heard. If this doesn't work, then see your doctor to check for allergies &/or hearing problems. Sometimes, fluid in the ear will distort what a child hears and you need to find the root cause. If none of this works, you might be dealing with ADHD in which case it will be noticed in school too. Hope this helps.

Every part of this sound like possible dyslexia. Try www.dyslexia.com and order from Overstock.com the books, The Gift of Dyslexia and/or The Gift of Learning, both by Ronal D. Davis. You only need to read the front parts and not the procedures. This may sound like magic but I have personally seen these methods work for over 7 people and the system of explanation is very clear and simple to understand. If you want to talk I am at ###-###-####. Most people do not know the new understanding that dyslexia affects hearing, listening, and behavior equally with reading. Good Luck.

Maybe he has ADHD. Did you have him tested?
And I don't believe in drugs either.

I saw a neat trick that a parent used the other day with teenagers when they were at the Botanic Gardens. She could not get them to listen, so she touched them on the shoulders, said, "look at me" while pointing to each of their eyes and then to her eyes.

It must be something that she uses all the time and boy did it work!

And I don't believe in hitting, punishing, threatening to take away privileges. That gets old. I believe in raising your children so that they learn skills that will serve them as adults. So that brings me to the best solution of all...

I have recommended this program all over this site because it is excellent. Get the DVD set where the whole family engages in learning together. I raised my children on it who now have their own children and it works. http://www.gordontraining.com/store/index.php?category_id=2
This is a long-term solution.

M.
www.super-science-fair-projects.com

I don't pretend to be an expert on this issue. I know that dealing with discipline is way easier said than done. I struggle with it every day with my daughter.

But I do spend about 5 hours a day with a class full of 8 year olds. So here are some thoughts: At this point your son has learned that it is okay to ignore your requests. Any plan you decide on now needs to be followed meticulously. I know that sometimes it's easier and less painful for both of you to just ask him over and over, but if you continue to do that, he will continue the behavior (not to mention try to get away with it around his teachers as well). I suggest a system of rewards and consequences. You may want to sit down with him and tell him, "I've been doing a lot of thinking about this issue. You seem to be ignoring me when I ask you to do something. It hurts my feelings and it makes things really frustrating for everyone. It's not okay to ignore me or any adult who is speaking to you, so I have a new plan. From now on every time you ignore me when I ask you to do something, I am going to take away a toy (video games, tv time, playing outside time) for the day (or afternoon, or morning). But, when you do listen, I am going to give you more (whatever you pick). I'm going to be very serious about this and it is my top priority to follow through on this every day. Do you have any questions?"
You also may want to let him pick the rewards and consequences (which are usually far more severe than you'd pick). I also think it's really important to be clear about why this is important to you. And why it is important for him. I see a lot of my students having a really hard time with listening or following directions. It's a real struggle for them and it's sad for me too! If you could spare him that experience at school (and at home), I think you are giving everyone a wonderful gift.

Good luck!

Rachel

Having trouble focusing? Not listening to you and is easily distracted? Sounds like ADD to me. This is what was going on at my house with my 9 year old son. It was observed at school too. After 2 years of talking with the school, observations and visits to the doctor, we finally had to put him on meds and what an incredible turn around. I'm not a fan of meds, but it had to be done. Before I was getting phone calls from the teacher 3 or more times a week, and just this week I got a call from his teacher saying what a great 6 weeks he's been having.

I recommend you read this book. It gave me great insight on what was going on, and how to handle my ADD kid.
http://www.jeffreyfreed.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Right-Brained-Children-Left-Brained...
This book is an eye opener on what's been going on with my son. There's no more yelling and repeating myself.

Hi N.:
I am going through the same thing!! Though it is frustrating I am glad to know I am not the only mom who thinks I am losing my mind repeating EVERY single thing. I have asked my son that if he wants to be treated like a 8 yr old its time he needs to listen otherwise there will be consequences. I have also reminded him that he cannot negotiate or argue...I think at this age they try to push and assert how far they can go getting their way. You can even help by charting down stuff for him to do at what time..and remind him to look at his chart..for example changing into PJ's around 7:30 so on and so forth should help...right? I think helping you address the same situation I am in has helped me too. Good luck! Remember this is just a phase....this too shall pass.
Pia.C

Oh boy!! I am relieved to read all these entries as I was feeling isolated and losing my mind(and patience). My son is 7 1/2 and does the exact same thing. He says, "I forgot" alot to get out of doing the task at hand. I have had to reiterate some things about 6 times before he will even move to do anything. I remain calm up to a certain point then I run out of patience. Unfortunately, he waits until I get to the boiling point before he makes a move to do the task and then says I am a mean Mom because I yell at him. I've tried charts, rewards, ets...doesn't seem to work. Seems like his behavior worsens after he spends time with his Nana. He comes home expecting the same royal treatment...

Hello N.,
I am mother of 4 kids 11, 10, toddler and infant. Anyhow, my 10 year old was the same way and had him tested at the pediatrician, for ADD and he has it, so now on meds and everything is MUCH better.
I don't know what else it could be but you may want to talk to your pediatrcian.
Good Luck

Does he suffer consequences when he doesn't do what he's been told? If he doesn't suffer any consequences, then he will continue. My oldest being a people pleaser typically does what she's told when she's told to do it. Her younger sister on the other hand has other things in mind everytime you ask her to do anything. She's three now and it is only getting worse. So we have started telling her one time and then she suffers consequences. I will remind her that she's only going to be told once and that she needs to get it done.

Some days she only needs one reminder, but other days she ends up in time-out more than a few times. She's head strong and I've found that it isn't so much that she gets distracted, but that she's just got a mind of her own and doesn't want to do what she's told to do.

I will also add that if she pops out with a no or just ignores me, then she will get a swat on her bottom for defiance.

For me it is a battle of wills. In church our preacher reminds us that as a parent we have to break their will at times, but not their spirit. So there is a line. They have to understand that you are the parent and they have to listen to you because you know what is best and you tell them to do things because you love them and want what is best. I often tell my kids that though they frustrate me at times, I always love them. Nothing could ever change the fact that I love them.

First of all, stop comparing him to his older brother; I can see already that that isn't working for you just by the way you're praising your older son. I have four boys and EACH and EVERYONE OF THEM have their unique personalities and styles.

Why not make a game out of it? I bought posterboard and and made columns for each day of the week. I bought a whole lot of stickers from stars to shapes to superheroes. I would set a value; for example, for 1-10 stars, he would get a 'treat' within a certain price range. The more stars, the higher the value. I would either go to the dollar store or dollar general. I might even make it Chuck E Cheez or out for ice cream. My son is now 11 and has gotten "into the habit" of doing what he was supposed to. What is great is that because he's older, he doesn't want any rewards; he says that's for litle kids or babies. Get where I'm going with this? :-)

My son had this problem when he was about 7 or 8. I did and/or thought the whole "why can't you/he be more like Kenneth" but that was just not fair to him or his brother because it made him resentful of his brother and he would just do MORE to be 'different' from his brother, which wasn't a bad thing BUT, it was all negative.

I hope this helps and good luck to you and your family with this.

P.S. Also, the timer thing is just putting too much pressure on him; make a game of it instead. Act like you're going to do it woth him; "Let's see who can put their PJs on quicker; you or me?" And make the reward something like stay up an extra half hour on the weekend instead, or you he gets to pick the movie the family will watch together.

I have more 'reward' ideas if you'd like to hear them; send me a message.

My oldest is 4, so I'm hesitant to respond, but my thought when reading the above is that some non-punitive consequences might be helpful. Is there anything your 8 yr old really enjoys doing (for example, a favorite tv show, or riding his bike)? If you explain that he must get his PJ's on, layout his clothes, and get in bed by 8, and if he doesn't, then no tv/bike, whatever the motivator is, then you've given the problem over to him, and you can let go of your frustration, and let him learn to be responsible. If he screws up, he pays the consequences. No yelling, no punishment, just bad result. My guess is that if you choose an appropriate consequence, he'll learn pretty quickly to get his stuff done. GOod luck.

First remember that every child is different. Just because they're in the same family doesn't mean they will act the same.

Then, let's look at when this happens. Is there a particular time of the day when this is more pronounced? If so, consider his eating habits and energy levels.

When did this start? Could it be related to the end of the school year? Sometimes when we have a lot to do, it's harder to focus. In that case, you'll want to help your son with time management issues such as: Do the most important thing first; Divide the work into smaller chunks.

If none of these questions about timing ring true for you then ask yourself if he only has trouble focusing on chores or does he also have trouble focusing on playtime activities. If it's chores, then again time management strategies will help but you'll want to add in strategies for your son to reward himself for completing the chores. This can be as simple as letting him choose a quiet playtime activity that he can do in bed if he gets ready early. Let him choose the reward.

If your son has trouble focusing even when playing, then you'll want to adopt some of the ADD strategies.

Good luck!

C.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.