8 Yr Old Daughter Misbehaving.

Updated on April 19, 2008
C.G. asks from Elkton, VA
15 answers

I have a 8 year old daughter that does not want to go to school. She does none of her class work and stopped doing work at home. She was a real good student since she has been in school and now with the end of the year of 2nd grade she is not doing good and back talking not doing things she is told just dont know what is going on and how to handle it.

What can I do next?

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answers from Washington DC on

I taught 2nd grade and dealt with all kinds of behaviors. Whenever I noticed a shift like this (great student, to one who misbehaves/talks back), I normally found it was because of one of two things... either something happened at school that had a big impact on the child, or there was something going on at home, that was affecting the child more than anyone knew.

I am not sure where you are from, but in March 2nd graders took standardized tests, which could have stressed your daughter out. Also, toward the end of the year, things get more difficult to prepare children for 3rd grade.

Perhaps you can discuss this with her teacher and see if he/she knows what might have happened.

The second thing I would do is take a look at your family life and see if there has been any changes to that.

You may want to have a heart to heart talk with her to see if she vocalizes anything.

Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

My 7 1/2 year old (going on 17)daugher is having similar problems. Some nights it takes her 3 to 4 hours just to complete one assignment. She is on a behavior chart at school, she is going to the guidance counselor and I hve her going to a counselor outside of school.
Could there be problems with some of the other girls in her class? I have found that children at this age (especially girls) can be very mean and very influential. My daughter has this one "friend" with whom she is constantly getting in trouble with. I spoke with the counselor at the school and she is going to put them into seperate classes next year.



answers from Dover on

my children aren't old enough to be dealing with this yet but I remember MY phase that I went through when I was 8 years old and doing the same thing. I thought about why I never wanted to go to school or do my work and I realized that 45% of that was I was having trouble with this nasty girl who loved torturing me with "her friendship" and 55% was just pure laziness. now i dealt with the girl for another year before i started standing up for myself and stopped being her "little slave" but the lazy part took a little longer to get over. Everyday the school work was getting harder and I realized that I had 10 more years of mandatory school! To an 8 year old...thats a major bummer! The only thing that got me out of that funk was hanging out with different friends who were cool to chill with but also got good grades without trying. That made me want to do better and my mother was thrilled. She stopped grounding me!! From that moment on I knew I could get ALOT more from her by doing well. hehe... i'm not sure if this helped. I hope you find a solution. take care!



answers from Norfolk on

C., you've gotten alot of great advice. I have a 9 year old son, and we've gone through similar issues the past 2 years. Let me reiterate... 1) Possible bullying. My son has been bullied in 3rd and 4th grade by the same kid. It took him awhile to tell me about it b/c he was embarressed. Once I told him that, I too, was bullied, he really started opening up to me about things like that. Talk you daughter, maybe start out by telling her a story about your experiences in scool and see if she opens up. 2) Maybe the work is too hard/too easy. She could be struggling with the work and doesn't want to tell you b/c she doesn't want to disappoint you or is too embarrassed OR maybe she's bored(the work is not challenging enough). 3) Something going on at home? Unresolved issues from divorce? Does she get along with stepfather? Issues there? 4) Other. First and foremost, talk to your daughter in a non-judgmental way. Try to put yourself in her shoes and empathize with what she is going through. If that doesn't work, try the counselor at school or someone through your private insurance or employee assistance program. FYI-The Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters offers free classes on parenting and discipline. You can get the info. from their website. Also, Dr. Katherine Kersey has written a book on positive discipline techniques that might also help-you can google it. Good luck to you and your family.



answers from Norfolk on

Hi C., to me-- your daughter's change of behavior is like a huge flag, florescent, being waved in everyone's face. Something happened. Whether at home or school.. I would contact her teacher, the school counselor and the principal. Someone needs to be paying attention to her to see whats happening.. maybe its a bullie at lunch time or something. Also, talk with her a lot.. don't try just once.. but I would just go and talk to her about my own experiences as a girl.. who made fun of you, or who you made fun of-- who called you ugly, fat, stupid.. etc etc... so that she can know that this is something that everybody goes thru. Also is there anyone around who could be touching her? or did she go to any friend's house recently where something weird happened. You would be shocked to know what our kids are exposed to.. even from their own friends. But there is something definitely wrong.. this type of overnight change is not normal. My heart feels for you.. God bless your family.




answers from Washington DC on

Have you talked with her teacher? There could be something going on socially at school with her peer group that is making her pull back. You are right to be concerned - any dramatic change in behavior is worth figuring out. I'm a teacher (big surprise!), and usually a change like this has less to do with the school work and more to do with the child's feelings. Is there something worrying her?



answers from Washington DC on

As I was reading your question, warning bells were going off in my head. If this is a big change from previous behaviour, or you notice any other changes along with this, it could have something to do with something traumatic that's happened to her that you are not aware of. She's old enough to start telling you what's bothering her, so you might ask if anything has been done to her or if anyone has hurt her, etc and that no matter who did it or what happened, you won't be angry and (unless you've caught her lying a lot) you'll believe her and be on her side. I'm not saying anything like this HAS happened, but sometimes we can overlook it as a possibility, or think "It could never happen to me..."
I remember that as a child, I was pretty well-behaved, but every so often, I started "bucking" my parents authority. I didn't even know why I was doing it myself and I didn't like it, but couldn't seem to stop myself. As soon as my parents disciplined me (spanking), I felt better. I realized later that I NEEDED them to show me they were in charge (establish their authority). I knew that as a kid, I SHOULDN'T be the one in charge, and I needed to know that someone else who loved me and was looking out for my best interests was in charge. Every person operates better when they know what the rules are and what's expected of them. With some people, that just gives them something to rebel against, but not with most. Anyway, as my mom says, "Everything is a phase". Hope this helps!



answers from Roanoke on

Have you talked with her teacher, the school counselor, etc. to find out what they have said? It can be a bully is making her life miserable. Worth checking into.



answers from Washington DC on


Clearly something has happened and is bothering your daughter. If the guidance counselor is available at school, have him/her talk with her at lunch time and ask them to provide you some feedback. Our school guidance counselor meets with kids for lunches and discussions all the time either in the classroom or in her office. She is great!

Good luck



answers from Washington DC on

I too had the first same thought as many others. She is crying out for help about something. I would definitely talk with her teacher and/or the school guidance counselor to see how you can help your daughter communicate what is bothering her.



answers from Charlottesville on

I am sure that you have talked with your daughter and her teachers about what could be going on in school to cause this change in her attitude about school. If you haven't done this, it is where I would start. Make sure to listen to your daughter and that she knows that she can tell you the truth without getting into trouble and that you are her "safe place" to share her secrets.
Once you find out what happened, do not expect any help from the school in fixing the problem. If you do get help, that is a real plus. My experience is that most schools blame the victim and do nothing to help students already labelled as "problems". If this is the case, please consider other educational options. We did after a similar situation, and are now finishing our 4th year of homeschooling. It has proven to be the solution for our family. My daughter has her confidence back and loves learning again. There are free national, state, and local support groups to help you get started and answer any questions that you have. BTW, I have worked while homeschooling and thanks to a national yahoo!group know a lot of others that do as well.


answers from Allentown on

Hi C.,

I can see that you are overwhelmed by all your responsibilities.

To make things better, institute a family circle, which includes everyone. Everyone is affected by this child's behavior, not just you. You are the facilitator. You state what behaviors you are witnessing and how it makes you feel. Then go around and ask the others how they are feeling about what is going on.

After everyone has spoken,
Ask the child these questions:

1)What happened?
2) What were you thinking of at the time?
3) What have you thought about since?
4) Who has been affected by what you have done? In what way?
What do you think you need to do to make things right?

After the conversation, thank the child for having the courage to share. Each person then says something good about the child. Then hug her/him.

Hope this helps. Good luck. D.



answers from Danville on

My daughter is 15 now, but when she was in the second grade, she did not want to go to school, if she did she was lying to go home. It took a half of the year, before I figured out why she did not want to go. 8 is when alot of kids start picking on other kids, that much I knew. Later I also knew, my child was not the only child not wanting to go to school. The teacher, believe it or not was singling my child and a few others out in class. My baby had to put up with it the rest of the year, because they said it was to late to transfer her to another class. The more I talked to the teacher, the worse it got for her in class. I promised myself that would never happened again, I would pull my child out of that school and put her in another one. Thank God, it hasn't happen again. This might not be your daughter's problem, and hope it isn't. My child still remembers that year. One good thing came out of it, The teacher ended up being fired and left town. Angie L.



answers from Washington DC on

My 8 year old son is doing the same. There are several reasons, and one very important one is that you daughter might be bored in school!!! The tasks on second grade are VERY easy, and she may be ready for more challenging work.

My son is on the 3rd grade in private school, work is very demanding compared to public school, but he still has this refusal thing going on...he gets straight A's.

Other reason for refusing to do the work may be the age. I have discussed with many other parents of a child this age, and they all struggle with the same things, defiance and disobedience.

More reasons may be problems with other kids, disliking the teacher, someone said something to her, that she didn't like, etc.

There is no easy solution until you go thru all the options and ask your daughter what is going on, what is she thinking about this.

What has worked this far with my son is bribery. We tried punishment, but that resulted in not wanting to go to school at all. So, we bribe him with promises of doing something he really likes to do like playing certain computer games, a trip to his favorite store, etc.

Yes, we still do punish him if needed, we are not soft parents.



answers from Grand Rapids on

I don't have a lot to add as you've already got alot of great advice but try getting on her level. Make sure your communication is open and she feels like she can talk to you! My 8 year old is a boy, but My friend has a daughter around the same age, and I was amazed at how cruel little girls can be at such a young age. Also try making learning fun. Plan some activities to help her withe her homework..maybe rewards if she does well. Also have you had her vision tested? My son had trouble with wrting and refused to do it and we found out a few weeks later he needed glasses! I wish you the best!

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