15 answers

My Daughter Needs More Attention than We Can Give...

I love my daughter to no end...Maybe that's the problem?! She is 11 years old and doesn't seem to get the concept of entertaining herself or being content sitting quietly. She talks non-stop...I think sometimes just to hear her own voice. We've timed her before and she can talk non-stop about nothing for 47 minutes!
She interupts at the most inappropriate times AND usually, it has nothing to do with what we're talking about. Here's a great example: Her Dad and I were talking about work stuff and in the middle of my husband talking, she blurts out something about skinning her leg while ice skating. Literally, he was in the middle of a sentence!!!
She's grounded from TV at the moment (grades). We can tell her 100 times she cannot be in the living room. So, she will sit on the edge of the kitchen/dining room talking about nothing and seeking our attention. Her conversations have no rhyme or reason and are sporadic in subject at best.
This isn't just today or recent - she has been like this for Y-E-A-R-S!!! To the point, that I had her meet with a counselor and then asked for advice. The counselor said she's just "one of those kids" who needs constant attention and time. "Hopefully she will grow out of it." She's 11 years old!!! I've spoken to each teacher since 2nd grade and have been told she doesn't exhibit ADD/ADHD (she's constantly 'forgetting' homework and has a huge problem finishing tasks in the time given). What I have been told is (1) She needs constant attention and direction, (2) She's very smart and tends to skirt responsibilities and (3) She'd rather be "on" in front of the class and entertain everyone.
I am at my wits end. Tonight - we reviewed her grades and since she's been grounded from TV - her grades have DROPPED!!! She has a 24 in Language Arts (6 ZEROS - 4 of which were parent signatures on assignments and 2 for assignments she did, but 'forgot' them). Mamas - we sign whatever she brings us. If we don't know it needs to be signed (ie - it's not her in her agenda folder and no note that anything needs to be returned). She has a 54 in History!!! Both of her teachers constantly e-mail and call us (her homeroom teacher text messages me) about how smart she is, but she's lazy. Yes, she's been tested and doesn't score high enough to be considered talented.
She is the youngest of three, plus she grew up around older cousins and grandparents who doted on her (She was the only baby for years). She's a performer (dance, cheer, drama, singing) and you can tell she's at her very best when she is on stage (at 8 - she never nervous about auditioning in front of strangers). She was doing solo dance performances at 7 in front of audiences of 500 - 700 people. But if she's not on stage - it's like she needs to find one.
I don't know what to do...I know I am tired of this and her. IF she's at home with older sister and we say "We'll be home at 5:30..." she is on the phone calling us at 5:35 "Where are you? You said you'd be home...How many minutes until you get here?" Then she tends to keep me (or hubby) on the phone until we pull up.
Lastly - and this could be a big part of it: Her biological father abandoned her at age 5 and we didn't hear h*ll or highwater from him for four years. He came back two years ago - but only seeks her at Christmas and summer (usually a 1-2 day visit).

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

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Have you actually taken her to a doctor about the ADHD issue? Girls often exhibit the symptoms you discribe, and teachers don't always make that connection because it is different from boys. Good luck!

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I'll be the bad guy here...You say she is seeking constant attention, but never mentioned actually paying attention to her. If her grades are a problem, try sitting with her when she does her homework. If she wants to talk about the 8 million random things she's thinking about, listen and talk with her. She's obviously got a lot on her mind and wants to share stuff with you. If she worries when you're not home at the time you say, maybe you should call her when you're running late and relieve her worries instead of complaining that she calls you. Have you spent any one-on-one time with her lately? Done any special Mom/Daughter things? It sounds like she just wants her mom to love her and spend time with her. Frankly, I think a lot of her "problems" come from the fact that she can sense that her mom is "tired of her" and she's doing anything she can think of to get your attention.

3 moms found this helpful

Your daughter sounds A LOT like me when I was younger... in fact I can still talk my mom's ear off when we visit (we only live 30 mins away so we see each other lots). Unlike your daughter I was diagnosed with ADD but a very mild ADD, mainly seemed to be dyslexic, spelling and comprehending language (as well as learning a second language). I was also all over the place, it took years until my mom realized that organization was what I needed to at least get homework home so we can sit down and plan how much time is needed for homework and what needs to be done ASAP or things that could be done in the next day or two. Finally after years of doing this with my mom I got the hang of it.

So regarding the homework, if something like this is not already in place, I would have a folder to bring home along with this weekly homework sheet my mom made (it had each subject, I wrote what was due when and make sure I had it in the folder by putting a check mark by it, then my mom put another check mark by it once the homework was done). This really helped my mom know what was going on and kept me on track, granted some of my grades like spelling or Spanish never were about C- or D+. At least I was doing the homework and my mom knew for sure I was not lazy because I would sit at the kitchen table and struggle with my homework.

With the whole attention thing, I was lucky my best friend lived 8 houses down from me so I was always chatting with him, but in 6th grade we moved to a different state. Finally my mom would always make sure to set aside an hour a day which was just for me, she would listen while I talked add things when/if I ever stopped talking. I felt special since we sat down and arranged an hour to spend together and since then I was less attention seeking. This time could be while she helps with the laundry or making dinner with you, that way you are still getting something done yet free enough to talk with her. I still can talk forever but I try my darnedest to make sure never to interrupt anyone and to not monopolize all the talking time, it took a long time for me to learn and it helped that my parents would keep nicely telling me to wait my turn even if it upset me at the time.

When she interrupts I would just say "dad/I was talking, it is rude to interrupt. When we are done with this discussion you can choose the next topic." With the phone say you love her and will be home soon and that you guys can talk when you get home.

She seems to want to make sure that you still notice her and love her so just try to make a point to have time set aside for her so she knows it. Hope you can find something that will work for you and your daughter.

1 mom found this helpful

it sounds like your daughter is dealing with a lot for such a young age. it's possible she has issues that need dealing with by a professional, but i did have a couple thoughts. my son is a talker too, although he's only 3, but same deal - he will talk constantly whether anyone is listening or not, and constantly interrupts. do you stop what you're doing and address her when she interrupts? i have told my son over and over that if someone else is talking he needs to wait to talk, of course he's three so it's hard for him, but i will ignore him until my husband and i are done. she needs to get positive feedback for good behavior, not attention for bad. she needs to learn to respect adults and wait her turn to talk. giving her attention when she interrupts (even negative) is going to give her what she wants.

second thought was, does she ever get 1 on 1 time with you and dad? it sounds like there is a lot going on in your lives (three kids can be hard to keep up with) and you have said a counselor has already mentioned she needs some extra attention. maybe she feels like she is always having to compete with other things (siblings, events, "life") for attention.

as far as the grades go, it sounds like she needs someone to sit down with her at night and go over her homework. do you physically sit down and look at the work her teachers have sent home with her? do you make sure she does it and does it right? it may not be easy but it sounds to me like she needs that extra guidance.

i think the acting out (calling if you're 5 minutes late for no other reason than to grill you about where you are) is a discipline issue, but it may stem from deeper insecurities, so maybe some counselling about her bio dad is in order. it seems like she is feeling really insecure about peoples' love for her. try not to get frustrated with her, or think of her as "lazy" - she's doing this for a reason. she may not recognize it but you're the adult, so it's your job to get to the bottom of it and love her unconditionally. i'm sure she's picking up on your irritation with her and the loss of connection, and it's only going to make things worse.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not an expert, just a mom, but it sounds like she might have some high functioning Asperger's traits. A friend of mine has Asperger's. He is constantly talking, touching, disorganized, etc. He is VERY literally, and spits out whatever his is thinking at that moment.

Ex. 1. He called the other night and we said that we had to call him back. Instead of saying that we'd call back in like 20m - he has no concept of time- I said 7:30p. At 7:32p he was on the phone wanting to know why we hadn't called back.

Ex. 2 -We were sitting around talking girl talk about our favorite whatever, and he interupted mid-sentence to tell me that the clasp of my necklace was down and needed to be fixed.

Since she loves to perform, why not have her work on performances for you? Say every Sat. at 2p she puts on a show for the family. That should help keep her busy with practicing for the weekly show.
Just a thought.

1 mom found this helpful

Im not an expert in this area as my daughter is only a year old. It sounds like your daughter wants to me the center of attention non stop and she just needs a little more of being noticed. I do agree you should set aside some time each day to speak w/her.

We went through w/my brother the same think w/the grades the teachers said he had what it ook he just didnt wanna do it. So I honestly cant help there b/c I was going crazy b/c I didnt understand why he was so lazy.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you actually taken her to a doctor about the ADHD issue? Girls often exhibit the symptoms you discribe, and teachers don't always make that connection because it is different from boys. Good luck!

Wow...sounds like my stepson, now 16. He's gotten better. We just started kinda ignoring him--i.e., letting those calls go to voicemail and being sure to avoid having a sense of urgency about things that are not urgent. We make sure to stop him in his tracks when he interrupts (or ignore his interruptions) and let him make his point later. We encourage him to participate in conversations that focus on other people and not just him. We don't get excited every time he does something (which was hard for him at first). He would walk into the room and be hurt if everybody's eyes didn't light up. Basically, we have had to teach him that it's not all about him and that's okay, that other people have concerns that are just as important to them as his are to him.

Regarding her grades, you're gonna have to let her fail, if she lets it go that far. At her age, it's time for her to feel the consequences of her actions--right and wrong, good and bad. She's got to know--before she goes any further in school and in life--that her choices have consequences that she has to learn to live with.

Have you considered an Au Pair program? I know many people has considered this option because of flexible schedules and you know your child will be be cared for in a familiar surroundings, plus you can have more control over child care activities and they can even help with other household need. For the cost, I've researched and on average the weekly cost of having an au pair is less than other childcare options. Well, you can find more information at www.goaupair.com
Hope that helps!!

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