My 7 Yr Old Isn't Following Directions.

Updated on February 22, 2008
A.K. asks from Theodore, AL
8 answers

My 7 year old son has been getting into alot of trouble at school lately. He is talking too muck and isn't following directions. I have found the lack of direction following to be a problem here at home also. Yesterday it took him over an hour to do one math home work sheet because he wasn't following the directions. He also won't follow verbal directions. I get the feeling he just isn't paying attention and is trying to hurry through things. Any ideas on how I/we can get him to slow down and pay attention. We have never had these kind of problems out of him befor, so we are at a lose. Also, we think he may be acting out because he is no longer the only child. We try to spend time with just him and to reenforce our love for him, but he still seems to be having trouble adjusting.

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So What Happened?

Thanks every one for the advice. He seems to be making a turn around in his behavior on his own. And I will be talking with his teacher in a few weeks. So I think we will be working on it together. Oh, the turn around came when he brought an "oopp" letter. His class does behavior on a scale of 1-4. At a 2 they send home a letter. When he got his letter he was ashamed and that is when he started behaving himself better. We are still working on the following dirrections part but I think it will improve in time.

Thanks again.

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answers from Montgomery on

I too am 27 and have an 8 year old son, and from i've heard from numerous friends and relatives and doctors it is perfectly normal. I know it's not what you want to hear but..... this behavior started before I got pregnant with now my 4 month old, so my son's issues have nothing to do with his baby brother. At this age they start testing their boundaries and seeing how far they can stretch the rules. My husband and I have really had to step up and be a team and not let him over ride us! It is hard because I think of him as a baby still but he is growing up. You have to let him know that any bad behavior will result in either his favorite toy being taken away. ds, wii, gameboy, etc... or find some kind of consequence to his bad behavior. I know it's hard. Now days parents are always jumping to the conclusion that their child is add or adhd and that is just not the case.

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answers from Los Angeles on

When my second third and fourth children arrived, my now 7 year old son was affected a little differently with each. When his first brother was born, he was 2 1/2 and I would read him extra stories and his dad would take him all the way around the block on his trike. When his second brother was born and he was 5, he got to stay up an extra 15 minutes after the others went to bed for more mommy time (reading, talking..) and dad would let him help make the cookies (Thursday night is cookie night). When his sister was born last March, we moved him into his own room and started letting him "babysit" (make sure no one leaves the livingroom while I'm doing laundry upstairs) for $0.50 an hour so he could save up to buy a hamster. With each new sibling, he needed more special attention than with the last. He has never listened very well, though, so I tried for a solution. So now, when I tell him he needs to do something, I say it ONCE (resist the temptation to remind him constantly, it only drains your energy and makes YOU frustrated) clearly enough so I know he has to have heard me. If it doesn't get done, like homework, he suffers the consequences. ie. he goes to school without his homework and gets marked down by the teacher and has to complete it during recess. If he leaves toys on the floor I say, " any toys you would like to keep, please put them away." What doesn't get picked up goes to Goodwill. The key is not to give "one more chance". If you can talk to his teacher at school about not giving extra chances, it could really help out. I did that last year and it totally turned him around in school.

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answers from Richmond on

Have they tried testing him at school? My son had a similar problem for years. It is almost identical to what you've described. In 5th grade they tested him and found that he would need some ED classes.

This didn't mean there was anything wrong with his learning ability. Just that he was having some emotional reasons why he wasn't doing well. In my son's case he would tell himself over and over before a test that he was stupid and couldn't do it. The teacher explained that if you tell yourself you can't do something chances are you won't do well.

There was no serious cause for it. Just that some kids have lower confidence than others. They sometimes just need more one on one teaching at school and that's what ED classes can give them. My son is now a senior in high school and is doing very well (As and Bs) in his classes. He's in regular classes now. Also if they have ED classes they won't later show up on college transcripts, so it won't effect him getting into college.



answers from Huntsville on

Hi A.,
I had the same problem with my son. He's 14 now, but when he was much younger, I was getting calls from school all the time. We finally had him diagnosed with adhd. We found the right medication and waalah!, no more school problems. Like I said, he's 14 now and he still takes Adderall, but only during the school months for focus. It's made a world of difference for us and for him. Hope this helps.



answers from Greensboro on

You are not alone!!!!! I have a 7 yr. old also. Same problem!!!! Have you or thought about having him tested for ADHD?????? If you want to talk and discuss some of the things I went through feel free to call [email protected] topic I could be typing allday from what I went through. I'm a stay @ home Mom also so feel free to call me anytime. D.



answers from Asheville on

Hi A.,

First off Congrats! I hope your second pregnancy is going well for you so far.

As far as your son is might be correct about him craving attention since he knows his world is about to change. Children are very intuitive, so any new changes can trigger behaviorly issues. It is great that you are already trying to make more time for him so he doesn't feel left out. I am sure he will be a big help to you once your little one arrives.

I know this is touchy for some people, so please don't take offense, but have you looked into a possible learning disorder causing him to lose focus? I have worked with adults with disabilities of all levels...minor learning disorders to severe autism. I am not a pro-but just want to throw that out there if you're looking for some help. If his attention continues to fall apart and he continues to have problems listening and following directions--then try talking with his doctor or the school counselor. The last thing you want is for him to continue to receive "punishment/discipline" for something he may not be fully in control over. Instead, if it is a learning disorder, you can find him the tools needed to succeed. Hope that helps! Best of luck!



answers from Myrtle Beach on

Have you ruled out the usual list of suspects? I've found that lack of sleep can be a big culprit. If he's hard to wake in the morning, he may not be sleeping well. The next culprit can be a lack of physical activity. Kids don't get a lot of time for reccess these days. Make sure he has an hour each day to run and play. Next would be sugar. Sugar gives you a surge of energy before you crash and burn. Check the ingredients on your juices, cereals, and snacks. Anything listing corn syrup as an ingredient contains sugar, even most breads contain corn syrup. Another culprit is actually a lack of healthy sugars. If he is active, he may be burning off more energy than he is consuming. I give my daughter a snack to bring to school (like peanut butter crackers), and one after school. If all is well physically, talk to him about what is bothering him. Sometimes, just knowing that it's normal to feel jealous of the new baby helps. Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

Sounds like you and I have the same child!! My son is 6 years old and in the 1st grade this year and has gotten in more trouble so far this school year than he ever did the entire year of Kindergarten!

Any advice that others might give you, please pass it along to me if you don't mind. :^)

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