8 Year Old Boy Driving me insane Opinions Please — The Bump
School-Aged Children

8 Year Old Boy Driving me insane Opinions Please

My DS is 8 ( will be 9 next month) for the most part he is a really good kid. Sweet, compassionate, very caring and as intelligent as they come. He gets Straight A's in school and has never had any behavior problems NEVER.

Until now that is... Lately I have been trying to get him to be more responsible. Requiring him to pick out his own clothes for school, dress himself, take care of his personal needs with out me standing in the bathroom making sure he's brushed his teeth, washed his face applied lotion etc each morning.  Also having him take the trash out when "He" sees that it is full with out being asked.  Anyhow he is driving me nuts as he is not doing any of this. I still have to stand over him in the morning to make sure he is doing what he needs to do, I have to stand over him as he gets dressed to make sure he put everything on and not forget socks or a t-shirt( mind you I lay everything out together). I still have to remind him to take out the trash and now on 2 occasions he's lied to my face about having done something I've asked of him. The lying breaks my heart. I have made daily routine charts for him to follow...THEY ARE POINTLESS. I need him to get it together before the baby comes as he is too old for me to continue to do EVERYTHING FOR.

 Also he is so absent minded he flooded the kitchen on Tuesday afternooon. He turned the sink on and went into the other room to watch tv. A month ago he started a fire in the microwave, he put something in there and left to watch TV so who knows how long he had it going( He isnt even suppposed to touch the microwave). Last week he called me at work ( I work an hour and a half away from home) to ask me to bring him a change of shoes because he stepped in dog poop on his way to the bus stop...mind you I was still at home when this happened, why did he not walk back home to change his shoes vs going on to school with the mess on his shoes. I had to leave wrk for the day to take him shoes. (He is ABSENT MINDED. He always claims he did see something or that he forgot, or that he didnt know.)

 This morning I was late to work because I deal with him for lying to me. My DH says, "Oh he just being a boy." I feel like I am loosing my mind some days I dont even want to go home.

I am going to make an appt for him to see a counselor to try and sort whatever is going on with him.

Any thoughts... am I expecting too much or should I continue to do everything for him and save myself the headache of expecting him to do it himself.

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Re: 8 Year Old Boy Driving me insane Opinions Please

  • You are expecting a lot out of him.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

    The lying is pretty normal at this age -- keep stressing the importance of honesty and remind him that lies get you in way more trouble than anything else.  And don't give him a chance to lie if you can avoid it.  

    Part of the responsibility thing might be a personality thing too -- my 9 y/o does get herself ready for school without help or reminders but my 11 y/o would forget her lunch every day if we didn't remind her.  My 11 y/o has also started a fire in the microwave (she remembered to take a foil cap off the soup she was microwaving but left a spoon in!). 

    Maybe have him make up a little chart with his responsibilities.  Something on a white board so he can check off each thing maybe.  Maybe hang it on the bathroom mirror.  I think it helps to build in rewards too.  Like if my kids get ready quickly (like totally ready including shoes, jackets, backpacks) then they get to watch a little tv, they love that.  And let him make some mistakes (honestly if he forgets socks or a t shirt, let him live with it). 

  • MrsSRMrsSR member

    I think you need to start with baby steps.  Instead of focusing on alllll that, do one or two things at a time until he has mastered them.  First focus on him getting dressed on his own, then add other things like washing his face/getting lotion on.  I don't think an 8 year old would EVER take out the trash without being asked.  My husband just started doing that a few years ago....  Stick out tongue

    I teach 3rd grade and the children do tend to be absentminded.  I think it's just that age.

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  • Have you tried any visual aids?  DS is pretty forgetful too and visual aids and a posted am/pm schedule has helped everyone stay on task. 

    A good suggestion I got for DS in advance of our baby arriving was to give him 1 big boy chore to do each week.  He gets $1 for allowance for each grade year just because (he's in 1st so $1 for now) and an extra quarter for everytime he does his big boy chore (ours is vacuuming around the kitchen table after meals).  I don't expect him to remember to do it on his own, but if he did, he would for sure earn another quarter.  Maybe you could try something like that for the garbage?  We also reward behavior we like to see in other ways (he earns marbles that he can trade in to earn $ to use however he would like).  He is such a sweet helpful boy, I would do anything to encourage that behavior when I see it. 

    ITA with the PPs about the lying.  Stress why it's important to tell the truth and that you aren't mad when he tells the truth, but do get upset when he doesn't.  But, then you have to live up to what you're telling him.  I know how hard it is to remain calm sometimes about things, especially when PG.  But, if he tells you the truth about something he did wrong or a mistake he made, you have to try to stay calm about it.  I lose my mind every time my kids spill milk (they never pick a good time to do it, I swear!), but it doesn't help anyone for me to get crazy about it.  If I did, my kids wouldn't tell me when the milk spills and I'd end up with a bigger mess.  KWIM?

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • In a lot of ways, your DS reminds me of my DD. So take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Chore/tasks posted where he will see them; perhaps on a white board that he can check off as he accomplishes each task. We did this with DD for a long time to help her visually see what needs to be done; because the mental list was NOT happening. Set a time limit on how long each task will take; Ex: You have 5 minutes to get dressed, 2 minutes to put your socks and shoes on, etc. With a definite end time in mind; it can HELP to keep them on track.

    I do agree with the wonder about ADD/ADHD. Leaving the water running is the one that did it for me. The microwave thing is just inexperience; a learning point for sure but not necessarily absent mindedness.

    And lying is completely normal at this age. Is it acceptable? No. Normal? Absolutely. Be consistent with how you approach when he tells the truth (or not) whether the truth is something he should have or have not done. I'd rather my kid confess to a wrong-doing and only be corrected by using that as teaching opportunity than lie to me and have to be punished for lying when she wouldn't have been had she simply told the truth.

    These changes that you are implementing are also not going to happen overnight. I've been working on these same life skills with DD since she started 1st grade (she is in 2nd now) and it's still a learning process. We're way better than when we first began, but she still needs encouragement, reminders and sometimes me standing in the doorway to make sure she is doing what needs to be done.

    Expecting him to step up just because there is a baby on the way is unfair to him. Would it be nice if he did it anyway? Absolutely. But is it realistic? Not necessarily. Just take the baby factor out of the equation and realize that he is going to be on his own learning curve no matter the extenuating circumstances.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • You have received great replies.  I just wanted to chime in as another mom with kids in that age range.

    We deal with more or less the same issues in our house.  

    My 7 1/2 y/o son would LOVE it if I picked out his clothes and laid them out for him every day.  Honestly, he'd probably allow me to dress him, too.  

    My 11 y/o daughter has to be reminded every evening after homework to put her "stuff back in her binder and put her binder in her backpack and put her backpack by the shoe rack so it's ready for tomorrow." 

    They'll both do chores or jobs if I make a list for them.  The 11 y/o is starting to take more of an independent role in doing her own laundry (having to get her P.E. uniform clean is helping her take responsibility for this!)  But I would not expect the 7 y/o to see that something needs to be done around the house and do it. 

    My daughter is also very bright and very forgetful.  She's like an absentminded professor!  Whatever she's thinking about consumes her 100%.  This is a great asset in school.  But it's not so great at home, when she can never remember where she took off her shoes last night, etc.! 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • My kids do a fair amount to help around the house, but they don't do it without being asked or reminded.

    I would not expect either of my older kids to be able to judge when the trash should go out and do it on their own.

    Why did the sink flood because it was left running?  Did he clog it up with something or is there a problem with the drains?

    Where were you when the microwave fire started?

    I don't leave any of my kids unattended for too long.  At eight, he still needs your supervision. 

    I would get him to lay out his own clothes the night before.  I think this is one task you could turn over to him.  As for the rest, I think he still needs you to parent him.  It's just the age.  He will grow up, but it won't happen overnight just because you're having a baby and want to be more hands-off.

    Stay at home mom to a house of boys: two amazing stepsons, 12 and 9, and our 4 year old.
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