How to get 7 year old to be more responsible

Lucy34527April 24, 2013

My 7 year old step daughter is a smart well rounded child but I can't get her to be responsible. When she gets back her tv she, instead of getting herself ready just sits in her room and watches it so we have had to take it away since. Any time there is any form of tv on she can't concentrated and talk to anyone she just spaces out and watches tv. People have said oh she is just add get her on medicine. I do not want to do that since I am on adderall and it has made me loose alot of weight. I just want to teach her the tools to be responsible and pay attention on her own. I have giver her structure and daily routines, etc. and it works for a week then she goes back to the way things were before. She doesn't have a tv or anything to distract her in her room. She is always willing to help with chores etc. but to get her to do things on her own, she acts like she can't. I have repeatedly showed her better ways to do things and how to go about the best way to handle things but she acts like she doesn't know. I feel like she does that to manipulate her way to helping people do things for her, but I won't. I know she is perfectly capable of doing them herself. Lately she has been "forgetting" her homework at school and I make her go to her room with no tv and read until its time for bed. I just don't know what else to do to get her to realize she needs to start showing a little responsibility because she gets praised and rewarded when she does and me and her father are consistent with her and trying to get her to learn to do things on her own. Much help would be appreciated.

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emma

When my children were small I didn't just tell them no in a situation like that, I offered them an alternative. Lets finger paint or go for a walk in an interesting place. Make it a good one on one thing. Read to her, take her to the library. Two of my step daughter's children liked to be social and wanted to go outside. One of them didn't, he wanted to play games all day. She limited his game time to two hours a day and made him go outside. He eventually started to looking forward to his friends and outings. I can get caught up in games and be late for appointments. I am an adult and learn by my mistakes. LOL

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Lucy34527

The main concern I have is her learning to be responsible and to focus

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:13PM
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daisyinga

It takes awhile for those habits to be instilled in children. I think it's normal for those things to "work" for a week and then a child backslides into old bad habits. During that time you need to be vigilant and enforce the rules and schedule.

Regarding tv, my suggestion is to turn the tv off almost all the time. I don't know if that would work for your household or not, but when my kids were that age we rarely watched tv. You need to model the behaviors you want her to follow, so read a book or play a game instead of turning the tv on. I've known lots of kids who concentrate on the tv rather than things going on around them. That's common, in my opinion, and the fix for that is to turn off the tv and fill her time with better things.

Regarding forgetting her homework, here's what worked for me. My son went through a time of forgetting his homework. I was always able to go back to school and get the book for him, but that's a habit I wanted to nip in the bud. So we made a deal - if it took me 15 minutes to go back and get the book, then my son had to do a chore that took ME 15 minutes to do. So if I went to school and got the book, he scrubbed my shower. I'd much rather go get a book than scrub the shower, so it wasn't an inconvenience for me. My son would rather remember his book than scrub the shower. Not doing homework was never an option. If the school was closed, he had to call a friend to borrow a book (and scrub the shower). If he couldn't get the book, he had to complete the homework the next day and turn it in and get a zero. But the homework was always, always done. Forgetting the book didn't get him anywhere.

My suggestions are don't get angry, don't yell. Make a plan complete with consequences, be matter-of-fact and enforce the rules consistently. For things like forgetting her homework, try to make the consequences logical and to the point. For example, I wouldn't send a 7 year old to her room with no tv and make her read until bedtime for forgetting her homework. Homework is important. I would use that opportunity to calmly explain the importance of homework and we would work on that subject for the length of time it normally takes her to do her homework. For example, if she's working on addition, we'd make some addition problems and do them. Then she'd still have to bring her book home the next day and do her homework.

I'd also conference with the teacher and see if she has any suggestions. Your daughter may need a checklist taped to her desk or something to remind her to bring her materials home. My kids' teachers were great at working with parents if they knew parents wanted to help their kids and would follow through.

I'm not against medicating children who have ADD, but I think it's important to work on their environment first and see if that fixes the problem.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:29PM
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popi_gw

She is only 7. I think you are expecting too much from her.

She needs you to show her how to be responsible.

Perhaps your initial reaction to her not doing her homework should not be punishment - but encouragement. Sit down with her and help her work through it.

Take the tv out of her bedroom - watching tv in the bedroom will not lead to a responsible child, in fact it will lead to a sluggish, lazy child.

How much tv does she watch.

Are you a good role model, are you behaving the way you expect her to behave - rhetorical question - ask yourself that when you are expecting her to remember to do things.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 1:44AM
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Lucy34527

Thank you Daisyinga I liked your suggestions and as for popi she hardly ever gets to watch tv. I also do things with her to show her how to organize and the right way to go about doing thoes things. She also has no tv in her bedroom because she would rather watch it instead of getting ready in the morning. I think she just tries to push my buttons to see what she can get away with honestly and the whole forgetting her homework spiel stopped recently. I think as for instilling responsibility and learning to be mannerly, well-rounded, and organized is not a bad thing. Her father and I are so I only have high expectations for her. I want her to be mindful and to grow up to be the best person she can be. That is not expecting to much. I see some kids that throw tantrums when they are nine and kick and hit at their parents and yada yada and I never want my children to act that way.
Also daisyinga I do try to be consistent with the rules and I have made a rules chart with a reward tally system for when she does do the right thing. We also have a daily chores chart for everyone including the adults and daily routines for her and her brother. She just seems to want to push our buttons though. She just seems to act out of impulse and she does not think about the repercussions of her actions, which is what I am really trying to get her to learn. That is the biggest difficulty, and the fact that she acts like she is 7 going on 32 you can never debate with her lol. She always knows best, but her intelligence and willfulness is what makes her so unique.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:58PM
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daisyinga

Some kids are just that way, Lucy. I do understand. It sounds like you are an organized household, and that is good. I've had teachers tell me the best predictor of student success is organization.

The materials by Barbara Colorosa helped me when my kids were younger. Not the later stuff she wrote about bullies, but the earlier stuff (I think maybe the book Kids are Worth It). The book is more targeted toward older kids/teens as best I recall, but I used a lot of her tips very successfully with my younger children. She had great tips for not debating your kids, not getting sucked into arguments, not letting kids wear you down.

I was getting too caught up in the charts/rewards/rules, etc. thing. Her materials helped me come up with consequences that weren't so hard for me to enforce but much more effective. So you might try reading her book. For example, one of her strategies that I loved (for teens) was NOT to convince them, but let them spend their energy convincing you. Daughter wants to go to the party? Fine, convince me. I don't have to argue with her, just say, "I'm not convinced." That's better for teens, not for 7 year olds, but she has some other ideas that can be adapted for age 7.

Good luck! Some kids are more of a challenge than others. If she is 7 going on 32, then finding some strategies now that are not so hard on you but still effective would be a good investment of your time.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:29AM
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