My third-grader doesn't want to do anything!

[deleted account] ( 7 moms have responded )

My eight-year-old is being a real pain in the neck. While she's perfectly content to go to school, and she loves riding, that's all she wants to do. I can't even get her out of her pyjamas to go to the zoo or any of her other favorite places, she just wants to stay in and watch TV or listen to her CDs or read books. She throws real temper tantrums at any request to contribute to the household, or anything that doesn't go her way. She barely interacts with the family even when she's here, and she hardly meets with friends any more, either. The tension in the house is unbearable. Some seem to think this is pre-puberty, or that she started school too early, but I can't really believe that. What is going on, and how can I help her?


[deleted account]

I agree with Michelle, while those symptoms could be signs of a normal, but introverted, 8 year old, if they are severe, they could be signs of a more serious condition.

There is nothing wrong with hanging out at home and chilling, but I would limit the TV and focus more on music & books which allow the brain to function some on its own. Children do not really need a plethora of activities, if she likes riding, let her focus on that 100%.

She does need to contribute to the household without throwing a tantrum--tantrums are for 2 year olds. When you ask her to do something, point out what you are doing as well. Say something like "If you will put your laundry in the laundry room, I will wash it for you," or "I've washed and dried your clothes from last week, please put them away." If she doesn't bring her clothes to the laundry room, don't wash them, she will get the point when she has nothing to wear, and you will avoid the power struggle of trying to force her to do something she doesn't want to. If she doesn't put her clothes away, leave them in the basket until she does; when you need the basket again, dump them in her floor. Her room will become a big mess, but she will get frustrated and start to contribute after a short bit. (she might ask you for help getting the mess straightened out--don't clean it up for her, but help her clean it up together).

Make sure she is not being bullied or excluded from her friends. If she is just uninterested in her social circle right now, that is fine, but if she is being pushed out, you may need to take action.

[deleted account]

Stop paying for the recorder lessons. My son was being really whiny about his taekwondo lessons, then he wanted to try out for the Demo Team, which is a team taekwondo sport that requires TONS of practice. I told him that if he ever whined about practice, I would take him off the team. He hasn't whined since because he knows it is true from past experiences. Your daughter probably doesn't have those past experiences to learn from yet, so you have to give them to her.

Next time you tell her to practice and she cries, say "Okay, you don't have to practice." Walk away & cancel the lessons--DO NOT engage in the argument, if she pesters you, say "I am not going to force you to do this. We pay for it because you want to do it, but if you don't like it anymore, we'll spend the money elsewhere, or find an activity that you enjoy more, but I'm not going to listen to you gripe about it." If she wants to start again, you let her use allowance to buy a PC tutorial, and when she shows you that she will practice on her own for several weeks, then you will pay for lessons again.

Watching TV with Dad isn't so bad--it's good that she likes to spend time with him--but try to get your husband interested in sharing one of his own hobbies with her. Fishing? Hiking? Model cars? anything really--she should enjoy it just because it gives her time with dad without forcing conversation.

Also, if she has a TV in her room, take it out. No child needs a personal TV that alone can trap her in there for hours.

[deleted account]

Thanks for your thoughts, Ladies. I am mostly having a hard time telling if this is somewhat normal or if there's something larger going on. She claims everything is fine at school, but doesn't share much with me (she never really did), and she's always been relatively introverted. Over the weekend, though, she only got out of bed to come to meals or watch TV with Dad (this is something I have to put my foot down about, but not with her ...). Another thing: Getting her to practice for her recorder lessons is impossible, but she cries when I tell her I won't pay for them any more. I am just so frustrated, then I get angry and have to withdraw in order to keep myself from doing something I would regret, and then it looks like I am the one who's throwing a tantrum. Ugh!

Michelle - posted on 03/18/2012




I would discuss the situation with her doctor she could be developing child hood depression, or it could be nothing but at least you can say you asked the questions


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Cyn - posted on 10/04/2012




I think its a pre-puberty thing because my now 9 year old does the same thing. :/

Jemma - posted on 04/14/2012




Right the things about depression.


So your child doesn't like sports or music or whatever.

Well gee that doesn't make her similar to the 40% of children who don't.

Let her do what she wants for Christ's sake!

Don't worry about the family thing. She'll get over that.

Christy - posted on 03/22/2012




In addition to suggestions above, have you tried checking with her teacher, or do you know any of her friends or their parents-try asking them how things are going... Maybe try spending some 1-on-1 time with her, just being with her...not talking about chores or activities unless she brings it up. Good luck...

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