How should I handle an 8 year old lawyering and quibbling?
E.g., anytime he has a rule, or a task, or is told what to do, his FIRST impulse is nearly 100% to find some fault with the technicality or wording and either start arguing based on that, or simply not do and then when asked explain "Well you said it THIS way".
Just to be clear - this is on topics where he knows 100% certainty what the spirit of what's being told to him is... he literally does what in adult would be called "Lawyering".
This isn't even limited to things he doesn't like or objects to - he simply enjoys the process of finding loopholes. Which would be fine if he was a law student and not an 8YO child who actually needs to do things he's told to do.
One of my problems is that I don't want to clamp down TOO hard - first, because it shows he has good brains and lets him exercise them; and second because later in life it IS a very valuable skill to have, even to a non-lawyer.
But at this point this create actual practical problems - critical things not done, or tons of my times wasted on close supervision of things that he's perfectly capable of doing on his own since age of 3 (e.g. brushing teeth or dressing or eating or cleanup etc...).
My main concern isn't stopping the behavior completely, but limiting it to things that aren't critical/important or time-sensitive situations. He doesn't seem to care when it's appropriate to quibble and laywer and when not.
"I'm Done with breakfast". "Did you finish eating?". "Yes". "OK, get ready for school". Then I walk up to where he ate and notice he didn't drink his juice milk. "Why didn't you drink, and why did you say you finish"? "Well, you asked about EATING. I finished EATING, but not drinking". Just to be clear, he knows perfectly well (and confirmed it) that what he was being asked was whether he finished his entire breakfast, liquids included.
"Please take all the books you were reading that are now strewn around your room to the bookshelf?" "OK". 15 mins later, find a bunch of books still in the room. "Why didn't you take these?" "They aren't books I was reading, they are activity books". Again, he very happily confirms that he knows full well activity books are included in "books", or that the goal of the excercise was to make his room tidy.
"Please clean up your toys from the floor of the room". 10 mins later ... "Why are these 5 things still on the floor"? "Well, my sister played with them, so they aren't 'MINE'". "Didn't you play with them TOGETHER"? "Yes". "So do you think I meant to include them in the cleanup"? "Yes, you did".
"Why did you hit your sister when throwing that thing? Didn't I tell you to NOT throw it when she's standing in front of you and tell her to move away so you won't hit her?" "Well, she wasn't standing. She was sitting".