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I have an 8 year old daughter that has a hard time focusing in everything she does. Don't get me wrong, she can focus when she wants to and if it's something that's she is interested in.

The other issue, or maybe they are connected, is that she just doesn't care about anything. She just has this don't care attitude that quite frankly drives me crazy. It is the same attitude whether we are discussing school, gymnastics, chores - it really doesn't matter.

How do I make her care about these things and want to do her best?

  • Was gymnastics her choice of activity? Is she still interested in gymnastics? It's common for children to not be so interested in all areas of school. And, I'd imagine, extremely common for children to have no interest in chores. – Reed Rawlings Dec 7 '15 at 15:25
  • Gymnastics was her choice and I ask her at the beginning of each month if she wants to continue and she always says yes. I will say she is an only child and maybe my expectations are too high for her. – Alleigh Dec 7 '15 at 15:35
  • Is she receiving poor grades? Does her lack of motivation cause her to not do chores leading to behavioral issues? I'm wondering what the issue is for you beyond just lack of motivation. – Reed Rawlings Dec 7 '15 at 15:38
  • She actually get good grades but hasn't really been challenged. I am concerned as to what will happen when a challenge comes her way. The biggest behavioral issue is not listening. I understand this could be typical 8 year old but she seems to take this to the extreme. – Alleigh Dec 7 '15 at 17:29
  • Does your school offer a gifted program? If they do I would have her tested. If you haven't already speak with her teacher about how she views your daughters attitude toward class and work. The way you describe things sounds like a gifted underachiever. – Reed Rawlings Dec 7 '15 at 17:34
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I think the key here is where you said: "she can focus when she wants to and if it's something that's she is interested in". Our society so often forces kids into situations (especially public schooling) where they are expected to focus on things that they are not interested in, and then diagnoses them with "disorders" such as ADD/ADHD when they respond in a perfectly natural way (by becoming restless, defiant, etc).

She is an 8-year old. She's simply not going to sit there for 3 hours studying math (unless she's super into math). There is nothing wrong with her for responding this way, and you don't need to worry about it (although you should be concerned about how you are going to create a situation that is more fulfilling/stimulating for her) . You used the phrase "make her care". This is never going to happen. If you try to make her care about something she doesn't like, she's only to get more restless and defiant.

The best way for her to learn and grow is to support her in those activities that she is interested in. What are these areas that she is interested in that you say you can see her focusing on? How could you work on stimulating more interest in these areas, and using them as a platform for learning/growth?

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    Thanks for your help. I know I can't make her care, that was a poor choice of words on my part. What I want is to help her see the importance of wanting to do her best. I like your ideas about finding things that she is interested in and using them to stimulate more interest. – Alleigh Dec 8 '15 at 1:58

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