View Full Version : Anyone else have a child who plays 'dumb'?

09-27-2011, 10:54 PM
DD sometimes talks like a baby. We ask her not to, then redirect. But lately (since starting HS), she's been doing it more. Also, she's started some other annoying behaviors. For example, she tucks her bottom lip under her teeth and pretends she doesn't know what we're talking about when we ask her to stop.

The last few days, she's been playing dumb. When we sit to do math (multiplication), she pretends she doesn't know how to skip count (she does), and says "2, 4, 6, um...7?" Pisses me off. She says she doesn't understand the simplest things, and she's getting very lazy with her writing. I erased a sentence of hers three times yesterday because the writing was atrocious--well beneath her ability. She was slouching and writing very big, then saying she couldn't write anymore because she was out of room.

At first, I didn't make anything of it, but the last two days are definitely showing a pattern. She's acting very immature -- a huge difference from the mature young lady she was turning into over the summer.

My first thought is that the work isn't challenging her enough, that she feels like it's 'baby' work. I thought it was right on par with where she left off last year of PS, but maybe I'm wrong.

I've decided that tomorrow, I enact time-outs. If she wants to act like a baby, I'll treat her like one. I think I'll start taking away checks on her chore chart, too. The worst has only been a few days, but I've run out of patience already and want to nip this in the bud.

Has anyone else experienced this when starting HSing? Thanks.

09-27-2011, 11:13 PM
Maybe not right when we started, but yes, it cropped up. I would say that in our case, it was a case of him seeing the work as beneath him/too easy/whatever. I wonder if it's possible for you to accelerate just a bit into some new concepts that would be right on the cusp of what you think she can handle and see if that behavior continues. If not, I think you might be running into the same thing we did. Give it a shot?

09-27-2011, 11:58 PM
Wow been there with my youngest daughter! When I explained something I'd ask if she understood and she was acting like a 3yr old huffing and saying I don't get this. She was 10. So after 2 days of this stuff I went to the computer and printed off about 20 pages of k-2 worksheets. Writing Abc's 1+1 coloring sheets. She thought it was funny and did it. The next day I had 30 pages printed. With the beginning lines and everything. Then we went to the store and I made her hold my hand. (don't want little ones to get lost) Sadly she ran into a friend and they wanted to go look at books together. I told her friend (swear I did this) Mandy isn't old enough to be without her mommy and we have to go finish her ABC's! The friend looked at me like I was nuts.My daughter freaked out!
The next day I get up at 8am to see my daughter grade level work books open pen in hand. I never said another word!!
Hope it works out for you!


09-28-2011, 12:20 AM
DS has acted like that when he felt he didn't have enough input into what was going on. I've found that giving him more responsibility and a bigger say in deciding when and what he is going to do - both academically and socially - has really helped. I know that for him punishments and rewards would backfire as he sees that as more control for the people who already have most of the power. But every child is different. Have you tried just asking her what is going on?

09-28-2011, 09:05 AM
I have had this problem recently with my DS. He apparently didn't know how to say his ABC's....he fogot how they went! In my case, he thought if he played dumb it would get hiim out of the task at hand. We put an end to that quickly, I gave him a bunch of K-1st work! I havent seen it crop up again! But, each kid is different and your DD may be doing it for different reasons.

Theresa Holland Ryder
09-28-2011, 12:11 PM
I told her friend (swear I did this) Mandy isn't old enough to be without her mommy and we have to go finish her ABC's! The friend looked at me like I was nuts.My daughter freaked out!
The next day I get up at 8am to see my daughter grade level work books open pen in hand. I never said another word!!
Hope it works out for you!


Wow, that's diabolical. Extreme logical consequences parenting! :)

To the original poster, yes, my DD has done this and it is crazy making. I finally ended up having a talk with my daughter to explain to her that I find that sort of behavior disrespectful and wasteful of my time and energy, and while she can feel free to waste her own time, I will not allow her to waste mine. It mostly cleared it up, but I feel for you. It was so frustrating and scary when my DD was doing that.

09-28-2011, 02:19 PM
My dd (almost 8) does this occaisionally and it sends me over the edge!! The biting the lower lip thing, baby voice and slouching...yikes! I find she does this when it is too much review. BUT...she wigs out when I introduce something new! I have a very fine line on which to tread. I have tried having her teach, and that helps. She loves to read aloud, do cursive and write essays. I find that my curriculum (Saxon and Shurley) have too much review for her - I skip ahead when I know she has mastered the concept.

09-28-2011, 03:29 PM
I don't get the baby act, but I do get "I'm tiiiiiiiiiired" and guessing at something I know they know. It is infuriating. I just tell them they're going to stay here until they finish, even if it cuts into break time (we do seat work first thing in the morning, followed by an hour of break).

09-28-2011, 03:47 PM
when my kids tell me they are tired or bored, they have to pay me $.10. They are 6 and 7, so that is a lot of money. It seems to have worked!

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
09-28-2011, 10:07 PM
Are you kidding me it was WW3 in my house for the first 6 months. We got past that and so will you. It got worse a few times because when I could not take it anymore we stopped HS for a break and "rethinking" the approach. Truth be told I needed a break and did more reading on HS. When we started back up again the behaviors were worse. I can tell you that even with my relaxed style I still get that same attitude. She wants to lay on the couch and do book work. I have to tell her that book work needs to be done at her desk. By now though I think it is more of she wants my attention because she gets right up and goes to her desk.

You can try to give her choices ie "Do you want to do math or spelling first?" Give her breaks and rewards for completing a task. But when she plays dumb remind her that she is smart and you know it, so you expect her to act it.

Acting and talking like a baby is a normal stage for a child. And it does tend to make mommy mad. But it is her way of letting go of being a baby. Try not to loose your cool and when she talks like to you "like a baby" look puzzled at her. "HUH, What did you say?", "I am sorry I can not understand what you are trying to say." She will than repeat what she is saying normally.

09-28-2011, 11:07 PM
Thanks to this thread I won't be posting on the hater thread tonight. lol...

Yes, yes, and yes. I did laugh with the "sorry Mandy isn't old enough..." ..

I get tired, I get the lip biting, I get the i have no idea look, all followed by "Can I go use the computer?"

09-29-2011, 12:58 AM
Thanks for the responses, everyone.

Yup, 'screen time' has been limited due to the behavior. While driving to chorus this morning, DD and I had a chat. It went well. I led into it slyly, then asked if she thought the work was too easy -- she said no, then tried to blame last year's teacher for her poor handwriting. I then had her rewrite her spelling words twice each and asked her to do her best work. It was great (of course). I praised her and noted that it's what I expect on all her assignments, not that sloppy junk she displayed the day before. She tried again to state that she didn't practice her printing in school last year. So guess what we added to her week? Yup, alternating printing practice with her cursive work (which she actually enjoys).

As for the baby talk, etc., I reminded her it was annoying and disappointing and that if she really wanted to be a baby....then she cut me off. She got the point. She was stellar today. Mature, responsible, got her work done when asked, no baby talk, no whining.

I was ready to threaten to take away fun things like chorus and dance and flute lessons, but I'll save those threats for another day. ;)

09-29-2011, 04:03 AM
Glad things improved with your DD. I have the problem occasionally with DS8. He likes to whine and pretend he doesn't know things and insist he can't do something (usually read for himself). If he has his way, I'd just give him the answers and we'd be done with it. It drives me crazy, too. And I hate to admit that I lose my patience pretty easy with it.