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11 year old can't stay focused
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11 year old can't stay focused

My daughter is 11 and is in 6th grade.  During the past 2 1/2 years she has exhibited significant distratedness.  This not only extends to her school work but also to home life (messy bedroom, not picking up after herself, etc.)  Most recently I received a call from her dance teacher who expressed concern that she isn't "with the program".  She loves dance and so I'm very surprised about it.  Moreover, the teacher says she is a distraction to the class, refuses to keep her hair pulled back and no longer works hard.  She is an average student but there again - unpredictable.  She usually gets a couple As in one subject, Bs in 2 or 3 others and a C or D in the remaining.  The following semester she will have the same composite but in different subjects (i.e., A in spelling then D in spelling).  She is a very happy child with many interests and many friends.  She is very talented - both with dance but also musically and in art.  She plays piano, flute and cello.  My frustration comes from trying unsuccessfully to keep her on track.  I usually have to tell her 3 - 4 times to do something and most of the time it is not done properly.  Instead of putting clothes away she shoves them under her bed.  Alternatively she lies about completed tasks.  She'll say she brushed her teeth but the toothbrush is dry - and she knows I'll check!!  She says she didn't take something and 'lo and behold it's in her backpack.  Every day I have to check to make sure she's brought certain things home or to school (i.e., musical instrument) and yet EVERY DAY she misses the same things!  She has taken things from me (money, tools) even though she knows I'll get angry.  Consequences mean nothing to her.  Sending her to her room is like an offer to create another mess.  She turns the most miserable situation into an enchanting adventure for herself. Withholding allowance usually results in cash missing from my wallet.  I hate to withhold dance because she is truly gifted and talented in this area, and yet, even if I do, she occupies that time with some other creative foray.  I've tried grounding and while she is miserable for a time (which satisfies me!) she seems to rebound from it immediately. On the positive side she is rarely in a bad mood and is the turnaround queen in terms of anger or frustration.  She views herself as being in the smart class (I don't really think this is true but hey - perception is often reality!) She is extremely kind to others, and this usually includes her 8 year old brother.  She likes school and her other activities, including church.  Is this just a maturation issue or am I missing something.  Any recommendations on how to get her focused, in tune, on time and with the program????
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As children this age develop the maturation of their frontal lobe will help them to be more organized, focused, etc. and in general to act in a more 'responsible' fashion. This takes time, however. Your daughter's symptoms are also typical of many children who display inattentive-type ADHD, and this might be worth investigating. Do so in a careful way, without jumping on the 'ADHD bandwagon'. See what her pediatrician thinks and what the school personnel think.
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Hi,
      Your 11 yr old sounds identical to my 10 yr old girl. The situation is very very irritating. Mine has went from honor roll to carrying 3 F's and not caring one bit. She will not bring homework home. When she does we spend 3-4 hours getting it done for the teacher to say she never tuned it in or either THAT was not her homework. I put her in her room for 4 weeks with nothing to do but study. That didnot effect her one bit. I am also at wits end. Her doctor did mention ADHD as well. Her teachers said that because she was an honor roll  student and on PACT tests last yr, she was above state average that they do not see ADHD. If you find a solution please please let me know. I will do the same. Good lucka nd if you need to talk my e-mail address is  ***@****
    Good Luck,   Dawn
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