Question about an 8 year old

I have a dilemma concerning my 8 1/2 year old daughter. I call her in the morning before she goes to school, and I call her before she goes to sleep (her mom and I are in the process of a very amiable divorce). However I expect her to call me when she gets out of school at around 3:30—and more times than not she doesn’t remember. Her mom is more than willing to remind her–but it seems to me that an 8 1/2 year old should be able to handle this responsibility, and it shouldn’t be her mom’s responsibility.

Before anyone suggests it might be divorce related, I honestly don’t think it is. The relationship my soon to be exwife and I have is amiable, and my daughter is handling the transition very well. If it was related I think we would have seen other signs–this phone call is the only thing that I find irritating–that isn’t even the word–I just can’t figure out if I am asking too much of an 8 1/2 year old.

Seems reasonable to me–but she seems to forget most days, and I am wondering if I am expecting too much from someone that age. She is a great kid and I don’t want to push on this–but I would love for her to call me at that time! But I keep thinking she is all excited after school, and her friends are there, and the TV is beckoning, etc. Maybe I am too far down on the list huh? :slight_smile:

So my question to the Dopers out there-----is it reasonable to expect an 8 1/2 year old girl to call her Dad right after school? Or is this too much responsibility for someone of that age to handle?

Hakuna Matata

I think it might be the timing. After school (or in our case, after the after-school program) is very hectic, what with sorting out homework, announcements, invitations, etc. You could trade calling times, if you want her to have some responsibility. You call her after school and she calls you at bedtime, maybe?

How long has she been calling you? Maybe she’d just rather wind down after school. It’s probably no big deal, really. I’m sure there are times when you’re tired and might find tv more interesting than her.

Since you’re not on bad terms, why not ask your ex? She might have a better insight than anyone here.

It seems to me that placing an obligation or expecctation on her to call at a set time each day could easily backfire…anyone, including an 8-year-old, is allowed to feel crappy, untalkative, or simply be forgetful, without any particular feeling of guilt needing to be placed on her. Lower your expectations - be genuinely pleased when she does call, and she’ll enjoy the phone calls more, hopefully making them more frequent.

Due to my health, my son has lived with his father at various times since he was 9, he is now 14. I have found that he rarely rings or wants to talk with the parent he is not currently living with. I never push him to do so.

Personally I wouldn’t expect her to call when she gets home from school, leave it with her to call if she feels like it. You don’t want to make it seem like a chore to her. Kids really don’t like being interrupted or bothered in that time after school. You could always ask about the school day when you call before bedtime, she will probably be more willing to chat at that time. Just my opinion.

I’ve got an 8 year old (and a 10 and a 4), and I can’t imagine him being able to incorporate a regular phone call like that into his daily habits. I’m divorced, and mine live with me half the time, and they rarely make calls to the parent they’re not with, maybe 1 phone call among the three of them over the 5 day periods (we rotate 5-5-2-2).
I think that’s a lot to expect, or it would be for mine.

kind of what I figured as well. I thought it might be too much for her at her age–but I wanted to get some other opinions. I do like the idea of switching out the evening phone calls too–might try that. That way I wouldn’t also interupt her when she is in the middle of something and get more focused attention.

I always heap praise on her when she does remember to call, and am hopeful eventually that will tip the scales. I never try and guilt her into it—that is a recipe for disaster I agree.

guess I am going to have to learn to accept that SpongeBob has more appeal than I do right now :slight_smile:

thanks again for your responses.
gotta run–time to call her again!

Hakuna Matata