Communicate with your forgetful child
What you need to know:
- OVERCOME. Mummy, I forgot my book, where could it be? A child will ask after a few seconds of keeping their book. Do you know it could be more than a moment’s thing? Beatrice Nakibuuka explores.
- Children are very delicate yet some parents can be so nagging or shift their work or family stress to the children. The children in turn respond to such ill communication by simply ignoring: intended forgetfulness.
Like adults, children have weaknesses. However, being forgetful is a common character among children. They may forget to wash their hands, misplace items or cannot remember what you asked for.
Steven Langa, a counsellor at Family Life Network, thinks children do not forget because they cannot remember. “It is only children with a short memory that do this and you will know when it happens. Most times children forget for a reason.”
Why they forget
The human brain is underactive during the early years of life. Children have not fully grown and their thinking and memory has not developed, it is therefore normal for them to forget.
Some children may choose not to be attentive and the time you ask them what you talked about they really do not know. “Children are not sometimes emotionally engaged in what they do. They are just absent minded because they do not care or do not know what the consequences of a particular action would be,” Langa says.
There are times when children claim to forget, especially about their homework because they are just trying to avoid doing the work. Lois Nakibuuka, a freelance counsellor, says, “Children love to say they forgot to do things that they just did not want to do. In these cases you may want to consider offering a positive reinforcement system for when he completes tasks without having to be reminded.”
Children are very delicate yet some parents can be so nagging or shift their work or family stress to the children. The children in turn respond to such ill communication by simply ignoring: intended forgetfulness.
Langa adds that, “Children most times behave in a certain way because they are responding to their parents’ character and way of communication. They may choose to ignore to make the parent feel punished, especially if he or she is a nagging parent or shouts at them all the time about forgetting things.”
If the reason your child forgets is because he or she struggles to learn, then the child has a big problem that you must address immediately. There are extremes of forgetfulness among children and if your child is easily distracted and does not concentrate, you will need a psychiatrist for evaluation.
Nakibuuka says, “Chronic forgetfulness can be a symptom of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). If your child has other behaviour problems at home and school or seems easily distracted and has concentrating difficulties, you may want to have him evaluated by a mental health professional to make sure there isn’t something else going on.”
This, you may only notice if you try to find out the following; If the child is struggling to do the homework try to find out why. It may be hard for him or her. They may take a lot of time to do their homework. These are signs that a child has a learning issue. If you think this is the cause of your child’s ‘lack of memory’ you need to find the cause of the problem and fix it.
It is important to let the children understand that parents feel disappointed and frustrated when they forget. Langa says,“If they ever lose something due to carelessness or forgetfulness, and it is not very important, the parent should not immediately replace what they have lost to teach them a lesson. Then they would become more careful.”
The way you communicate to such children will either help them outgrow the forgetfulness or make it worse. Parents should speak to the children in a polite way even when they had a stressful day.
Parents can help children through their forgetfulness by using positive language, being supportive and rewarding them for their good character.
Dealing with this
“Parents should use positive language and think of commending and rewarding children when they do something good because it makes them feel appreciated,” Lois Nakibuuka, a counsellor says.
Langa advises parents to use the same tools adults use to help the children remember. The things such as lists and calendars are very helpful. In the start, you can plan together with the child on what they are supposed to do then they can start using them on their own.
There are children that are naturally forgetful and they must be helped to remember. You can help them use calendars, develop lists, have their key hang around their neck.