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CR'sMom
CR'sMom , Parent asks:
Q:

MY 10 year old daughter always answers "I dont know" when I ask just about any question - is this normal?

In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Dr.Susan
Jun 28, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

There are a few different reasons that a child may respond in this frustrating manner, so before you give up asking her questions, consider the following:

1. Perhaps she is afraid she will get in trouble if she answers honestly (do you yell and punish a lot?)

2. Maybe she has a difficulty processing or comprehending language and questions are confusing for her (she may need a language evaluation to make this determination). Saying "I don't know" is a frequent response for kids with language based learning disabilites because they don't want to admit they are confused or didn't understand the question.

3. Maybe she is angry with you for something unrelated to the questions you are asking; saying "I don't know" could be a passive way of expressing anger, rather than making an effort to respond to you (is there any upheaval in your family right now?)

4. Perhaps she hasn't been challenged to respond to questions in a more productive way and needs you to begin helping her along--patiently.

Good Wishes and Great Parenting,
Dr Susan Bartell
JustAsk Expert
www.drsusanbartell.com
Twitter @drsusanbartell
NEW book "The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask"


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Additional Answers (6)

graham
graham writes:
Yes, this sounds normal. It can be a way your child is asserting their independence. If it is bothering you, you can discuss the matter with your daughters teacher or a psychologist.
> 60 days ago

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BigSis
BigSis writes:
I am 23 years old and I have an 11 year old sister. I've noticed that she has been saying "I don't know" a lot lately too. I find it very frustrating and I let her know that I would like for her to explain what she is feeling. I try asking her specific questions and a good amount of the time, she begins to open up. There have been times where I've asked her, "Why did you say that?" She then told me that she was afraid of what I might think of her.

It's a very important time to keep the lines of communication open. My sister is starting to act like a teenager (ex. giving off an attitude, talking back, rolling eyes, etc) which is an attempt at pushing me away. Instead, I try my hardest to be there for her at this confusing stage of life.

I've attached a helpful link.

Good luck!

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MimiR
MimiR writes:
Also could be perfectionism.
> 60 days ago

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Legsy
Legsy writes:
I don't know
> 60 days ago

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HeatherPeterson124
HeatherPete... writes:
I don't think so, I guess she's not just interested about the questions being asked. Why not start with some trick questions? Or with an easy question.

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candacesgraham
candacesgra... writes:
I believe that that is an opportunity to say, " okay...maybe you don't know for sure..but what do you think?? "...then listen to what he/she has to say. It may take some prodding, sometimes kids just get into the habit of "uh-huh" ...or "uh-uh" and I dunno". but with encouragement, would love to talk and have your really listen. But, sometimes we get so busy, we forget to listen.  I work with client's everyday, experiencing  family conflict that has gotten extremely painful and dysfunctional, only to  find out the whole family is busy  talking AT one another, and not really talking to one another. It is a shame that communication skills along with the ever so important listening skills are not a mandatory MUST  for children and their families. I might not have so many client's, but there would be a lot more healthy and happy families.
> 60 days ago

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