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Lying and Stealing!

(10 Posts)
AnotherPhase Mon 31-Dec-12 16:25:37

My soon to be 10 year old has a history of telling lies.

We've always come down hard on her and she knows it's unacceptable. It's usually silly stuff such as

Me "I told you not to touch that"
dd "I haven't touched it!"
Me "you're holding it now!"


Recently things have gotten worse and she has taken things that don't belong to her.

Often things such as taking some of her sisters chocolate without asking - she will say that's not stealing, whereas I tell her taking anything without asking permission is stealing!
She brought a small decoration home from a restaurant when we had gone out for tea. Again, she took it without permission and in my book, it's stealing. The worse one though is that she took a toy that her friend left lying around. She was only found out because I realised that she had two of the items and she gave it straight back, but to me that's not the point. This was her best friend btw.

I have tried talking to her about it, I have tried reasoning with her and explaining why it is wrong. I have tried sending her to her bedroom, confiscating loved items for a period of time ...and even giving small items of hers away when she stole chocolate from her sister. Nothing seems to get through sad

Where do I go from here?

AnotherPhase Mon 31-Dec-12 16:27:05

She doesn't go without btw, she's not spoilt but she has plenty.

Ineedmorepatience Mon 31-Dec-12 17:04:57

We had this with Dd1 so I know what a pain it is. Tbh we never really solved it and she has left home now.

I will say though that she struggles with empathy due to undiagnosed aspergers (her sister is diagnosed).

Does your Dd understand how it makes other people feel to have their belongings taken?

Maybe you should have a family meeting and anyone who has had something taken has the opportunity to explain to her how they feel.

Good luck smile

AnotherPhase Tue 01-Jan-13 22:50:04

Thankyou for your reply Ineedmore

Yes, I would say dd does understand how others feel, she's actually quite a sensitive soul and I'd say she has good empathy. The problem is an impulse thing, I think. She wants what she wants and the lure/desire takes over the empathy, if that makes sense ...

I think part of the problem is that the lure of doing what she wants, often means more to her than the inevitable punishment. If she wants to do something, she wants to do it, and will accept (almost readily) the punishment that she knows will come her way.

I'm not sure how to explain it properly, but an example would be to climb up and walk along a 6ft high wall - she will be told not to do it as she could fall and get hurt ...she'll falter and we'll warn her that if she continues to climb, she'll be in bother - she'll still climb and then take the punishment for doing what she's been told not to do because the doing the thing meant more to her than the getting hurt/punished <sigh>

I think the stealing thing is an extention to this ...I just don't know how to stop it sad

The family meeting is a good idea - we'll definitely give that a go smile

AnotherPhase Thu 03-Jan-13 10:24:56


Anyone else with any experience/advice?

Elibean Thu 03-Jan-13 18:11:34

My eldest is just 9, and is not generally dishonest at all....but will tell 'easy' lies these days, to avoid getting into trouble or to get her own way.

I tend to build trust consequences in when she does it - try and teach her that the more she tells the truth, the more I will trust her with the things she really wants to do (ie independence linked stuff, walking to the sweet shop alone on a saturday morning etc). I try and make it a positive goal (ie tell the truth=reward) rather than a negative one, but its hard as it drives me nuts!

She's only stolen once, as far as I know, and that was petty cash from the pot we keep in the kitchen - we just let her know how shocked we were, and how not ok it was. She was shocked by our reaction, as part of her had either not known, or had pushed away (more likely!) the fact that it was stealing. I don't think she's done it since. The key, for her, is to really feel the reality - its very easy for her to blow things off, but once she's really felt them they become real iyswim.

The most powerful tool I have in boundary setting these days, now she is all hormonal and angsty at times, is to sit her down and talk to her with dh. I know this isn't possible for everyone, and its not always possible for me - obviously - but when we do it, it has more than twice the effect of just one of us imposing discipline/discussing.

I would also try asking her what good feeling she gets from taking things that are not hers - especially from her sister - does she feel hard done by in some way?? It may not be rational, but getting her to think about her motives is probably good practice smile

'Tweens' are tricky, I'm discovering....I wish I could magic up a 'tween girl parenting course' on my doorstep at the moment...

AnotherPhase Fri 04-Jan-13 00:40:21

Thanks elibean

Yes, very tricky sad

Thanks for your advice. You make some really interesting points ...particularly the motives and making it real. Lots to think about ...thank you.

zipzap Fri 04-Jan-13 01:02:51

Whilst my dc are younger and I haven't yet! had to deal with this, reading your post, a key point that struck me was about her being happy to do something she's been told not to do and being fine about taking the punishment because she is happy to pay the punishment 'cost' in order to do the bad thing.

It sounded like she almost justifies it to herself as ok because she knows she is going to get punished, the punishment won't be too bad and therefore you are ok with it.

Could you really really up the punishments for a while - find something that she really really doesn't want to give up or do - so that she isn't prepared to pay the 'cost' of the naughty thing?

Or next time she is naughty - with appropriate warnings obviously - instead of taking something relatively small away from her, take everything (loved things, unloved things, privileges, nice things, even tv watching and book reading and game playing and seeing friends) away from her. Then she can earn things back from you as suggested above by being rewarded for being truthful - getting things back quite quickly to start with to show it is possible to get them back, but in the order that you want her to have them rather than the order that she wants them, and the possibility of losing everything there again?

Severe I know but sounds like you need to do something dramatic to make a difference as usual punishments haven't worked.

Could you also in a family meeting find out what she is thinking when she is doing something that you don't want her to that you think is dangerous (taking the walking along the wall example) and find out why she thinks you are telling her not to do something, why she thinks she is going to be ok doing it etc as it sounds like she isn't as risk aware as she should be - or is having inappropriate reactions to that risk (ie I want to try it rather than I don't want to get hurt) and see if you can understand what is making that side of her tick? Also ask her what she would say to you if she saw you doing something that she knew to be dangerous - say crossing a train track when she could see the train coming but you couldn't - and what she would do... would she warn you, join you, let you get into danger, panic if she thought you were going to get run down, and find out how she thinks you ought to tell her to stop doing things when you know them to be dangerous but she doesn't.

Finally - do you know any friendly policemen that could give her a scary talking to about stealing stuff?!

AnotherPhase Sat 05-Jan-13 22:21:43

I definitely think you're right with the justifying things zipzap and removing loved items is definitely my next move.

I don't know any policemen so can't use that.

I'm constantly trying to get her to think of consequences and how her actions make others feel ...she makes the right noises but I'm not convinced she's really taking me seriously sad

She's basically a really good kid and I'm so hoping she'll grow out of all this ...

AnotherPhase Sat 05-Jan-13 22:22:37

...thank you for your reply smile

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