11 year old daughter stealing(42 Posts)
I am at my wits end. My daughter has always been quite sneaky and been caught out taking sweets, biscuits etc over the years and when clearing her room I have found wrappers hidden under her bed, she says she sorry and won’t do it again.
Then I found she had taken a top off her friend and also a dummy off my brothers new baby, very strange as to why!
We found it all in her room. When asked why she said because she’s stupid and dumb and I feel that she tries to make us feel sorry for her and gets really upset. This was 6 month ago and I’ve just discovered she is taking money from my purse and buying sweets from the shop. She also took my birthday sweets and ate them all. I wouldn’t mind we have lots of sweets in from Halloween!
I am so angry that she’s stealing, last time we punished her by making her give the items back and also doing jobs to make the money back. I had a serious conversation with her about how serious it was and how disappointed I felt etc. She promised she wouldn’t do it again. And she has. I am so angry but I’ve tried to stay calm and talk to her, explaining that it’s stealing and we all want things but can’t just take things that don’t belong to us. She said she knows but she just gets tempted. Please help I feel like I am failing as a parent and I don’t know where I have gone wrong. Thank you xx
Older children sometimes steal when they're jealous of a sibling who they feel gets more attention. Or if they're being bullied at school or struggling socially.
Could these be things your DD is going through?
They also steal if they feel "hard done by" for example, they feel they don't get enough sweets or pocket money...or that their parents are too strict.
If she referred to herself as "stupid and dumb" I'd be thinking something is amiss at school, or she's feeling excluded in the family.
Hope you sort this out OP, your DDs emotional health is so important. My stepson used to steal, it was a cry for help as he was getting so much crap at school.
Thanks for your replies.
I think she is jealous of her younger brother but she has no reason to be as we have always treated them fairly and in the same way. She does get into much more trouble than he ever has as she is quite deceitful and tells lies whereas he doesn’t. But that’s her own actions not because we treat them differently.
I have asked her about school and I don’t think she is being bullied as she’s always happy to go and comes home happy etc she seems to have quite a few friends.
It is such a worry and an awful stage and I really have no idea how is best to deal with it xx
I can totally relate!!! I am going through the same with my 11 year old. She’s doing it to buy friends maybe something similar??
I think "deceitful" is a strong word to use in relation to an 11 year old OP. Are you CERTAIN you don't treat them differently?
Stealing food was one of the first indications of eating disorders for me and my sister, from the age of around 8. We’d steal sugary foods to eat for comfort. Developed as teens into full anorexia and bulimia. This may not be the case for your dd of course, but just wanted to share in case it’s crossed your mind. Have nc’d.
You don't have to actually treat kids unfairly for them to be convinced that you are unfair. She might feel insecure and then behave badly in order to provoke you into getting angry so that she can say to herself: "You see, I am bad and Mum doesn't love me as much as my brother". This self destructive pattern can happen even if you are scrupulously fair.
In my very limited experience, what helps is building the confidence and showering love on a child who is crying out for attention. At the same time, you can be very firm with her, and keep showing her that you can't let her behave like this.
Red yes it has crossed my mind but only because my neighbour is anorexic, does you have any ideas of how I can prevent that coming or what else to look out for?
Clara thank you I try and make sure I do pay her lots of attention because she definitely has low confidence and is very shy at times thanks for your responses xx
It would definitely seem to be attention seeking behaviour.
Does she sleep well? Eat enough at meal time? etc start with the very basic needs like food (has this changed due to growth spurts) sleep etc and then work up to higher things like own space etc
My son would steal things, food predominantly, and destroy things - toys, his sisters things, a (glass) table, even smashing a double-glazed window by throwing toys at it. As he got older he would swear at me (you fucking bitch was his most-used insult) and his dad (bastard, bastard, fuck off bastard), and his sister (many, many insults).
We saw many professionals with him who all proclaimed there was no problem, it was us as parents. We attended parenting classes (humiliating) three times. Nothing improved. One suggested he was attention seeking, or sibling rivalry.
At late 15, early 16 he was dx as being on the autistic spectrum. We were furious as dx sooner he would have received significant help.
Please note I'm not saying your child is on the ASD spectrum, OP, but just making you aware of our experience. Hope you find a solution x
OP what would have helped us (although you may already do these things/they won’t be relevant):
- really positive modelling by Mum and Dad of eating ‘normally’ (not dieting or binging). We didn’t have family meals often, and they were quite stressful because Dad was strict, so we didn’t see much ‘normal’ eating.
- parents being very relaxed about access to food if we wanted more, and it being out in the open (so no need for secret eating). We weren’t supposed to eat after our dinner and sometimes got told off if we were still hungry, which is hard for children to understand. But obvs keeping a watchful brief for binge eating and perhaps having a chat or suggesting a joint activity eg board game, crafts if it looks like binge eating. Gently teaches that there are other ways to deal with difficult emotions than eating
- having a reasonable amount of access to sugary/junk foods, so they become normal and not exotic or special. As long as meals are healthy and nourishing then there’s not much harm physically for growing kids, imo
- sport and general getting outside doing things as a family. We have a tendency to low mood and anxiety and could have done with blowing the cobwebs away much more frequently. Again, this is also teaching alternative ways of self soothing
- regular 1-on-1 time with parents. My Dad worked away so it was just Mum and three of us and we didn’t get much alone time with her or him. Singular positive attention is really important.
I think also if Mum and Dad had been more aware that we were unhappy and comfort eating rather than thinking we were ‘being naughty’ and gotten earlier intervention that would’ve helped. I would suggest being very gentle and loving with your daughter about this and if this persists then see your GP to talk through what support might be available. Even if it’s not an eating disorder it could be anxiety or needing help to express/manage her emotions.
You’re not failing as a parent at all, btw. You sound thoughtful and loving.
Oh gosh that was long, sorry! Hope it is helpful.
Thank you. Both are very helpful and I will certainly take on board what you have said.
My son often has a full meal like say a Sunday dinner and then asks for toast or cereal straight away and we are like seriously how can you still be hungry. But my daughter doesn’t still want food, she eats quite well apart from veg! But she definitely has a sweet tooth, I think if we didn’t limit her there she would just eat sweets and chocolate all day long. We tell her she can eat treats but once she has eaten her tea (she was going through a stage of going to shop stuffing her face with sweets and rubbish and then not wanting her tea because she was so full) so we stopped that and explained why. God why is parenting so hard as they get older. I thought t would become easier!
Thanks again for your help much appreciated xx
Just wanted to reiterate this point:
You’re not failing as a parent at all, btw. You sound thoughtful and loving.
I wonder if, even if you are treating them fairly, that she feels disadvantaged to DB. I used to pinch money, or I'd pinch sweets or biscs.
But I had quite a lonely life as a child, certainly compared to brothers who were always out and about, much older than me. Thing is if you aren't bubbly, fun, smiley you can get overlooked as you aren't as rewarding to deal with.
If DS is fine then I would lean the other way and favour DD for a bit.
I still envy men and think they have better life options than women!
I am definitely going to try and spend more time with her one to one. I read her messages when she goes to bed and I sometime she her asking her friends do you prefer x or me? Or if a friend says she told x a secret she will say “oh so you prefer x to me then” so she does seem jealous and she is really funny and confident with family but shy in big groups so she does get overlooked. How do I help her overcome this? Do I talk to her about the messages or not and just focus on time with her? xx
Thanks you are all lovely xx
I'd say she seems insecure rather than jealous OP...she needs her confidence building and a lot of positive comments about her.
When you say you read her messages, do you mean on social media? 11 is very young to have a lot of unfettered access and they do need a lot of help using it in ways which won't damage them.
Asking her friends who they like best, won't do her any favours. I think if you mention you've read them, she will possibly feel betrayed if your reading them isn't part of the "deal" surrounding her using social media but saying that...at 11 you should be. I would discuss social media generally with her and mention that you thnk it's best if she comes to you to discuss things such as popularity...
I think that it's very valuable to just shower kids with affection and positivity sometimes....say lovely things to her about her best attributes daily....if you've left it half an hour, then say something again...keep doing it.
Find something she's good at, encourage that...help her to master something. That's very useful for this age group.
She is on whatapp and Instagram only and she does know I read her messages as I told her that was part of the deal, I didn’t want her on it but her dad said it’s ok as long as we monitor it. I’ve told her it’s not real life as she says things such as such a person has 75 likes on her pic etc.
She is really good at maths and her brother struggles so I’ve asked her to help her by spending 10-15 mins a day showing him how to do some sums etc and I’ve really tried to big her up there.
These ideas are great I will give them a go xx
She’s out at the moment and I’ve just been into her room and found some make up that doesn’t belong to her. She stole 2 lipsticks off her auntie about 6 months ago, we went mad, made her give them back and apologise and I’m pretty confident she’s done it again now. Any ideas on how to handle it as I am feeling so angry right now! xx
I'd consider seriously cutting down on her social media. Insta and other social media can be so stressful for girls this age. It's filled with perfect images they can't hope to replicate/
Does she have any hobbies or sports?
I agree with Mrs, there needs to be consequences for her actions. Limiting SM, confiscating her phone, grounding her. Just make sure you apply this across your son too (age appropriate obviously).
Yes she does dancing every Saturday and gymnastics each Friday then some after school clubs with friends. I was thinking of taking her off instagram but what reason would I tell family as I don’t want them all to know she’s stealing. Is WhatsApp as bad? x
Is the stealing secret - so any mention of you speaking to school/ her friends about it might freak her out. Not that you would but you could imply that you are worried she is taking stuff from school friends.
Does she have interests or hobbies outside school? She must get a buzz from pinching stuff, can she get that thrill from something else like sport?
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