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My kid cannot stop lying and stealing


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I've posted about this before, but it just isn't getting better. I'm so frustrated! My dd (almost 7) gets caught in some kind of lie several times a day. She is constantly sneaking things she shouldn't have (usually treats of some kind, but sometimes things like my nail polish or jewelry that she knows she isn't supposed to have).

 

We've tried a million things. When she sneaks a treat, we make her pay us for it out of her money. I've had talks with her about trust, the benefits of being trusted, and how lying or sneaking makes it hard to for me to trust her, etc. She's the kind of kid who LOVES to please us. To our faces, she's the ideal child. But behind our backs, she's doing whatever the heck she wants and then lying about it.

 

What do we do??? I know people who withhold consequences as long as their kid tells the truth, but I think that's crazy. You can't just do whatever you want and then come clean and get away with it. But I've also heard that if the consequences are too much, it just pushes the kid to become better at lying so they don't get caught next time. I'm just totally lost. Nothing we do is even making a dent in this behavior.

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I'm going to just ask some questions:

 

Is her diet restricted?  Does she have access to healthy treats?  Does she have access to protein so that she doesn't crave sweets or carbs?  Is she bored?  Does she have access to some jewelry or nail polish or dress up stuff of her own?  Can she use some of your things on special occasions?  

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I'm going to just ask some questions:

 

Is her diet restricted? Does she have access to healthy treats? Does she have access to protein so that she doesn't crave sweets or carbs? Is she bored? Does she have access to some jewelry or nail polish or dress up stuff of her own? Can she use some of your things on special occasions?

I've asked myself all these questions! She has almost unrestricted access to all the food, except things like chocolate chips (which are one of the big problems) and other sweets. But she can have snacks any time she wants. We don't give them a ton of candy, but they get it on holidays and we aren't uptight about them eating it. We have an established dessert night every week, so she knows when to expect it. I give them things they consider treats, like pudding, graham crackers, occasional fruit snacks, etc. She has her own nail polish and lip gloss, which I gave to her because I know she loves them. And I definitely let her borrow my stuff when she asks (I'm not too attached to it--it's the feeling of being violated that I have a problem with).

 

I honestly just feel like it's never enough. No matter what we give her, she wants to take more.

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I'm going to just ask some questions:

 

Is her diet restricted?  Does she have access to healthy treats?  Does she have access to protein so that she doesn't crave sweets or carbs?  Is she bored?  Does she have access to some jewelry or nail polish or dress up stuff of her own?  Can she use some of your things on special occasions?  

These are almost the exact questions I was going to ask.  

 

For a week straight I would find my 5 year old using the computer first thing in the morning, not really doing anything but moving icons around.  He knows full well that he has to ask before using any electronics.  I've never once caught him turning netflix on without asking, or using my tablet without asking.  After the 5th day I realized it was because he has absolutely no computer time ever.  Now I could easily tell him that the computer is off limits to him and that he'll be punished if caught using it.  But at his age the want to use the computer is stronger than caring about the punishment.  Instead, I told him that he could use his videogame time/tablet time on the weekend as computer time instead if he wanted to.  After that he has only touch the computer on the weekend after asking first.

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I've asked myself all these questions! She has almost unrestricted access to all the food, except things like chocolate chips (which are one of the big problems) and other sweets. But she can have snacks any time she wants. We don't give them a ton of candy, but they get it on holidays and we aren't uptight about them eating it. We have an established dessert night every week, so she knows when to expect it. I give them things they consider treats, like pudding, graham crackers, occasional fruit snacks, etc. She has her own nail polish and lip gloss, which I gave to her because I know she loves them. And I definitely let her borrow my stuff when she asks (I'm not too attached to it--it's the feeling of being violated that I have a problem with).

 

I honestly just feel like it's never enough. No matter what we give her, she wants to take more.

hmm thats tough.  Its hard to give advice about this because I can't see into your house.  She may be craving attention, just trying to test boundaries, have an actual issue where therapy is needed, etc.  But without knowing more about your family dynamics its hard to give advice.

 

Have you discussed this with her when she hasn't just got caught?

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One of my kids went through a period like this. I did that tomato-staking thing (without all the controversial parts of it, LOL). If I couldn't trust the kid out of my sight, the kid had to stay with me at all times. At All Times. This gets very old for a kid very fast. When you release kid (after whatever initial period you deem appropriate), you let out the time and distance slowly, checking and praising, etc. It worked here anyway. This is a kid who pushes limits, so I have to be firm and consistent. 

 

We also read The Boy Who Cried Wolf a lot. When there was a problem in the house, I asked this kid first. Kid was always implicated first. All eyes went to this kid. This was discussed as something only the kid could control. That got old too. It worked itself out. 

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I think I'd have her evaluated for attention, impulse and executive function deficits. 

 

I'd look at the structure of your home too. She may be a kid who a specific sets of rules that you always stick too. I'm not sure what is making me think this, except one of my kids needed that--he was highly gifted, but had a long list of diagnoses: sensory integration deficits, ADD, exec function, .... more. He never took things, but taking things is symptom of somethingelse. 

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I strongly suggest a therapist. This might be beyond just pushing limits, or not, but it wouldn't hurt to get an outside opinion.

 

I have a sister who lied and stole at a very young age and I know that my mother truly regrets not getting my sister help when she was younger. To be fair, it wasn't particularly common to get children psychological help in those days so I am not sure where she could have gone. My mom tried everything that everyone suggested, but she never went to a professional until my sister was well into her teens. By then it was far to late to make any sort of real change. The family patterns were set and things had become totally dysfunctional. Dysfunctional is putting it mildly.

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Is she like this with other people? Has she ever stolen from someone you were visiting? Does she pick things up in stores?

  

 

No to all of this.

 

 

Have you discussed this with her when she hasn't just got caught?

Yes. The real discussions happen after I have calmed down. (Lying offends the heck out of me, so I'm really not a good parent for this.)

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Personally, I wouldn't go the therapy or evaluation route until I tried tomato staking. I do have a kid I think is ADD, and it is not the same kid. The ADD kid wouldn't lie to save his life, and seems to have some awesome karmic beliefs about stealing. :lol: I was a Social Worker in a previous life, and I think evaluation and therapy are awesome tools, but I wouldn't jump into them as a first course of action with fairly typical childhood behavior. 

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So, I just found this article: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/why-do-children-lie-00100000064184/

 

It says this: "One study at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, that observed kids at home found that some four-year-olds lied once every two hours; some six-year-olds lied at a clip of every 90 minutes. Lying typically peaks between the ages of 6 and 10; it decreases as kids grow older and start to understand the consequences of lying and the likelihood of getting busted."

 

This article does make her behavior seem less than pathological. I'm treating it like a serious moral breach, and maybe at her age, that isn't entirely fair. The last page of the article discusses when to be concerned, and she isn't there yet. She doesn't do it outside our house or lie to people other than me, and she definitely, definitely feels bad when she gets busted (it's far from callous or unemotional).

 

I like the idea of tomato staking to communicate to her the consequences of not being trustworthy.

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One of my kids went through a period like this. I did that tomato-staking thing (without all the controversial parts of it, LOL). If I couldn't trust the kid out of my sight, the kid had to stay with me at all times. At All Times. This gets very old for a kid very fast. When you release kid (after whatever initial period you deem appropriate), you let out the time and distance slowly, checking and praising, etc. It worked here anyway. This is a kid who pushes limits, so I have to be firm and consistent. 

 

We also read The Boy Who Cried Wolf a lot. When there was a problem in the house, I asked this kid first. Kid was always implicated first. All eyes went to this kid. This was discussed as something only the kid could control. That got old too. It worked itself out.

We also tomato staked to help a child who had problems with lying, and I think it was probably very similar to what you describe here. It worked!

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This is probably something obvious and maybe you've already asked, but have you tried asking her why or maybe engaging her in a conversation about it that doesn't lead down the punishment/consequences route. Granted she may not be able to tell you (and she may not be aware of the why), but it might be worth a shot to try and draw her out. This can be easier said than done when in the heat of the moment, so maybe try and pick a moment where you're well rested and things are even keel between you and your dd. Maybe make a pot of tea (or hot chocolate) and spend some quality time together first before approaching the topic. Sometimes coming at the situation sideways can get better results than the direct approach.

 

At this point, based upon what you've mentioned in your posts, I don't think escalting punishment/consequences is the answer - and I get the feeling you agree or you wouldn't be posting. If I wasn't able to draw the child out to try and uncover the motivation on my own, then I'd definitely be looking into counseling. Maybe as another poster suggested there's an underlying issue with something like executive function. Bringing in an outside person might bring some of these (or other issues) to light that might go a long way towards resolving the problem.

 

Just a thought. I'm not a medical professional nor do I play one on TV, but at this point what do you have to lose by trying?

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So, I just found this article: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/why-do-children-lie-00100000064184/

 

It says this: "One study at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, that observed kids at home found that some four-year-olds lied once every two hours; some six-year-olds lied at a clip of every 90 minutes. Lying typically peaks between the ages of 6 and 10; it decreases as kids grow older and start to understand the consequences of lying and the likelihood of getting busted."

 

This article does make her behavior seem less than pathological. I'm treating it like a serious moral breach, and maybe at her age, that isn't entirely fair. The last page of the article discusses when to be concerned, and she isn't there yet. She doesn't do it outside our house or lie to people other than me, and she definitely, definitely feels bad when she gets busted (it's far from callous or unemotional).

 

I like the idea of tomato staking to communicate to her the consequences of not being trustworthy.

 

Yeah, I vote not pathological. Your DD has made a habit out of it though, and you are right that it needs to be addressed. I recommend being as cool as possible when dealing with her—calm like a monk and matter-of-fact. I would be careful to avoid any language that might make her internalize the label of liar/thief. I would often say to my kid, in the midst of whatever the trouble was, "You are a great kid! A sweet, considerate, thoughtful kid. This is not who you are. Make better choices." Definitely try to separate the behavior from the kid.

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This is probably something obvious and maybe you've already asked, but have you tried asking her why or maybe engaging her in a conversation about it that doesn't lead down the punishment/consequences route. Granted she may not be able to tell you (and she may not be aware of the why), but it might be worth a shot to try and draw her out. This can be easier said than done when in the heat of the moment, so maybe try and pick a moment where you're well rested and things are even keel between you and your dd. Maybe make a pot of tea (or hot chocolate) and spend some quality time together first before approaching the topic. Sometimes coming at the situation sideways can get better results than the direct approach.

 

 

I think her motives are very simple--she wants the candy, she knows I'll say no if she asks, but she also doesn't want me to get upset, so she just takes it and then hides the evidence (in dumb places--she's not a very sophisticated thief).

 

I like/need the advice to avoid labels and to instead tell her to behave like the good kid I know she is. Taking notes over here. I honestly worry that we have been taking it TOO seriously and treating it like a much bigger problem than it is, thereby actually making it bigger--making it into a grave moral problem that we need to deal with or she's heading for juvy.

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I think her motives are very simple--she wants the candy, she knows I'll say no if she asks, but she also doesn't want me to get upset, so she just takes it and then hides the evidence (in dumb places--she's not a very sophisticated thief).

 

I like/need the advice to avoid labels and to instead tell her to behave like the good kid I know she is. Taking notes over here. I honestly worry that we have been taking it TOO seriously and treating it like a much bigger problem than it is, thereby actually making it bigger--making it into a grave moral problem that we need to deal with or she's heading for juvy.

 

LOL

 

I'm not naming any names, but it helps to deal with it if the parent has some experience being a Liar, Liar, Pants-on-Fire herself as a child. :lol: I'm guessing that wasn't you? :tongue_smilie:

 

Personal experience was a big help, I will admit. In fact, one of my favorite parenting techniques is to tell my kids stories of how I did the exact same thing they are in trouble for. It seems I've got a story for everything...except for some of the boys' escapades. Boys are weird. ;)

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tomato staking. She has to stay right.next.to.you all.day.long (except for bathroom breaks, of course!). This gives you many opportunities to talk with her as you go about your day, although both of you will find it awkward to begin with.

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No to all of this.

 

 

Yes. The real discussions happen after I have calmed down. (Lying offends the heck out of me, so I'm really not a good parent for this.)

I mean have you ever discussed it with her when it has nothing to do with her actually doing it.  Like on a random afternoon where you know she hasn't done anything.

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I think her motives are very simple--she wants the candy, she knows I'll say no if she asks, but she also doesn't want me to get upset, so she just takes it and then hides the evidence (in dumb places--she's not a very sophisticated thief).

 

I like/need the advice to avoid labels and to instead tell her to behave like the good kid I know she is. Taking notes over here. I honestly worry that we have been taking it TOO seriously and treating it like a much bigger problem than it is, thereby actually making it bigger--making it into a grave moral problem that we need to deal with or she's heading for juvy.

Ok, so on the subject of telling illustrative stories...I have a kid that's a rather poor loser. I assumed his motivation was that he felt stupid or frustrated, but come to find out he's embarassed when he loses which expresses as anger, because the anger part is more acceptable to express. The anger is still there, but it's secondary to the embarassment. In my case, I could assume the problem is the anger (or feeling stupid) and address that emotion until the cows come home, but it won't stop the emotional outburst because it doesn't touch on the root cause...the embarassment.

 

So, I guess my point is, rather than assigning her motivation or assuming you know why, it might be more productive to ask. Even better if you can work on the relational side because sometimes when my kids are acting up, we start butting heads and get in a negative feedback loop. Once you get into that loop, it's hard to get out of it and doubly hard to get kids to listen to you. I can't speak for all parents, but I can tend to, in that situation, reflexively pull away and choose to escalate punishment, when the reality is the better solution would be the opposite of my gut reaction.

 

As for the heading to juvenile hall...odds are your child is not a pathological liar and budding thief who is only one chocolate chip away from arrest. There probably is a reason, the trick is working your way in to find it.

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Just want to say I have one like this.  It was worst when she was a young 6.  Now if she does it it's rare, but that is because she is afraid of consequences, not because she doesn't want to steal/sneak.  She told me this straight out.  I feel clueless, but I am hoping that this is something she will grow out of.  She is 7.5.

 

Part of it is that she gets addicted to sugar.  After having a lot of it, she needs to go into detox.  Her chiropractor also says she develops some kind of subluxation that makes her crave sugar intensely, so she adjusts that from time to time.  Things are better.

 

I remember stealing when I was a kid.  I recall an incident at  6 and a bunch of them at 9 and then some more at 11 or 12.  At that point I developed a conscience and became a prude.  Since my daughter is a lot like me, she will probably end up a prude too, but I would like it to happen sooner rather than later.  :/

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I think her motives are very simple--she wants the candy, she knows I'll say no if she asks, but she also doesn't want me to get upset, so she just takes it and then hides the evidence (in dumb places--she's not a very sophisticated thief).

 

I like/need the advice to avoid labels and to instead tell her to behave like the good kid I know she is. Taking notes over here. I honestly worry that we have been taking it TOO seriously and treating it like a much bigger problem than it is, thereby actually making it bigger--making it into a grave moral problem that we need to deal with or she's heading for juvy.

Yes, at 7 it really isn't a serious offense since it is a very common time for sneaking around and lying to start.  Handling it too harshly generally results in the child figuring out how to be better and sneaking around and lying.  I agree with tomato staking.  Its a lot of work but can really be helpful if you are consistent with it.  I would also highly suggest frequently talk about the issue when she hasn't done it.  Don't discuss it in an accusatory way but in a matter of fact kind of way.  See if she realizes why she can not have everything she wants right when she wants it and explain the proper times for some things.  

 

Also consider changing the way you answer her questions. Ex.  can I have this candy?  Don't just say "no."  Say, "Not today because you already had xyz and too many sweet can make your stomach hurt... or no because we'll need the chocolate chips for baking later this (week, month, etc.)   

 

You might even consider allowing her to pick chocolate chips on dessert night instead of whatever you are serving.  This gives her the option of having a sweet she doesn't normally get and the knowledge that she'll get it later that week might help her control her impulses while you work with her on fixing the underlying problem.

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Just want to say I have one like this.  It was worst when she was a young 6.  Now if she does it it's rare, but that is because she is afraid of consequences, not because she doesn't want to steal/sneak.  She told me this straight out.  I feel clueless, but I am hoping that this is something she will grow out of.  She is 7.5.

 

Part of it is that she gets addicted to sugar.  After having a lot of it, she needs to go into detox.  Her chiropractor also says she develops some kind of subluxation that makes her crave sugar intensely, so she adjusts that from time to time.  Things are better.

 

I remember stealing when I was a kid.  I recall an incident at  6 and a bunch of them at 9 and then some more at 11 or 12.  At that point I developed a conscience and became a prude.  Since my daughter is a lot like me, she will probably end up a prude too, but I would like it to happen sooner rather than later.  :/

Off topic, but this is me!!! Right now I have an uncontrollable urge to eat sugars. Perfect timing since Easter was 2 days ago :cursing:  You would be disgusted to know how much I've had since Sunday. Even when my stomach feels like its going to burst my brain still tells me I need more sugar. This sugar addiction isn't usually this bad but when it gets bad it last for about a week or so.  Then I force myself to detox and that withdrawal is always murder!  Still trying to figure out what is causing these urges.

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Lying and sneaking are normal for most kids at this age. I was a very sneaky liar as a child. It still makes me come undone. It's really hard to deal with.

I have a kid who is very sneaky, has an honesty problem,  eats nonfood items, and is unnaturally crafty. The only things that help are tomato staking and baby gates. If he is always right with me, and has limited access to anything that is off-limits, he might be ok. 

 

Don't I remember you posting about this child before? And tomato staking was recommended? Maybe it was someone else. Have you tried it before?

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She is in a negative pattern and needs help breaking it.

 

What I would do:

 

Get rid of chocolate chips for awhile. Get rid of anything that can be seen as a treat to be sneaked and lied about. Remove the temptation for the time it takes to break this habit, about a month.

 

Do not ask why. There are no satisfying answers to this question for a kid this age.

 

Put under lock and key your jewelry and nail polish or take to locking your bedroom door. You do not have to say why. Just lock it.

 

See what happens. :)

 

My gut is that the above will cause a disruption in this habit. Since your dd does not take things from other people and only does it at home, I would not yet view it as a character issue. A developing character issue? Yes. But it does not sound like you are too far down that path.

 

(This is a slightly unconventional approach but I think it has a more than fair chance at working with no harm to your dd's sense of self or your relationship.)

 

For what it is worth, my child who wants the most to please me is the one most likely to lie. This one does not want to disappoint me, after all.

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Well, this will not be a popular answer, but, I would just let her have a small handful of chocolate chips after dinner or lunch every day.  And play dress up with her often, so she can wear your jewelry under your supervision and get her nails painted by mom. 

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Well, this will not be a popular answer, but, I would just let her have a small handful of chocolate chips after dinner or lunch every day. And play dress up with her often, so she can wear your jewelry under your supervision and get her nails painted by mom.

This is not a bad approach, either. :)

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Just asking: is she your biological child?

 

A few other thoughts. It could very well be within normal range for her age, particularly if a chemical predisposition "fuels" the sugar monster.

 

And it doesn't have to be at pathological level to get outside help. Sometimes the objective interaction provided by outside help is all that's needed for an assist - the dynamic of baffled child and frustrated parent can create barriers to change.

There are some good ideas in this thread worth trying in conjunction with professional help or as a different response.

 

One "thing" - you mentioned it being stupid that some parents advocate a child "getting away with it." Here's the thing - no amount of punishment or consequences matures them into another developmental phase. You can't *accelerate* their learning curve. Think about it - you've tried and it is not working either. I'm fully convinced that a significant percentage of what we do to kids in response to behavior is just "filler" until they outgrow the behavior we think our punishment is working to extinguish.

 

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So, I just found this article: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/why-do-children-lie-00100000064184/

 

It says this: "One study at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, that observed kids at home found that some four-year-olds lied once every two hours; some six-year-olds lied at a clip of every 90 minutes. Lying typically peaks between the ages of 6 and 10; it decreases as kids grow older and start to understand the consequences of lying and the likelihood of getting busted."

 

This article does make her behavior seem less than pathological. I'm treating it like a serious moral breach, and maybe at her age, that isn't entirely fair. The last page of the article discusses when to be concerned, and she isn't there yet. She doesn't do it outside our house or lie to people other than me, and she definitely, definitely feels bad when she gets busted (it's far from callous or unemotional).

 

I like the idea of tomato staking to communicate to her the consequences of not being trustworthy.

 

Hmm, that's interesting. I would have expected it to peak a little earlier than that. My youngest dd was 7 when we had her tested for learning disabilities, and I remember the psychologist asking if she lies or steals. I responded yes, but she doesn't seem to understand the ramifications or "wrongness" of those things yet.  I remember that "We always tell the truth" and "We have to ask before we use something that belongs to someone else" were like mantras in our home.  We just repeated them ad nauseum, and eventually she understood and stopped.

 

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:huh: Two for two of my dc were never sneaky liars.

:iagree:

 

My ds was never a liar, a thief, or a sneak. He has always been a very honest kid.

 

Frankly, I would be very concerned if my 7yo was doing the things Bucolic has described, and I don't blame her for being worried about it.

 

I'm sorry, but I don't think lying, sneaking, and stealing are "normal," particularly when these things are occurring on a regular basis and there is seemingly no particular reason why Bucolic's dd is doing them.

 

I'm not suggesting that she's a bad kid, but she has somehow developed some very bad and entirely unacceptable habits that could get her into real trouble if she continues with them.

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Three out of my four are not sneaky liars either. But most kids fudge the truth and maybe help themselves to things that are not rightfully theirs once or twice around this age.

The thing is, Bucolic isn't talking about something that has only happened once or twice. That's what concerns me.

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:huh: Two for two of my dc were never sneaky liars.

  

:iagree:

My ds was never a liar, a thief, or a sneak. He has always been a very honest kid.

Frankly, I would be very concerned if my 7yo was doing the things Bucolic has described, and I don't blame her for being worried about it.

I'm sorry, but I don't think lying, sneaking, and stealing are "normal," particularly when these things are occurring on a regular basis and there is seemingly no particular reason why Bucolic's dd is doing them.

I'm not suggesting that she's a bad kid, but she has somehow developed some very bad and entirely unacceptable habits that could get her into real trouble if she continues with them.

They are not normal behaviors as in every child does them to the same extent as Bucolic's DD (or my kid, for that matter), just normal behaviors as in this behavior falls within a range of normal. There are ranges of normal for every behavior, and having a larger sample size is certainly helpful. Two out of three of my kids do/did not have this problem. The one who did grew out of the behavior with some active parenting. This is a good kid, my most empathetic and, these days, almost stunningly mature for age. I shudder to think where we would be if I had taken a pathological view of the behavior instead of recognizing it as a stage that some kids go through.

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My oldest is like this. He steals treats a lot. And nothing is enough for him, either. He doesn't take one granola bar. He takes 5 and eats them all. He eats more junk food than I would like him to, so that's not the reason. He lies a lot, too. Although he is a terrible liar, and a terrible thief. He always gets caught. He is the type of kid who lives in the moment. He doesn't have a lot of thought for the future, even the immediate future. He is improving, though. He's 11. He definitely knows it is wrong and I believe is genuinely remorseful. He lies, but he is not manipulative. He doesn't know how to mask or conceal or fake his emotions. What you see is what is there, so if he acts sorry, he is. Lately he's been confessing, even before he gets caught. He does have problems with impulse control, but we do work on it. I don't have any answers for you. My own reactions to him have been less than stellar because I can put up with other stuff, but dishonesty.... I just really get mad about that.

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The thing is, Bucolic isn't talking about something that has only happened once or twice. That's what concerns me.

I am not excusing the behavior. But IMO it's not necessarily a Big Deal. It's more a practical matter,and an area which needs to be addressed.

 

Behaviors exist on a continuum. Some children will tell a half-truth, be racked with guilt and never speak anything but truth ever again. Some kids will have years of poor impulse control, unclear personal boundaries, and dishonesty. Some adults still struggle with honesty.

 

Turning this into a Defining Moment in this child's life is unlikely to help her along.

 

Bucolic, you do sound like you might be feeling out of your depth with this child. If that's the case, perhaps professional help is warranted. Ditto if there are other, additional concerns, medical, psychological, or developmental. 

 

I hope that no one takes my comments to mean that this behavior, at the level it's being described, is typical. It isn't. But IMO it's not indicative of a serious mental or spiritual defect either. Let's not all get too worked up over this.

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Three out of my four are not sneaky liars either. But most kids fudge the truth and maybe help themselves to things that are not rightfully theirs once or twice around this age. 

 

Children of any age might fudge the truth and help themselves to things that are not rightfully theirs.  I don't believe in blaming inappropriate behavior on age, and I don't like saying that anyone is a "sneaky liar" because he fudged the truth or helped himself to something that wasn't his.

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We have had these issues with ds. I'm sure is a way different case then your dd (because of his background), but I can tell you what has started to help us some. Only ask about an offense if you have to. This cuts down on lying. If you know she took the choc. chips, then just say "dd, you took choc chips without asking. insert repercussion here."

 

If I have to ask to get a feel for what actually happened and ds lies to me, I can read his body language well and will know it. In this type of case I allow there to be an uncomfortable pause of silence from me and give him the opportunity to have his say. Then I tell him something along the lines of: "why don't you go take a few minutes and think about your answer. I think you need a do-over. When you are ready, then you come and find me. Then we will re-do this conversation as though it hasn't happened yet."  For whatever reason, this has been working. I keep my word and pretend as though the lie didn't happen, provided that the 2nd time is the truth. The phrase do-over seems to be magic to ds. His first impulse is to lie first (almost every time), but this particular method has helped him to stop cascading lies.

 

When he comes to me the 2nd time with the truth, I always  make sure to let him know, honestly, that I am glad that he told me the truth and that I know how hard it can be or something that is sincere and positive. Depending on the situation, there is sometimes a consequence and sometimes not.

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I have an 8yo daughter that has pretty much the exact same behaviors. And we've had very similar responses and results. If I told you some of the lengths she's gone to in order to sneak treats, you'd probably laugh until you realizes that she's been doing it for probably five years. I wish I had a great answer for you or something that we've done that solved it all. Unfortunately I don't. And it's really frustrating to find melted eskimo pies under the couch or no chocolate chips for the cookies. At this point we just don't buy anything we consider treats anymore. I can't hide them well enough and I don't want to feed (haha) the excitement I think she feels when she finds something. 

 

When I do start buying chocolate chips or ice cream again, I'll show them to her, tell her why I'm buying them (ie, Dad's bday is tomorrow, we want to have ice cream and celebrate him), and accept that she might eat them. My hope is that the excitement will be gone and she'll just let them be. I don't know if that'll work, but I do know that what we've tried hasn't worked and it has hurt our relationship. So, we're doing this now and hoping for the best. But it worries me terribly about the future and bigger temptations than the ice cream in the freezer. I wish I could tell you how we solved the problem, but we haven't yet. We're just hoping she continues to grow and leaves it behind.  Good luck.

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I am not excusing the behavior. But IMO it's not necessarily a Big Deal. It's more a practical matter,and an area which needs to be addressed.

 

Behaviors exist on a continuum. Some children will tell a half-truth, be racked with guilt and never speak anything but truth ever again. Some kids will have years of poor impulse control, unclear personal boundaries, and dishonesty. Some adults still struggle with honesty.

 

Turning this into a Defining Moment in this child's life is unlikely to help her along.

 

Bucolic, you do sound like you might be feeling out of your depth with this child. If that's the case, perhaps professional help is warranted. Ditto if there are other, additional concerns, medical, psychological, or developmental.

 

I hope that no one takes my comments to mean that this behavior, at the level it's being described, is typical. It isn't. But IMO it's not indicative of a serious mental or spiritual defect either. Let's not all get too worked up over this.

I don't think anyone has suggested that this is some sort of "defining moment," nor did anyone imply that it was a "serious mental of spiritual defect." I know I certainly didn't.

 

My feeling was that Bucolic seems to be at her wit's end trying to come up with a solution and nothing she has tried is working, so this is definitely beyond a typical kid sneaking a few treats or telling a fib every now and then.

 

Her dd sounds like an otherwise adorable and sweet little girl. But I can definitely understand why Bucolic is worried about her seeming inability to stop lying and stealing.

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LOL You are one lucky lady if your DS has always corrected his negative behaviors after being corrected only once or twice. :lol:

I have to admit that I have been extremely lucky with my ds. I'd like to take credit for it, but it's really just his personality.

 

But I was actually responding to this specific post by strawberrymama when she mentioned "once or twice" --

 

Three out of my four are not sneaky liars either. But most kids fudge the truth and maybe help themselves to things that are not rightfully theirs once or twice around this age.

 

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Two is hardly a pattern or large sample size.

 

I don't have any sneaky kids but again, I only have the two.

 

No, it isn't. But when I take into consideration the number of friends I have who have children, I have a much larger sampling. I can't think of any of them who described their children of being sneaky liars when they were almost 6.

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Well, you never know. I tend not to share my stuff with other adults of the type who would call my young kids names such as "sneaky liars" instead of showing some empathy and maybe helping me brainstorm solutions without contemptuous judgment. But that's just me.

 

I'm confused. Are you saying that I am being contemptuous and judging? Because my first comment was to suggest tomato staking, and subsequently took issue with others who said that it was common for children of that age to be sneaky liars. Just want to be clear.

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