Subject: 10 year old daughter lying and stealing
Question: I am very concerned about my 10 year old daughter. She is very bright and in the gifted program in school. Up until the past month or so she has never had anything below a B paper. About a month ago, my neighbor and I discovered that our daughers (same age and friends) had been looking up inappropriate (porn) sites on my daughters computer. About the same time I was missing my American Express card.
She claimed she hadn't seen it. She has brought home (and hidden) three F papers and two D's. Of course, I discovered them. When I called American Express, they informed me that my card had been used on ITunes, and I then went to her playroom and found the card in a drawer in her desk. The following Saturday she stole 38 figurines from a neighbors yard sale (who is the same mother of her best friend), she stole all of her friends $ out of her purse when she came over for a sleepover, she stole make-up from the teenage sister of another friend while attending a sleepover at her house a few weeks ago, and stole some personal items from that friend as well. I panicked and had a police detective friend pay her a visit, and she seemed to show no remorse and didn't blink an eye until the detective told her to "pack a bag....you're going to detention for awhile". The tears lasted for all of 10 minutes. I have taken her TV out of her bedroom and locked her playroom, where her computer and electronic equipment is kept. She is grounded, is missing her best friends birthday party and I even spanked her when I discovered the figurines in her purse (Which I never do.) Except for the spanking, she never cried or batted an eye. I am very concerned and have an appointment with a therapist.
Some background.....her father committed suicide when she was three years old. I put her in therapy then and the therapist said she was fine.....and she was until now. I remarried a man she adored, but subsequently that ended in divorce in 2004. He has been an active part of her life, but recently got a job that requires alot of travel. I am a realtor and have a home office, but am on the phone and computer quite a bit. I am very concerned that this has come about so suddenly, and if it were another child, I would probably suspect some sort of sexual abuse, but she hasn't been in any situations in the past few months where there was even a question. Plus, both the detective and I questioned her and she denies it. I am very afraid that my smart, sweet, beautiful little girl will end up a felon or on drugs or pregnant at 14. Please give me some insight, if you can.
Answer: Dear Doris:
I doubt you will want to hear this answer. When I was reading your email, I could not get over you SPANKING a 10 year old! What were you thinking? I strongly suggest you read the literature and other information on nospank.net. Hopefully you realize now, IT DID NOT WORK.
It sound to me like she is reacting to: "I remarried a man she adored, but subsequently that ended in divorce in 2004. He has been an active part of her life, but recently got a job that requires alot of travel."
Relationships with our children are being built from the time they are born. The type of relationship we choose to build with our children really shows the results when they are teenagers.
There is another possibility as well. Have you asked her if anything is going on at school. If anyone has bothered her or if she has had something happen to her?
I didn't notice you mentioning alot of your listening to her and finding out what is going on in her head, rather sounds like there was more lecturing than communicating.
I apologize as I am sure my tone sounds rather rough, I highly disapprove of spanking as a parenting technique as it only undermines a parents relationship with their child.
I will say I am sorry you are going through this as I can hear the fear you have she may headed down the wrong track. Please curb your fears as she is not that far gone yet. I think counseling is a VERY good idea as she is obviously very young to be acting out like this and the cause needs to be brought up and out where she can learn to deal with it.
Also, begin to build your relationship with her by praising her when you catch her doing something right. I am a firm believer that when we give them too much negative attention for negative behavior we will get MORE negative behavior.
AND find times to just communicate doing something she loves to do. Find a way to listen to her without reacting to anything she says. It is important to do more listening than talking as she will begin to rely on you more than her friends. LISTENING is a major parenting tool in raising children.
Parenting is the greatest challenge any of us will ever face in our lives and the most rewarding.
M Kay Keller
Spanking is in my professional opinion sexual abuse. While I understand a great many people do not agree this does not make it so.