Q: I just recently found out my 14-year-old has stolen makeup more than once from different stores. I caught her this past weekend, and she said she did it once, but I went through her bedroom and found makeup stashed in a pillow, and I know I didn’t buy it. She gets straight A's in school, and I thought she was a trustworthy person. I just don’t know what to do.
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Dawn Davenport 0:00
Welcome to this weekend wisdom by creating a family. This is our new short form meaning five to 10 minute segment that it drops on the weekend. Hence the name weekend wisdom, where we answer your questions. Today's question is about handling lying, stealing and cheating. Here's the question. I just recently found out my 14 year old has stolen makeup more than once from different stores. I caught her this past weekend and she said that she didn't want but I went through her bedroom and found makeup stashed in the pillows and I know I didn't buy it. She gets straight A's in school and I thought she was a trustworthy person. I just don't know what to do. Well, first, let me say You aren't alone, you show me a parent who has not dealt with a child that lies, cheats or steals on occasion. And I'm going to show you a parent who's either too busy to notice or is too proud to admit it, or in denial. So all kids at some point tell a lie. And most have on more than one occasion, taking something that didn't belong to them, or moved eight spaces on the game board when the die clearly showed six. I know that I did this as a kid. And I know my own children have done the same. So I think first of all is to realize that it is not uncommon. That doesn't make it okay. We interviewed Kim John Payne, he is a family counselor with 30 years of experience and the author of the book, The soul of discipline, this simplicity parenting approach to warmth, firm and calm guidance. And we talked to him on the creating family podcast about lying, stealing, cheating these really annoying behaviors. And he pointed out that these behaviors, lying, stealing and cheating, tend to peak on what he calls the CUSP beers ages where children are on that developmental threshold approaching the next level. So for example, age six to eight are on the cusp of childhood than it ages nine to 10. They're on the cusp of adolescence, and then ages 14 to 15 are on the cusp of adulthood. Now, just because it's common, and even if it's developmentally appropriate doesn't mean that we should ignore these behaviors. It is in fact our job as parents to help our kiddos develop a moral compass. And that's what we must do for him. One is being aware and in catching him. So without further ado, let me give you eight tips for disciplining, lying, cheating and stealing. First step clearly state that the behavior is not acceptable. For example, we do not steal and our family stayed at firmly and unequivocably. Number two, affirm your child's worth make a distinction between the Act and the person. She told a lie but she is not a liar. In fact, you could even say you aren't a liar or a thief. I know that you usually tell the truth. So affirm her basic or his basic worth three, discover what motivated the behavior? Usually the lie or the stealing is not the whole story. Did she lie about her homework? Because she's overwhelmed by the core knowledge math? Or did she steal her brother's phone? Because he ignored her? Did this daughter in this question, steal the makeup because her mom doesn't allow makeup and isn't buying it and all of her friends are doing it? Or is there some other reason she was trying to fit in with the crowd. So try to look behind the behavior and see what might be motivating it. Number four, give a do over are a way to make it up to the person harmed. Number five, this is obvious don't give your child the opportunity to lie or to steal this is not always an option. But if you know that your child usually has math homework on Mondays, don't ask him when he gets home on Monday, if he has homework. rather ask them to show you his assignment. If you know that she broke the cookie jar asked her to get the broom to clean it up rather than asking if she was the one who broke it. You can't always do that. But you can look for possibilities. And in the case you just said when you find the stolen makeup in the pillows, say to her, we need to take these back to the store. Let's get in the car. Tell me where and we're going to go take them back so that you're addressing, you're not asking did you steal it? You're saying let's we need to make up for this now. Number six. And this one I found particularly true with some of my children and that is give your child time to tell the truth. Many kids, especially those who are maybe a little have slow processing speeds, they need time to think through their options and process the consequences of telling a lie versus telling the truth. Some kids, if rushed will automatically take the path of least resistance and tell the lie. I face that personally. So it helped when I would tell the child that I'm not asking I want you to take the time before you answer. And if you need to say something while you're thinking say I'm not sure, or I don't know, give them something they can say and then don't pressure them and allow them to process. Do I really want to tell this lie? Or do I want to tell the truth? Number seven, reward good behavior. When our kids are going through a lying face, it's easy for this behavior to become our focus. I know it did for me, because, honestly, some of these behaviors are scary to me. They're scary because I attach major moral failures on my child's sake and on my own side, so I made them bigger than they were. Look for opportunities where your child tells the truth and specifically acknowledge that they made the hard choice to be honest, or they didn't cheat, they made the hard choice to not cheat. And you know, me if you've listened to this very long, I love using children's literature to bring home points. So read books and tell stories that include characters that face the hard decision about lying or stealing or cheating. And then tell stories from your own life when you made a mistake. You can also include some bedtime books like The Berenstain Bears that series and they have a couple of books on these topics that my children absolutely love. I'm going to say the ages are anywhere from about five to about 10. But that's kind of rough, many four year olds would like it. When they start getting into adolescence. I think that they think these are too babyish, but just you know your kids. So taken out. Another book you might like is rookie sticky fingers by Julia cooks, again, kind of for the early elementary five to 10 age. Another one is lying up a storm by Julia cook again, same basic age. And another one that I like is healing stories for challenging behaviors by Susan Peru, pe R O W, that one goes a little younger, but they do have anywhere from four to 10. And then there's a spoonful of stories and a dizzy collection of behavior tales for children. And there's two books book one and two. And that's also by Susan Peru. So one thing I do want to pause and note, if you have reason to believe that your child may have been exposed prenatally to alcohol or drugs, you may need to take a different approach to these troubling habits of lying, cheating, and stealing. These are common issues with children and prenatal exposure. And the tried and true tips I've just given you on this weekend. Wisdom honestly may not work. We have lots of information on our website on how to handle these behaviors in prenatally substance exposed kids, both drugs and alcohol. Our website is creating a family.org and you can click on either the adoption foster or the kinship tab and click on the resource topics. And you will see that we have resources for challenging behaviors including these challenging behaviors. I hope this weekend wisdom has been really helpful for you please let other people know about this. And before you go, let me tell you that we've got 12 free courses that we're offering thanks to the support at the jockey being Family Foundation. In the past we've had courses on handling lying, cheating and stealing. I don't know if that's when the current courses. They're part of our online education but rather than the $20 That's usually charged they are free. Thank you to chalky being family. Check it out at Bitly bi T dot L y slash J B F support. And thanks for joining us on this weekend wisdom
Transcribed by https://otter.ai