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Cunning, sneaky, and liar -- at FOUR

Okay ladies I'm really stumped my 4 year old is honestly all of the above and she's only 4. Typically she does this in realtion to food and btw she's REALLY GOOD at it. She fools me on a regular basis, I can't even keep the mommy mystic b/c she hides the food (candy, gum) in her room and often I can't find it. She will look at me straight in the eye and swear there is no more and its only sometimes that I will find the evidence. She climbs onto a chair to get to the pumpkin that is way up (I moved it even higher today). She gets my great aunt to give her stuff behind my back (not much I can do there -- great aunt is 89 w/senile dementia - my 3rd child) she goes into my purse to find my orbits etc.
Just the stealing is bad enough but the fact that she can trick me scares the bejeasus out of me. If this is now (at 3/4) what will happen when she's 15? Any ideas on how to break this now... nothing I've tried has worked .

Answer Question

Asked by MamiJaAyla at 11:10 AM on Nov. 1, 2009 in General Parenting

Level 17 (4,278 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • When you are an authoritarian parent and use punishment children can lean to lie, cheat, sneak, steal, or do whatever they can to get what they want. When they are punished they resent their parent. Punishment does not teach good behavior.

    You have created a 'monster'. The problem is not your child. You need to learn new parenting skills. Obviously being an authoritarian parent is not working. Psychologists know the form of parenting that is best for kids is called authoritative. You can google it and read more about it.

    That's theory. You need to change behavior now. I suggest the book Love & Limits by Elizabeth Crary. She has a website called Star Parenting. The book is very easy to read, small, and doesn't cost alot. It may change your lives.

    Answer by Gailll at 11:23 AM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • The above poster knows everything about everything. She gets on many people's nerves including my own.

    My 4 year old has stolen candy or gum out of my purse or the cabinets. What stops her is punishment (consequences) for stealing and a talk that stealing is wrong.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:31 AM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • I'm sorry Gail but you know nothing about me or my parenting styles. Thank you for the advice, I will check the book out but I'm looking for hands on advice and idea or anocdotes basically hope.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 11:48 AM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • Gailll-why do you assume how she parents? You never have a positive thing to say on any post ever. Always spewing the same negative crap at people. Do you even type it anymore or do you just copy and paste? Do you really think telling someone that their child is a monster is constructive? Good grief, lady.
    OP--My brother was like this, so I don't know what to tell you, but maybe put the candy some where that your aunt doesn't know of or can't reach to avoid your daughter asking her. Also, if she keeps hiding things in her room, start stripping her room down. Removing toys, blankets and all kinds of things until her room is practically bare. If she wants to sneak and hide things, make it more difficult for her-start taking her toys and forms of entertainment away. Gosh, it must be scary. My little brother was a torment, but there were 5 of us, so my mom couldn't give as much attention as you probably can, Good luck!

    Answer by BridgetC140 at 3:33 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • Kids under 12 lack the mental capacity (physical brain development) to form 'the intent' you're talking about.

    Little kids don't lie, they tell you what they think you want the world to be. She might be frightened, have told herself the story she likes better or been told by someone else (older siblings, sometimes cousins or neighbours, even brats at daycare) to say words that have no contact with reality... but the only way I know to make it a whole lot worse is to spend any time acting as if it matters.

    You have to really minimize the importance of what she says, in order to avoid frightening her into needing to convince you that reality otherwise to feel safe. She needs you on her side, you see, and she'll do anything (including cheating, lying and sneaking around --solely to avoid getting caught) to keep you on her side. Telling the world other than it is is just a natural part of that.


    Answer by LindaClement at 4:28 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • Avoid giving her any reason to lie. If you know the truth, deal with the truth without trying to make her feel bad --about anything (remember, she needs you on her side to survive, and she has a healthy survival instinct). If you don't know the truth, don't rely on a 4yo to give it to you --you might as well ask a monkey. The fact that she speaks your language doesn't mean she understands abstract ideas like 'accuracy' or 'truth.'

    Where is a 4yo getting the candy and gum if she's not allowed to have it? She doesn't work yet, does she? She's not stopping at the store on the way home from a day at the mall with friends, is she? If you want to limit her intake of candy and gum, take it out of the house. If you think she can manage it without supervision, get out of her business.

    If you know your deranged aunt is going to do inappropriate things behind your back, don't turn your back. It won't be limited to candy, you know.

    Answer by LindaClement at 4:35 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • hmm. that's a tough one. how do you handle it when you find the proof? Do you speak to her about *why* you don't want her to have the candy or why lying is bad? Not sure how to approach it. But it does sound like a slightly different appraoch is needed. Do you have older kids she is learning from? They can have a big impact!

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:41 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • SIMPLE solution here...remove the temptation! If she is constantly sneaking candy and gum, STOP buying it and bringing it into the house! If its the Halloween candy she is getting into, just throw it out, kids dont need that much candy intake anyways its super bad for them on so many levels.
    If your senile grandmother is sneaking it to her, then try keeping a better eye on her when Gma is around, she is but a 4 year old, she isnt lying in the sense of how we adults lie, I agree with the other posters on that.

    Answer by jlizgar at 7:01 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • Kids under 12 lack the mental capacity (physical brain development) to form 'the intent' you're talking about.

    You have GOT to be kidding! I know I lied with the intent of getting away with it, well before 12 years of age. People on here and their ridiculous advice just crack me up all while making me shake my head.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:29 PM on Nov. 1, 2009



    Linda, you might want to check out this article.  Just one of many, that murder your "facts" above.


    Answer by Anonymous at 9:34 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

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