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10 y.o. step-daughter just won't stop lying

There are many issues at play with this child. She is adopted, remembers her drug-addict mom, lost her adoptive mom when she was 3, met her biological family (dad's side) last year and spends every other weekend with her bio dad and bio brother. I know she is insecure and that's why she makes stories up all the time to make herself sound better. I understand that part and I know not to believe most of the stories. When I came into the picture 3 1/2 years ago she had some disturbing behaviors and I think she was trying to get attention. I've talked to her dad about counseling but he doesn't think it's necessary. Besides all that, my issue right now is the lying. Like a lot of kids her age she does things she's been told not to do and then lies about it to stay out of trouble. But, the big problem is she steals from her 14 y.o. brother, hides the stuff and lies about ever taking it. Last year she stole some little tiny dolls his girlfriend gave him and took them to school and gave them to people. Her reason, because she liked them (the dolls). A couple weeks ago she got mad at him and she stole a new coat he had bought with his own money and hid it somewhere. We all knew she did it, but we couldn't find it, so her dad told her if it showed up in the next 15 minutes nothing would be said about it. She got a funny look on her face but it didn't appear. This morning I found it stashed in a cabinet (it wasn't there a few days ago...she cleaned her room yesterday). She looked me straight in the eye and told me "I know I didn't put that there". Well, there's no one else who would! Last time we caught her in a lie we made her stay home instead of going to her bio dads for the weekend. She cried and made up all kinds of excuses as to why she did it and none of it was her fault. Some people will say this is just a phase and to ignore it. And I know she's had a tough life...but I don't think she should get away with stealing and lying. I think if we ignore it that gives her the message there are no consequences. But I don't know what to do. There isn't really anything that we can take away that will affect her. She doesn't listen to her ipod enough for it to matter to her, or watch her TV, or play on the computer, or go to friends houses to play. I'm at wits end with her. Any ideas?

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Asked by Meeshelle08 at 9:43 AM on Feb. 7, 2011 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 4 (33 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Keeping her from going to her biological father's is not a justifable punishment. It sounds cruel and unusual. Perhaps a work chore. Some believe that their room should be emptied of everything but a mattress. Continual supervision could be a help. If someone were with her around the clock for the next week, it could be a way to become closer and a way for her to learn to control her impulses.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 9:49 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I am a step mom to an almost 15 year old that I've been raising with my husband for 13 of those years. I can relate to your child having a tough life, mine has too but maybe as serious to your child but changes, people in and out of their lifes, different rules, different personalities that she has to deal with I do believe affects the child. I think that you did good by suggesting counseling for her to your husband. I would suggest go back and suggest it again, it will benefit the child in the long run. Another option would be to try to seek out help from the school counselors just to talk to her, perhaps they can come back to your husband and suggest outside counseling. Good luck.

    Answer by LuvmyFam6 at 9:52 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • on one handing counceling may be a good idea if you can find a good couceler that isnt going to put her on meds she may not need and a counceler that she trusts and your family trusts as well. but on the other hand she my resent that which could make the situation worse. the best bet would talk to the school she gose to and her teahers and see what they sugest and if they hve seen this problem accuring and try and get her to talk to a counceler there first before going and getting a exspensive councler that may not help.

    Answer by blinkys11 at 9:55 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • ~*Awe*~... in all honesty the best thing that you can actually do is simply be the solid foundation she is able to continue to return to... and hope/pray for the best!!! We have no true control over others, even those we give birth to, much less those we raise for others

    Answer by MommaClark3 at 11:28 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Has anyone ever confronted her about lying?

    Answer by treasured_hope at 1:14 PM on Feb. 8, 2011

  • See the section on Honesty/Telling the Truth  There are some great books for kids to talk about honest/telling the truth etc. which is a good conversation starter. 

    Try to get to the bottom of the cause (getting out of trouble, imitating adults around them, fear of disappointing a parent, seeking attention, etc.).  If you can figure out the cause, it might help solve the problem.

    Make sure you are always making eye contact with her when you ask a question, it is much harder to lie if someone is looking you in the eye. 

     Have consequences for lying and talk about what they are in advance and be prepared to implement when you catch her in a lie. 


    Answer by momjs at 5:19 PM on Feb. 8, 2011

  • I had a rule with my kids that worked out well for me , if you made a mistake , or did something bad , and you just confessed and told the truth the punishment for the crime would be less severe than doing the lie . the dolls for instance , make her go back during school hours and you WITH her and ask for the dolls back . hiding the jacket , take her jacket . natural consequesnces work best.

    Answer by nanafor5 at 10:13 AM on Feb. 13, 2011

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