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Need healthy habits+behavioral advice (long :/)

Posted by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM
  • 8 Replies

So I'm hoping some of you moms can help me. This is partially a behavior issue and partially a nutrition issue....I would like to keep them separate but I can't. I'm sorry its long...so TIA if you make it to the end or have advice!

Background: My dd is 6.5, in a private Montessori first grade. She's young for her age so will do public first grade when she moves to public school next year. She has  a little sister that just turned 4 this past weekend. My exhusband and I split last year, we have been moved out for about 8 months. Dad still lives in the old house. My exh and I get along well, we do family things together, share holidays, and we have a good schedule where they see us both every day. We (meaning I....) are flexible and try to let the kids be with whomever they are wanting to be with. They still see grandparents, though my family (parents, sis, nephews) not quite as frequently since the split (they are in town). 

Issue: sneaking and lying. I have read through a ton of posts on this looking for answers and I'm struggling to balance the nutrition and my eating philosophy with the sneaking. I have caught dd sneaking candy and gum a couple times. I thought we had it nipped in the bud. Then I was helping her search for something at her dad's house and found several cans of pop, candy wrappers, etc. hidden in her room there. He never cleans and the place is disgusting, so they very likely could've been old, so I didn't make much of a deal out of them. Fast forward to this week and their dad had bought them gatorade and they wanted to bring it home. It was left in the car and when getting out of the car for school DD told me "I took my gatorade inside so its not in here." Blatant lie. I asked her if it was in her backpack and gave her 2 chances to tell me the truth. Nope. I made her open her backpack. Of course massive crying ensued. DD is emotionally immature for her age and starts bawling at anything and everything....I know she's a girl and I know she's 6 and I know the divorce is an adjustment but the crying is excessive even for all those factors, and has always been her personality. Not only did she try to sneak it, she brough it up with a story and blatantly lied to my face. Next day she snuck candy and found it hidden in the couch. The lying isn't just food, but it seems everything she tells us. She told my mom yesterday that every night she goes to sleep in my bed and then I move her because she can't sleep with her sister trying to sleep. Little things like that but so obviously lies, I seriously have no idea when she is telling me the truth about anything.

And the next step. I try to do L&L and offer choices and have natural consequences. For one, I'm having a hard time figuring out what natural consequences are for this sneaking and lying. I'm also really struggling keeping up the L&L because she is SO dishonest, and then she just cries about everything. Those are our two modes: lying or crying. I know part of this is acting out from the divorce, but I don't know what to do about it. The fanciful stories has always been her, but I chalked it up to typical developmental fanciful thinking but it has moved way beyond that. I actually don't think the sneaking and lying is new either once I thought about it. My exhusband has terrible habits for everything so full/half full pop cans and candy wrappers and granola bar wrappers and things were ALWAYS all over the house. I always attributed it to him....I mean, that is who he is. But I wonder if some candy wrappers found in the couch and shoved places were DD. Maybe it started way back when I had dd2 and DD1 was 2.5? And I just had no idea?

My other big issue: I am really struggling with the sugar/treat thing. I am trying REALLY hard to give my girls good eating habits. I have terrible eating habits and am really struggling to change them as an adult. We do okay at home, but maybe not since there is the sneaking. We only ever have tantrums about it when we go to my mom's (which we do frequently) because she lets them have little stuff all the time. We were planning on having leftover birthday cake after dinner. But she also gave them a dum-dum after lunch and a small ice cream cup for snack. I completely support the idea that it needs to not be forbidden, that it makes it more attractive and makes them feel like they aren't getting it, but I think that is too much. There is NO reason for ANYONE to have ice creamx2 and a sucker(albeit small) in one day. I have a no pop rule....but they get it when my mom takes them out to eat. I am okay with it being a treat with grandma. SHe doens't understand my philosophy and I've tried explainging how her doing that creates the environment that mom is wrong. She is getting better. But we spend a lot of time there and with my nephews, and my sister's philosophy mostly matches my mom's, she gives her 2yo pop simply to avoid a tantrum. I let my girls have treats, and I give them to them a couple times a week. I think that is more than sufficient. And I struggle with giving them those becuase their dad lets them eat sugar and stuff all the time at his house. This is just NOT good for them. I'm not on the super organic, whole eating, no preservative train, but I am working really hard on cutting out sugars. I limit their fruit juice and water it down, there is no pop, I don't buy them or give them sports drinks because they are all sugar. We have water, milk, and I sometimes do a propel or crystal light mix-in. I sprinkle their strawberries with sugar for a treat, or give them yogurt with chocolate chips, or let them have a small handful of cocoa puffs with their kix. I try to do small things like that. I pick my battles too -- they can have as many fruit snacks as they want, and granola bars, and fruit "rollups" (I buy fruit leather), and pudding and jello.

Wow this is long, I'm sorry. So I guess to summarize where I really need some help: 1) how to balance the giving of treats with her sneaking? I don't think sneaking means she should continue to get them, but taking them away seems to be adding to the problem; 2) suggestions from those of you that limit or don't allow sugary snacks on how to balance that with the family dynamic where they don't feel left out? I am going to talk to my sis about getting her support when we are all around so the grandma weight doesn't have as much pull...but how else? 3) any ideas on how the heck to assert natural consequences for hte lying and sneaking and things I can do to nip it in the bud? I've instituted more one-on-one time, but it hasn't been long enough to tell if it makes a difference and I'm at a loss of what else to do. I am really tired of and don't want to be mad but with the constant occurences I'm having a hard time keeping my anger and disappointment at bay. I can take away gymnastics and piano lessons because those are big girl things she has to earn to keep...but taking those away doesn't seem to address the underlying issue. I am trying to reinforce the positive behavior, she is working toward earning a sleepover....and the only time we take beads out of her jar is for lying, otherwise sometimes she earns and if her behavior is bad she just earns fewer or none. But we have had to empty the jar twice and since the last time we emptied she hasn't even earned any.

OK I think that's all the relevant information. If you made it through....THANK YOU! I'm open to ideas.....I've talked with my mom, who is a GREAT mom...but the eating habits and health is a sticking point she just doesn't understand and I'm not sure how to balance it :/

by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM
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Replies (1-8):
miss_AP
by Bronze Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Oh -- and I'm not worried about her having an eating disorder right now.....she seems to have appropriate body image thoughts, she eats well and healthy, and while she sneaks and hides the treats I think its more to do with the lying and attention than treats being forbidden...because she doens't hord when we do have them together, and she doesn't overeat them when we have them together. Plus she doesn't sneak regular food....that may be important. But I'm worried it could turn INTO an eating disorder....and the lying is just out of control and its not very far off where lying is going to be very dangerous. I want to get back to us talking about everything and being open.

frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:32 AM

A natural consequence here for not following rules is losing privileges.  We have firm rules set up for all in the household.  When you dont make a good choice, you lose a privilege.   DD knows the expectations and we havent had much lying or sneakiness unless it is eating more chocolate than allowed.

frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM

PS if you havent already, have her evaluated for any delays so that you can base discipline off that and nutrition.

Newfie_Mom
by Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:40 AM
2 moms liked this
My dd 8 had a lying phase I found a way to stop it quickly and it hasn't happened again.

WARNING!!!! Many people did not agree with my method and I may get some negative or rude responses for even suggesting it.

If I know she did something wrong and give her the chance to tell the truth and she lies she gets punishment for the wrongful act (punishment is based on the act) AND a punishment for lying. If she fesses up she only gets punished for the act. NOW if she tells me she did something wrong BEFORE I figure it out she gets a lesser punishment (or none depending on what she did) this encouraged her to own up before I figure it out in exchange for lesser punishment.

As for punishments hers range from extra chores, loss of a privilege, to early bedtime depending on what she did.

Lying is an immediate loss of electronic time. My house has a no electronics Monday through Thursday rule (minus the computer for school related work) and Friday through Sunday time is EARNED not just assumed so loss of time is a big deal.. Poor choices lose time good choices earn time.

As for the food I can't help there I'm sorry my kids won't eat most of the cake/ice cream/desert stuff so I'm not helpful there. We have it in the house but most of the time it sits till it goes bad. As for candy all of ours is in a drawer that has a bell on it anyone opens that drawer I know no chance of sneaking.

Sorry really long response hope it helps good luck!!! :)
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corrinacs
by Silver Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Hey mama,

Like you, I have a child that insists on lying.  He's not sneaking food (we have an open food policy in our house, I'll explain in a second) but if he's done something wrong he will immediately lie about it.  And once we figure out the truth, the crying ensues.  He's 5. He's actually really mature for his age and super sensitive, but he still has his moments.  So, I'm just as interested as you are about what other moms say about how to deal with this.

So far, I ensure that the consequence for bad behavior + lying is a lot worse than bad bahavior + truth.  Hopefully that will ingrain the message.  When I ask him why he's crying, he said "he can't stop".....don't quite know how to handle that.  I give him 5 seconds to calm down or its bedtime.  That usually works.

But as far as sneaking food, ask her (heart to heart) why she feels the need to sneak food.  It might be the need to control her life right now when her life is spiraling out of control.  I would take the "control" portion out of the equation. Since you aren't concernred about eating disorders yet (keep a good eye on her) you may want to adopt the same method.

For us, I leave the cabinets and fridge open to my oldest son (the baby is still too small ,but he will have the same privledge).  I stock the cabinets and fridge with healthy snacks, or at least snacks I don't mind him eating for "snack".  We also eat snacks together (I notice that if I'm eating carrots, he will eat carrots with me).  But he's allowed to grab drinks and snacks as he pleases (when he's hungry).  So far, oddly enough, this hs NOT effected his hungriness for dinner.

As for treats though, these are a different box.  We do not keep treats open.  Treats are earned in our household.  If he eats a good lunch, for example, then he's allowed to have a lolipop.  If he did an awesome job at Tae Kwon Do, then he can have icecream, etc.  That way we can keep track of the sugars :)

I also noticed that when my son eats highly processed sugary items, his behavior is atrocious :/.  I now keep organic/all natural treats on hand and this seems to make things better.

Good luck :)

HyperMom38
by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM

well, I didn't read it all, but here's my take...  my 5 year old is now into the whole lying thing as well- seems to be the age and a phase they naturally need to go through from what my friends with kids tell me.  The natural consequence for lying is that no one will believe anything she says.  Read her the story of the boy who cried wolf.  Explain that once you lie- even one time- then no one feels comfortable believing you for a long time until they are sure you don't lie anymore.  My kid loses something (usually screens-TV, DSi, etc) for misbehaving.  This works pretty good as it only happens once in a while (and no, she is not a naturally quiet, well behaved kid.  She has ADD/ADHD and has a hard time listening and sitting still)- so it could work on your DD.  Oh, and I don't reward good behavior- it is just expected. 

OK, as for the sneaking- it appears to go hand in hand with the whole lieing thing- it's still a form of deception as there is a lie attached to it in some way or another.  She either lies when you asks about it or lies by ommission when you don't. 

Good luck and I hope you figure out what will work for you and your daughter.

miss_AP
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Thanks for the responses mamas.

We do have an open food kitchen....there is an entire cupboard of granola bars, fruit snacks, cereal, crackers, fruit cups, pudding, tec. they can have wheenver they want, they just let me know, and a drawer in the fridge that has yogurts and cheese sticks and fruits and veggies. Again, they just let me know, I only say no if its right before a meal and I mean RIGHT before, like I'm cooking or about to). The treats were never hidden because we didn't have many, but part of her consequence was to throw out everything that could be considered a treat, including her valentine bag from school. 

I"m trying the extra chore route....above and beyond the normal expected chores. I can't take away electronic time because they don't really have any. The TV is really only on for music on Pandora, and they never have the time to use their tablet they share. She has to do 12 chores above and beyond regular chores, so it will take her awhile. Plus she had to write lines the whole time sis was at gymnastics.

I'm trying some extra time/big kid things...maybe if I give her more of that she will rise to the occassion and act that way? Plus I don't have much for her to lose now so it gives me more of those things too. I'm going to keep her up a half-hour later one night of the week so we can have just me and her time to color or read or play a game. Plus I'm working on some playdates that aren't all of us, but her going over to a friend's house, so we'll see how that works. I struggle with taking away gymnastics and piano lessons because those are responsibilities and commitments....she likes them, but its like saying she can't practice piano becuase she did something wrong...I'm not sure I like that message...she committed to doing those things and I wouldn't let her just up and quit so I struggle with the message of taking them away for behavior....but I think that is maybe the next route. If it happens again, I'm actually going to talk to her gymnastics coach, she's a college kid and DD ADORES her....and going to see if she might be willing to have a girl-to-girl chat about that....and about what all that sugar is doing to her gymnastics. I'm looking for some supportive gymnastics stuff on being a good kid and eating well from the Olympians and college gymnasts, and for some more gymanstics stuff to watch, give her somewhere else to look for guidance and some other people to look up to.

We'll see how it goes, thanks so much!!

MsLogansMommy
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM
1 mom liked this

 I love this response not just the punishment part (which I actually do agree with I like your philosophy) but the warning part I love that you acknowledge ahead of time that some wont agree so basically you're saying dont waste your time disagreeing lol cause i feel the same way if I find something that works for my family and ppl on here disagree so what they dont live with me and its not their right to tell me how to parent I have found so many ppl on here try to force their opinions down other moms throats and its sickening thanks for being a mom that sticks to her guns you offer what works for you but dont act like it is the ONLY thing that works. Love your style! ;-)

 


Quoting Newfie_Mom:

My dd 8 had a lying phase I found a way to stop it quickly and it hasn't happened again.

WARNING!!!! Many people did not agree with my method and I may get some negative or rude responses for even suggesting it.

If I know she did something wrong and give her the chance to tell the truth and she lies she gets punishment for the wrongful act (punishment is based on the act) AND a punishment for lying. If she fesses up she only gets punished for the act. NOW if she tells me she did something wrong BEFORE I figure it out she gets a lesser punishment (or none depending on what she did) this encouraged her to own up before I figure it out in exchange for lesser punishment.

As for punishments hers range from extra chores, loss of a privilege, to early bedtime depending on what she did.

Lying is an immediate loss of electronic time. My house has a no electronics Monday through Thursday rule (minus the computer for school related work) and Friday through Sunday time is EARNED not just assumed so loss of time is a big deal.. Poor choices lose time good choices earn time.

As for the food I can't help there I'm sorry my kids won't eat most of the cake/ice cream/desert stuff so I'm not helpful there. We have it in the house but most of the time it sits till it goes bad. As for candy all of ours is in a drawer that has a bell on it anyone opens that drawer I know no chance of sneaking.

Sorry really long response hope it helps good luck!!! :)


 

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