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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:48 am
Posts: 37
Hello everyone!

DD is 11 years old, bright but a little lazy, needs the occasional push to reach her potential. She gets an excellent report from school for her efforts and is usually seen as a helpful, independent girl. But at home, its a different story.

Of late, we have noticed that she is being dishonest. This could be something for a very trivial act such as eating in her bedroom! I cant understand why she would want to hide the plate under her bed, cupboard or anywhere else she sees fit. So she breaks 2 rules: eating in her bedroom and being dishonest about it. There are so many other instances, like taking money without permission. We are cash strapped but we don't deny the children money for any valid reasons :( Although we have repeatedly emphasised that the punishment is for dishonesty and not the act itself, she continues to either lie or simply hide the truth. We have tried everything from having moral story sessions in the evenings to taking away privileges such as games, screen time with little or no effect. She seems sad at that moment and says 'give me one more chance' but 2 days later, its the same story. Last night, we asked her to write a page, giving her views on honesty. Both the content and the writing style was shocking, no where near the 5C/5B work she has been producing off late at school. She did something else this morning and has been packed off to school with a warning that we will discuss it in the evening.

I keep thinking whether it is our fault as parents, as we have not been able to dedicate enough family time in the evenings. We are going through a very tough time at work, which may lead to several complications including having to leave the country at short notice, as we are not British citizens. I will be the first person to admit that sometimes the frustrations comes out at home, but at the same time, we have done everything possible to put the best interests of the children before all other troubles.

I would really appreciate any advice given as she is our eldest and family can be so judging :( Sorry for the rant.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:32 pm
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That's tough, my dd1 can be this way too. Interested to hear any solutions myself! I agree with the idea that there are two offences when they lie about something.

We get a lot of sloppy work too that is far below her ability, DH calls it her "protest" handwriting. She doesn't like it if she finds out after doing a poor job or getting caught in a transgression, she finds out someone she respects might see it like a tutor or grandparent, though.

Sorry about your household stresses too.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
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Obviously I don't know you, your DD or your family situation and stresses, so this could be totally and utterly irrelavent but my thoughts anyway, use or dismiss as you see fit
- At 11, tweens are pushing for more independence and certainly in our house we are trying to find ways to give this. Is there a chance your DD may be feeling like there is virtually nothing she has any control over? Is there an area that doesn't matter too much that you could give her more control over? Its possible she may be playing up like this as a protest against feeling she is still treated like a smaller child? (just a thought, not saying you do)
- With the stresses of work etc, all very understandable and sure you have totally done your best, but nevertheless is her behaviour a cry for attention? Is she picking up more of your stress than you think, despite very valiant efforts to hide it? Might she benefit more from an honest talk about situations?
- Have you talked to her school? How do they feel she is? Might there be problems at school? How does SHE feel about school?
- You don't say what the other transgressions are other than the eating. The others may be more serious of course, and I do understand its a lie from 2 angles. However, if it is little things like this, I'm not saying you should ignore them, but is it, again, an assertion of control? Ah, the money thing. yes, thats hard. Could you visibly give the value of money taken in form of treat for other child and make a statement about it would have been for her too if she hadn't taken money? Not sure about that one.

Probably not helped at all, but do hope you get some good ideas.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:35 pm 
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maybe some responsibility like helping a neighbour or older person, or helping a charity, might be a good outlet. That seems to engage my dd1 especially when it doesn't seem to be much to do with me or DH.

I'm pretty sure my dds have taken money from my wallet occasionally but it hasn't become a habit, but I guess I could have started keeping it more securely if needed - prevention is better than cure.

What does she do with the money? Earning some herself towards what she wants is a good occupation too.

If you can find a positive way to divert her, it might help more than trying to tackle it all head on, at her age and under these circumstances.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:47 pm 
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I tend to agree with Yamin - if there is no issue at school that is causing her to act out of character (she isn't being bullied or in trouble as far as you know?) then it is likely a combination of her feeling uneasy at what is going on at home, (coupled with general unease that most Y6s feel at this stage as they realise their primary school bubble is about to burst), combined with a natural "hormone inspired" need for independence and more responsibility. I would say that it is important to find out why she is taking money - is this a bullying thing or is it that she wants to buy sweets or something for herself that you won't let her have - for example make up or the latest magazines? If it is the former then you can address it with the school, if it is the latter then perhaps you can look at what it is and see if you can find a solution that works for you both - getting her to do jobs for pocket money, for example - responsibility, money and the time and freedom to spend it on herself?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:58 pm 
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We've got a few books from Prometheus Books, including "If you had to choose, what would you do?" which contains little stories about moral dilemmas, and my kids really enjoy/have enjoyed discussing them.

http://www.prometheusbooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=96_126&sort=20a&page=1

Something like that might help to get conversations started in a fairly neutral fashion - I imagine that at the moment it might be hard to start talking about the current situation without your dd getting defensive.

Good luck :) I do tend to agree that the secretiveness is about separation, not necessarily anything more sinister, but it's not pleasant to live with and she can probably find better ways of asserting her independence.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:06 pm 
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You could call her bluff and buy some snacks specially for her to keep and eat in her bedroom? Why don't you like her eating in there? I can see you might not want her to eat some hot or messy foods in there but is there anything very wrong with biscuits or crisps or whatever? I wonder if maybe she is rebelling because she thinks the rule is silly? You could say 'look it is obviously important to you that you can eat in your room so we are prepared to allow the following foods...'. And then you could get her to vacuum the crumbs up off her own floor and say if she chooses to eat in there could she please ensure that it is kept clean?

The taking of money is more significant and I would choose my battles and go for this one. I agree that maybe having her help some others in a charitable capacity might be a good idea (my answer to everything :) ); or what about getting her to help with your supermarket shop to see how much stuff really costs? Kids of this age often have no idea about the value of things. I might say 'look we are prepared to let some things go but this isn't one of them. Money is hard earned and if you steal it from anyone else you will end up in trouble with the police so let's stop now.'

As for asking her to write an essay about honesty - I am not sure you could really expect her to embrace this task with the enthusiasm and effort she might put into school work. I don't think you should see it as a reflection of falling standards of literacy, just perhaps the fact that you are her parents and she doesn't fancy doing it.

And I agree with Yamin's sensible suggestions too.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:48 am
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Thank you for the support. Some good ideas, will see what we come up this evening.

Yamin151 wrote:
Is there a chance your DD may be feeling like there is virtually nothing she has any control over? Is there an area that doesn't matter too much that you could give her more control over?


That's something to think about. We had a chat a couple of months back: just me and her and she said we weren't spending much time together and I was paying more attention to her younger sibling. Since then I have consciously spent time with her alone, without including her sibling. She was very mature at that time, said she understood that it was a good thing not to have everything she asked for since she might get spoilt! She agreed that we give money for her valid needs.

We have discussed the situation at work- if anything, it made matters worse. She started crying saying she wouldn't leave the country and cannot think of living anywhere else. She has been here for 5 years now. So, I promised her we would look at all options and discuss with her before taking a final decision. She has a place at the local GS starting in Yr 7, she fell in love with the school and is looking forward to starting there. So, I don't think it is about leaving primary school. She has no problems at school as far as I know but I will talk to her again to see if I can pick up on some issues.

The money has been used to buy sweets, we do tend to regulate the amount of sweets. When we first fund out, we starting securing our wallets, but today caught her taking money from our change pot, which is kept for emergencies. I have asked her about the sweets to find out if it is for someone else, but she says it is for her, but it is an extraordinary amount, like a giant slab of chocolate, surely she cannot eat the full slab herself.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:32 pm
Posts: 72
Hi Ptolemy,
I am sorry for the situation you are going through at the moment. As I have DD of same age and we are more or less in same situation, I have few thoughts to share.

I have very little idea about whole scenario, but I would like to comment about whatever I have understood.
-Try to find out WHY she is doing it.
-Let go the small problems like eating sweets and all as we need to focus on bigger probs.
- I am specially concerned about taking away money.
- They feel good about being a decision maker.
-One to one time is very important.
-Leaving a country is very sensitive matter for them as Its like a big change.
- Find out about her school life, any bitching, backstabbing bullying as girls sometimes can be very nasty.
-Tell her that, everyone does mistakes and learning from them is important.
-you love her the way she is.
-Emotionally they are very sensitive and fragile at this age so be gentle.
-Make sure that office matters are not coming home.
-There is an old saying that when DD can fit in her MUMs shoes we should consider her our friend.

I apologise about so many things ,I have written in emotional overflow ,but I hope it helps.

Good luck

Omismum
************************************************



ptolemy wrote:
Thank you for the support. Some good ideas, will see what we come up this evening.

Yamin151 wrote:
Is there a chance your DD may be feeling like there is virtually nothing she has any control over? Is there an area that doesn't matter too much that you could give her more control over?


That's something to think about. We had a chat a couple of months back: just me and her and she said we weren't spending much time together and I was paying more attention to her younger sibling. Since then I have consciously spent time with her alone, without including her sibling. She was very mature at that time, said she understood that it was a good thing not to have everything she asked for since she might get spoilt! She agreed that we give money for her valid needs.

We have discussed the situation at work- if anything, it made matters worse. She started crying saying she wouldn't leave the country and cannot think of living anywhere else. She has been here for 5 years now. So, I promised her we would look at all options and discuss with her before taking a final decision. She has a place at the local GS starting in Yr 7, she fell in love with the school and is looking forward to starting there. So, I don't think it is about leaving primary school. She has no problems at school as far as I know but I will talk to her again to see if I can pick up on some issues.

The money has been used to buy sweets, we do tend to regulate the amount of sweets. When we first fund out, we starting securing our wallets, but today caught her taking money from our change pot, which is kept for emergencies. I have asked her about the sweets to find out if it is for someone else, but she says it is for her, but it is an extraordinary amount, like a giant slab of chocolate, surely she cannot eat the full slab herself.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:51 pm
Posts: 1035
I think there has been some very good advice given to you so far. I just wanted to agree and say that your Dd is at a sensitive age. She has changed schools/or about to change, the expectations of her have changed as she has to be more grown up and there seems to be some stress at home, which no doubt is having an impact on you all. You are clearly very sensitive and have noticed she seems sad and as Yasmin says this may be her only way of keeping control. Perhaps at school she can't step out of line and at home she may struggle to talk to you because of all the stress you are already under.

Spend time with her to help her feel loved and special. This can help her to feel she can talk to you and that you will take her seriously. As sometimes when we are stressed it is difficult to do anything but basic care. She is also at the beginning of adolescence a time of great change and discovery and confusion. This can lead to rebellion and changes in mood. What in the past would not have upset her now probably gets magnified and looked at in minute detail. The behaviour seems to be due to her being unhappy at the moment and as Has been said chose your battles. Best of luck.


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