Thursday, July 22, 2010

What do I do about my lying, cheating, stealing daughter?

That title seems a little harsh. I have made my 6 year old daughter sound like J.R., or worse still, Jeffery Archer.

But that is the bare truth of it. Around about now, children learn the ability to lie. And my daughter is doing it in spades.
"Did you take those sweets when I told you not to?"
"No Mummy. [sound of crunching sweets and the rustling of a wrapper being shoved under a pillow.]

It's so hard to deal with. I know, because had there been a prison for tiny prisoners, I would have been placed there many, many times. My life of petty crime was sustained, and extremely petty. I stole: an eraser from a shop, a party popper (which I then let off in the car, forcing mum to stop thinking we had a tyre blow-out), a brass bracelet from a play group and untold sums of coins of small denominations. Shocking.
I also would cheat at any board game I could get my hands on, even Cluedo (and that is difficult). I used to lie to everyone about truly trivial crap.

In short, I have enormous sympathy for my daughter and feel a hypocrite for having to chastise her. Do I come down on her too hard (like my stepfather used to, with the effect of alienating us from him) or too soft, like my mum, in which case there is no effect at all.

My friends have been of no help either. Apparently, their children are of such high moral fibre that they never do such things. They seemed so shocked by my daughters sneakiness (pilfering stickers when told not to etc) that I feel as though my child must be the only one on the planet to have told a fib.

I was getting in quite a state about it, until I spoke to my sister yesterday. She laughed when I told her my worries.
"For God's sake. When I was six I told the mother at a friends birthday party that I wanted to take two party bags for each of my two sisters. I then proceeded to eat all the contents myself until I was sick. I have not been sent to Holloway Prison as far as I know. Lighten up."

It was just the advice I needed.


  1. My 6 year old is exactly the same - I don't worry about it too much - surely it's inevitable. For some time now he's been able to look me in the eye without blinking while telling me a bare-faced lie - he has no shame. I just worry that it will soon get to the point where I can't tell the difference.

  2. Don't worry about it ! My six year old is also extremely sneaky and light fingered. At first she kept coming home from school with chocolate bars saying 'a friend' in her class had given it to her. i'm not sure if she stole it or pulled it out of the trashcan but it happened a lot. And then she was always stealing candy whenever we went to people's houses ...I've told her off and hope its just a phase

  3. Oh, I love love love you both!!
    You have made me feel so much better.And EmmaK - that sounds EXACTLY like the sort of things she does. Especially the stealing candy part. It's a bit mortifying at times.

  4. It is part of a childs development and they are testing their abilities out. Every child does it, the parents who are looking at you like you have a crazy child just have kids who are better at it than your daughter is:) Jen

  5. That is hilarious Jen. You are probably right. She is a pretty bad liar, I hope it stays that way.