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Tween lying, stealing...

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Tween lying, stealing...

Apologies for the long post -
My daughter is 12 and started yr 7 this year and has no self control. She has been suspended for bringing a knife to school, not to hurt anyone but to show off to a boy. But then to get out of trouble and not reveal why she brought it, she told them she wanted to kill herself, so we’ve been seeing professionals but now she laughs because she had no intention of hurting herself, she just wanted to impress the boy, she looked us dead in the eyes and with no emotion laughed at us for worrying she would hurt herself. She is stealing money from me, I lock away phone and she goes through my stuff and takes it back, I put on screen time she figures out how to get around it. I took away laptop but she needs it for school, but I’ve got all websites now blocked.
She is constantly lying, always hiding food under her bed, I just can’t seem to get through to her. Yesterday she went to the beach with grandparents and didn’t come back when they were calling to her but her sister did, so we know she could hear, and ended up being caught in a rip and lifeguards had to get her. I want to ground her but don’t seem to know how to ground her without punishing everyone, so we end up including her, but then she will laugh in our face. I don’t know how to get through to her and keep her safe. She doesn’t come home from school when she is meant to, so I will now pick her up and drop her off each morning and afternoon, I just feel so depressed and don’t know how to help her. Professionals just tell me she is a sweet girl, very smart, she seems fine, I need someone really to tell me how to raise her, what steps to take, because I am failing as a parent. My husband wants to send her to his mother, he is fed up, she doesn’t care, but I can’t bare the thought of her not being at home, but I am starting to agree maybe I am not competent to handle this.
How do I ground her and keep household running?
How do I ground her without making her feel unloved?
How do I make her understand her consequence have actions when her suspension was almost a holiday as she just had to sit in the office and colour in and help out. (She loved it!)
How do I make her understand stealing and lying is wrong.
How do I not fail her?
Thank you for your help!
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Re: Tween lying, stealing...

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Hi @Jed123 , 


Thanks so much for posting - that definitely sounds like incredibly challenging behaviour from your daughter, and I can imagine it must feel so frustrating  for you when you feel like you're not able to get through to her. It sounds like you're a loving and thoughtful parent who has your daughter's wellbeing at the heart of everything you do - and I'm so sorry that you're feeling like you're failing as a parent. 


I'm wondering if you've ever sat down with your daughter and talked about what consequences that she thinks would be appropriate for when she breaches boundaries, and what boundaries are non-negotiable?  This article has some great ideas for setting boundaries with young people - it's also really important to make sure that you and your husband are both on the same page about what acceptable boundaries look like for you and your family, so that your daughter is getting really consistent messages from both of you. Having your daughter's input in talking about family rules and consequences might then also be helpful - I also really liked this article about different types of consequences that can be used as kids grow into teenagers. 


There's also some good resources on the Raising Children's network about having predictable and consistent consequences for  teenagers - though speaking as a parent myself, I know that this is sometimes easier said than done! Unfortunately sometimes consequences for young people can end up impacting the whole family, this is definitely something I've experienced as well - but it is also really important that she understand that actions that could be dangerous, like not listening at the beach and getting caught in a rip, or bringing a knife to school, come with consequences.  


I'm also curious about whether your daughter has been able to explain her behaviour at all? Is she able to explain why she's lying, or hiding food under her bed?  The early teen years can definitely be a turbulent time as hormones are raging, and their brains are re-wiring themselves. You mentioned that your daughter has no self control - I'm wondering if this has always been something you've noticed about her, or if it's something that seems to have become worse lately?  It's great that you have already seen professionals with her, I am also wondering if her school has been able to offer support at all? 



Sometimes it can be really helpful to talk to a professional to get some practical strategies to help your teenager - we do offer a free one to one parents support service that you can find more about here, that's focused on helping parents to develop an action plan for their family. 


I'm also just going to tag some other members of our parent community who may have their own words of wisdom and advice to share @Birdwings  @PapaBill @compassion @Pink4 


I can imagine that this must really be taking a toll on you - do you have people in your life that you're able to lean on for support?