what's a good punishment?

Alexis - posted on 12/30/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

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my step daughter is almost 4, and has been living with us for 3 weeks. today she climbed the cabnents, which she knows not to do, and got her bubbles which she knows is an outside toy and porred it all over the carpet. when my husband and i asked her about it she lied and said the dog took it.

then while cleaning up, i found some of my husbands missing money and some of my jewlery hidden under her bed. she took the money out of my husbands wallet and my jewlery out of my jewlery box.

then later she said she was going potty, and instead decided to take my text book and hide it between her bed and the wall. i saw her on her bed coloring and since she had finally stopped crying from having to pick out toys worth the value she stole to be put away till she earned them back, i asked her if i could color with her.... and she took the book and ran.

im not really worried about the book, or the money or the carpet. im worried that this behavior is going to get her introuble, or shes going to fall from the cabnets or dump somthing over on top of her. im also do not like the privacy violation of her going through all of our stuff and taking what she wants... we have talked to her about this multiple times and the punishment has gotten worse the more she does it... from talking to here about it, to time out, to loss of privliges, and im not sure what to do next... these aproches dont seem to be working.

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Ariana - posted on 12/31/2012

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Is she the only child in the house? You may want to supervise her the way you would a toddler until some of these behaviors diminish. You and your husband could even tell her from now on she is going to have to be in the same room as you or another adult until she shows she can behave properly.

For things like the bubbles I would have her help clean up the messes she makes. Where is the cabinet? Is it in a room you can keep her out of? I also wouldn't ask her about it (especially if she's the only child in the house) if you know she did it. That just gives her the opportunity to lie and you don't want her getting in the habit of that.

I would really start supervising her the same way you would a two year old so that she isn't allowed to have the opportunity to get in trouble, at least for a couple weeks. I would continue with the punishments you have but also try to give her a lot of positive energy for other things. Maybe she is trying to get your and your husbands attention somehow? This probably gets her a lot of negative attention. Try to focus on the things she does that are good, if she listens well or cleans up tell her what a great cleaner she is or whatever else.

For privacy I would make your room a nogo zone so she's not allowed in your room at all and keep the door closed. She may also have low impulse control which is why I suggest having her in the same room as an adult for a couple weeks.

It's also only been 3 weeks with her living with you, as they say, it usually gets worse before it gets better. Keep giving her consequences for acting out but also try to focus more on giving her positive attention vs negative attention.

Jodi - posted on 01/01/2013

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This probably has a lot to do with the crappy family situation she is in with regard to her mother. I think you should consult a therapist. This is a little girl showing all the signs of feeling insecure.

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If you keep this child close to you physically, she will have no opportunities to lie, because you will be able to monitor everything she does. I think that is the way forward. Only allow her lime away from you once she is a bit more settled.
Don't push the lying thing by questioning her - as though you are testing her to see if she has stopped lying. Don't make an issue of it. She needs security, not condemnation right now. She is only little!

Dove - posted on 01/01/2013

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Stop asking her to confess. If you can tell what happened and you are still asking her about it... you are setting her up to lie.

Other than that... wait for the therapist. Hiding/hoarding food is definitely a sign of an issue that you need help with here.

Alexis - posted on 01/01/2013

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we have kept doing the time outs, and her lieing seems to be getting worse. we give her several oppertunities to tell us the truth and even remind her of the consequences before asking her what happend one last time, she will still lie and then crys that she's gonna listen now and thinks her punishment is over the second she says she is sorry.

i have had to resort to putting a lock on the fridge because she keeps sneaking food after bed time, 2 days ago she snuck 3 peices of cheese and ate them before i caught her, then last night i caught her trying to open a pack of sassage she'd snuck into bed after eating only 2 hours prior. at first i thought maybe she wasnt eating enough, so we have been giving her more food more frequently but she still eats the same amout and still sneaks food.

im looking for new options to try to battle her lieing habbit if the time outs are still not working in a few days. she's gotten to the point that she is lieing about stupid stuff 10 to 20 times a day (things that if she told the truth she wouldnt even get in troubble for) so between the lieing the stealing and the back talk shes spending almost half her days in time out and i do not like this at all, she needs to be able to play. we have found a therapist but can not get her in till the 14th.

Dove - posted on 12/31/2012

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I like Ariana's suggestions.

You are also going to have to give this time, consistency, and a lot of patience. If she's only been living w/ you for about 3 weeks... that tells me that her little life has just gotten completely flipped around on her... and that's hard to deal with at any age. For a not quite 4 year old... it could be devastating.

Hang in there! LOTS of supervision and positive attention when you can.

Alexis - posted on 12/30/2012

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yeah, we have a star chart for her. she get's a ton of praise, and she is the perfict little helper... her mom has a theft problem, im wondering if she was having the kid steal for her. my problem is when she gets in trouble for stealing she starts laughing and smiling, like we are joking. this is the only time ive seen this reaction from her in responce to being in trouble, usually she collapes and starts wailing like a dying cat the second you catch her (crocodille tears) - she did cry with the bubbles and my book though.

she just doesnt seem to understand that stealing was wrong, we made her pick out one of her books to give to me in exchange for my book she tore up. but i cant think of anything other than time out for stealing at her age and going through our stuff, expecially since the book punishment didnt seem to phase her.

right now she has lost all her toys for the day, had 3 time outs, and been given several talks. we know she knows what she did was wrong, but im not sure if she just doesnt care or if she's just testing her new bounderies... but if she does this again idk how to punish the behavior.

S. - posted on 12/30/2012

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To me it sounds like she's doing it for a reason, what ever has gone on in her little life for her to have moved in with you maybe bothering her. Kids can't control there emotions and bad behaviour usually is the result.
Stick to your rules and maybe do time outs but most important thing to do is praise the good, over exaggerate the good girl, that's helpful, wow what a good job! Maybe make a chart were she has to climb the ladder with good behaviour to earn a treat. Good luck

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