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Ask Dr. Keane Your Own Question

Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1704
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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How do I deal with my 11 year old daughter who is lying

Resolved Question:

How do I deal with my 11 year old daughter who is lying? I caught her doing something, that I do not approve of. But, she denies doing it - she wants to go on as if everything is fine, and I told her I cant pretend that we are ok. When I know you are still lying to me. I caught her doing this texting thing on her ipod - and she was pretending to be an older teenager - and having a false relationship via text with these other teens, and some older young adults. She would tell them things like my bunny died, or my mom forgot my bday - which none of that is true. So, she is being false with them, then denying that she was doing any of this to me. I told her until she can look in the mirror and acknowledge what she did and that it was wrong, she can't move forward and change. Is this normal behavior, my other kids have lied, but they more easily admit it - as soon as I catch them and are very sorry. She has a 14 year old brother and a 17 year old sister (whose picture happens to be on this texting thing). And, she denies she had anything to do with that. She also has a younger brother 9 and sister 5. And, she was adopted from Korea as a 4 month old baby. She is the only one adopted. I don't necessarily think that has anything to do with it, but thought you may like to know her birth order, and some background. I look forward to your insight, as I'm still waiting for her to confess - now on day 2. I've taken everything away, that I can, and she does not seem to be bothered. I've always had a hard time punishing her, because she is very stubborn, and nothing seems to really affect her strongly - or at least that's is what she shows me on the outside.

Thank you - Krista
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Keane :

I can help you today.

Customer:

Hi, what do you think? I actually need to run out in a few minutes, so - how can I connect with you later, if need be?

Dr. Keane :

thank you for the background on the situation. At her age she is starting to change from a child to a teen and lying for her is helping her feel better about herself. Her being adopted from another country does play into this, she may know she was different for years, loved by you but now she is beginning to establish "formal thinking" and her world is not as concrete as it was when she was a kid. The texting is dangerous, not doubt about that and the lying is letting her "live in a world" where she is getting attention.

Customer:

Yes, I agree - so one, how do I get her to acknowledge what she is doing - and two, she is obviously looking for attention - so do we need to do more in that area, probably.

Dr. Keane :

After we finish chatting, just come back to the question and it will still be here with my response or yours. I know that it may be difficult to understand but when you have time to chat, we can do more.

Customer:

OK - I'm going to run out, and check back in bit. Thank you.

Dr. Keane :

Don't get her to confess, just tell her that you know she did it and you are trying to understand her. ok I'll be back later.

Customer:

I'm have about two more minutes :)

Dr. Keane :

ok

Customer:

OK - to the confess part. I'll need to understand your thoughts on that better - be back shortly.

Dr. Keane :

When you have her "in the corner" caught red handed so to speak she is shutting down, you can speak to her about how you feel, she isn't feeling very good about herself and she may be wondering about "who she is" (more on that later)

Dr. Keane :

When a child begins to "grow up", around the teen age years, earlier for some, they start to form their identity. They are starting to wonder "who" they are. Your daughter's texting was her trying to "be someone else".That's normal, what she isn't understanding is the danger of this activity. She needs to be taught, not punished. I know, it's difficult, I raised four kids and believe me, it is so easy to ground, take away but they aren't learning, this is the biggest more important thing you can teach your children, This particular situation is a great learning experience. While she is beginning to wonder who she is, she is also dealing with the fact the she is "different" and there are lots of feelings inside that are just going to start surfacing, such as wondering about her own biological parents. Her self esteem may not be good (many girls "hit a wall" at puberty and even the most self assured young girls experience self esteem issues).

Dr. Keane :

Let me address the texts quickly. Her bunny died, her mother forgot her birthday. I know this is a parenting question you asked but I need to bring this to your attention, do you see anything in these two examples you gave. The one that is glaring to me and tells me she is "thinking" about "who she is" , her mother forgot her birthday. That speaks volumes to me. Not only is she adopted but she is a true middle child. Your experience with her as she matures will probably be much different from your older children's. You have five children (kudos to you, I think it is great) and you have to have a pretty busy life everyday.

Dr. Keane :

This young girl may need a bit more than the others. Have you ever sat down alone with her and asked her if she thinks about being adopted. I would like to know more about that. I also believe that she would benefit greatly by seeing a therapist, one who works with adopted children. It doesn't matter that she is one of the kids to you, we get that, she doesn't. She is questioning and this may be the best thing that happened. I have worked with quite a few families with adopted children and the surprise (and sometimes hurt) the parents feel when I explain what is going on is quite normal. I tell them, you cannot take it personally, the kids will act out, they may feel abandoned by their biological parents, they may feel they were not "good" enough to keep. All these feelings are valid. We'll chat when you and I are back online at the same time.

Customer: Ok, wow...I'm back! I'm crying about the mother part. Very insightful. She never asks me about her birthparents. Ive casually talked about it, but not in great detail. I've been waiting for her to ask. I do need to understand a lot more. And, my oldest is 17 and has been a handful. She is gunning the
Customer: She is turning the corner, but I.
Customer: Sorry, I keep hitting return, Im on my Ipad. But, Im sure Felicity needs more attention. She is starting s new school this year, which I'm concerned about. I actually thought maybe I should homeschool her for 6th grade as
Customer: Feeling she needed time with me, now that my youngest is starting Kindergareten. What do you think?
Customer: The reason I was thinking homeschooling for that one year, was for bonding with her.
Dr. Keane :

tough on the Ipad, I do the same thing. I did not mean to make you cry. I would really get some professional help, find a therapist and go have a chat. I am not saying that is what she was thinking subconsciously when she texted that, but in my experience working with families with adopted children they all, no matter how much love they are given, have abandonment "issues", some miniscule others' glaring. You have to learn how to talk to her in a way that she feels safe answering you honestly. If she is going to be punished one way or the other, why not just stay adamant about not telling the truth.

Dr. Keane :

There is a good book for raising teens (I know you already are well into it) but I really like some of the ideas. I actually give it out in my practice and always have some on hand. It makes so much sense.

Dr. Keane :

I guess I should give you the name. It's called Surviving your Adolescence by Thomas Phelan.

Dr. Keane :

Now, home schooling. Have you homeschooled any of your other children?

Customer: I called our adoption agency to get a referral on a therapist. I think I cried because it never occurred to me. I will order that book, thank you. What should I do next in regards XXXXX XXXXX denying she did the texting. Should I ignore it, keep her iPod, phone, etc. I told her about the dangers of texting. Could talk further.
Dr. Keane :

Kids need interaction, they need boundaries and rules and here is the important piece, they need to be part of the process. In other words, they have input and you negotiate.

Customer: Homeschooling, no...but my sister homeschoold, and my sisternlaw, so kits normal in our extended family. But, not immediate.
Dr. Keane :

I would sit her down and tell her that you want to start fresh and new. Here is your ipod etc, and here is what I want back. I want the truth, no matter how difficult it may be to tell me. Promise that you will discuss, not punish. If she wants her voice to be heard, she has to trust you completely and you her. Yes, she will make mistakes but teach her instead of punishment. They need to make them to grow. The texting issue can be dangerous so that should be part of the bargaining. Here, you have to promise to use texting appropriately.

Dr. Keane :

I am not sure about homeschooling, 6th grade is social. Where do you live? rural? city? where are her friends?

Customer: Ok :)
Customer: We are in the suburbs of Detroit, mi. Her friends, are at her old school (moving all kids to a closer to home private school). She has friends at church, and cousins.
Customer: Her other school was a small private school, class of 15. Her new pr
Dr. Keane :

The book is great, you will learn a lot. Raising children is an art and as parents we have to remember that they have opinions and we need to validate them, don't have to agree with them but validate them. I also like the idea of family meetings where everyone in the family gets a turn to speak, no one can interrupt and no one can walk away. Hear what others in the family "FEEL" and respect the feeling (whether it's strange to you or not).

Customer: Her new school has 50 kids.
Customer: In her grade, 50 kids
Dr. Keane :

I'd lean towards leaving her in school, this way she can learn how to interact in a larger group and 50 in a grade isn't too large, that is what? 2/3 classes per grade. If any of her friends will be there that helps.

Dr. Keane :

How much input did she have (any of your kids have) in the decision to change schools?

Customer: She knows one boy from church. A couple of her friends may go to the school next year. But, she will be pretty much meeting all new kids. She tends to be shy, but getting better.
Dr. Keane :

I do believe that you need to focus on being honest and truthful. If she goes to the new school and feels left out you don't want her making up stories to get attention or be part of a group. When you do sit down with her keep it short and simple and ask her if she has any questions, she may not right away so let her know you are on her side and she can ask you anything anytime.

Dr. Keane :

casual and light and loving....put the responsibilty of her behavior on her. Punishment does not work and forcing someone to admit something when you know it is true just makes them more defensive and their heels dug in even more. How do you get out of that? don't do it to start with.

Customer: They all wanted to leave, even she was open. She enjoyed her friends in the other school, but seems excited about the new adventure. My oldest daughter who is a senior only had a class of 4, and my sons class went down to two boys. It just was not working out. So my oldest is switching as a senior and is glad. The older two wished we would have switched sooner :(. I think Felicity will have the biggest adjustment, due to age and not knowing anyone yet. I was trying to encourage her to do volleyball, because she would make friends, but did not seemed interested. In the past I've made her do tennis, piano and now she loves it. Do you think I should make her do vball? There is cheerleading in Jan. And she does seem open to that, she did gymnastics for a few years. But, would like to see her jump in faster.
Customer: Ok, to your last response!
Dr. Keane :

I would tell her that one of your rules (after you read the book) is to participate in one sport for one season, if she doesn't like it she doesn't have to do it again. You want her to jump in faster, she may not be all that comfortable so by saying one sport, one season it may be less threatening to her.

Dr. Keane :

Let her choose the sport too, has she ever played volleyball?

Customer: Ok, sounds good :). Thank you, I will go over this with my husband. He is coming home from a trip in a few minutes. I will finish for now. If I have more questions later, can I contact you direct on here?
Dr. Keane :

Yes, just accept my answer when you leave and in your next chat put my name on the question and I'll get it.

Customer: Ok, great! Thanks so much.
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1704
Experience: Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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