When Your Child Lies and Steals

We keep a jar on top of the refrigerator that my husband empties his change into everyday. I use the change for giving the kids lunch money each day. Sometimes, things get hectic in the mornings, and I have my daughter get her own lunch money out of the jar.
Saturday, my daughter was spending money at the bowling ally and the restaurant. Not much, a total of about $1.00. My husband asked her where she got the money. She said it was money she had left over from last year. It was money she had been saving. It didn’t sound right. My daughter can not save money for the life of her. As soon as she has it, she has to spend it.
We were in the car when this all came out, on our way home from lunch out. By the time we reached home, and parked, I was determined to get the truth out of my daughter. One thing I will not tolerate is having my kids lie to me. My husband and son went into the house, and my daughter and I stayed in the car. It took awhile, but I finally got the truth out of her. She had taken some change out of the change jar.
That upset me, because it was stealing, and I taught my daughter better than that. It was her that lying was wrong. I knew why she lied. She was scared. She knew she had done something wrong, but wasn’t sure why it was wrong. In her mind, it should have been alright for her to get money out of the jar. But, deep inside, she knew it was wrong. Her inner voice had told her it was wrong, but she didn’t listen. She lied to me. That hurt me the most. How can I trust her, if she can lie to me? It wasn’t the first time she had lied. Children lie. They have to be taught that it is wrong to lie. Little things like, “Brother did it.” “I don’t know.” Brother didn’t do it. They do know. Not a big deal, but my husband and I would call her out on the little lies, explaining the importance of always telling the truth when we ask her a question. The last time she told a little lie, I told her she would be punished if she were to lie to us again.
This time around, I don’t consider this a little lie. My husband and I had asked her straight out if she had taken money out of the jar, and she said no. Twice asked, and twice denied. My heart broke. It was all I could do to remain calm, and not cry. I wasn’t angry. I was hurt and disappointed.
She was punished. She has lost her TV and computer privileges for a week. She tried to negotiate a lighter punishment, but it didn’t work. I explained to her that if she hadn’t lied, her punishment would have been lighter. She stole from us, and she lied about it. Very serious. Now she has to deal with the consequences. Now I have to deal with whether or not I trust her.

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6 comments on “When Your Child Lies and Steals

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