Can someone give me some quick parenting advice?

Discussion in 'Gentle guidance' started by maryalene, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. maryalene

    maryalene Guest

    Long story short:

    Madeline is 7 and in 2nd grade. Earlier in the fall she started bringing home a friend's gameboy to play. I wasn't thrilled with the idea but decided that she could play a little bit each night. One day I came home, she said that she was feeling sick and stayed in her room all night. DS mentioned that she was upstairs playing a gameboy. I went up and asked her for it, and she said she didn't have one. I checked the bed and didn't find one. Later DH said he was certain she came home with one and went up to check. He found her hiding a Nintendo DS and she said that she wasn't lying because I had asked for a gameboy. So at that point, we said no more gameboys, DSs, whatever in the house. This was probably about two months ago.

    Fast forward to today. DS has been asking for a gameboy for Christmas (which he is not getting) and said something along the lines of "I promise I won't lie to you about it like Madeline who has her gameboys under a pillow behind her bed." So I go and check and lo and behold, there is not one, but two gameboys and three games behind her bed on the floor.

    I've sent her to her room for the time being, but I am just at a complete loss as to what to do about this lying. I really just want to return all her presents and buy a lump of coal for her stocking. She does have a playdate with a friend from school next week that I could cancel, but this little boy has been begging all year for Madeline to come over so I feel like I would be punishing him if I cancel that. When we had some problems with Madeline in the past, I cleared out of her room everything but clothes and then she was able to earn things back through good behavior. Maybe I need to do something like that again. I just don't know what to do with her. :help:
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2006
  2. lupineperriwink

    lupineperriwink Gnome Queen

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    My girls are young so I haven't much advice. I do wonder though how she got not one but two gameboys and games. My neice wouldn't let hers out of her sight!
  3. annsni

    annsni Amity's Focus Member

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    Where is she getting the games from?? I can't imagine someone sending a child to school with a gameboy - is that where she's getting them?? Honestly, I'd tell her that you now had to check through her bookbag daily as soon as she comes home and that you need to check HER out too (she's sneaky). I'd also tell her that you can no longer trust her to be honest with you and that makes you very sad because you love her and you'd LIKE to trust her. Explain to her about trust and what it is - and what lying is (even hiding something is lying- AND disobeying). I'd cut her off of any friends from outside of the school time for a time (I tell my kids that they are not learning this at home so I will have to cut out all outside influences for a time to find out what was causing the problem, although it's easier for me since I homeschool - not sure if it would work when going to school since they get SO much there) AND cut out TV and any other 'fun' things. Definately still give her the gifts for Christmas and let her play with them and such, but also, I'd keep the toys and fun things in the public area of the house so you can watch her. Don't let her play in her room by herself (or check on her regularly when she's in there).

    I can pretty safely say - deal with it now and it will help a LOT in the future. We went through lying stages with both of my girls and we dealt a firm hand on it (no, not spanking, although we do spank - we didn't feel spanking was appropriate in those cases) and now at 14 and 16, they're pretty much completely honest with me - telling me so much more than so many teens tell their parents!

    ((HUGS)) I hope you can work it out with her!!

    Ann
  4. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    My 13 and 14yr olds share a gameboy, and they are getting a DS to share for Christmas. They can come in handy.

    She's sneaking because she really wants to play and you don't want her to. :lol: Kids are very predicatable, really.

    She's only 7. My 7 yr old is an interesting creature, very bright, but so little. I know she would rather be honest than not, but if kids feel put into a corner, sometimes they can't help themselves.

    What exactly about the Gameboy (besides the lying) is a problem to you? You can put limits on it.

    As for getting the games, children do bring them to school, they do trade and borrow games and they do share cheat codes from the internet. You can also get a cord where two gameboys can duel. That's a very good way to pass the time in a car. We borrow a second Gameboy for this.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2006
  5. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    I didn't answer any questions about the lying.

    I would say "We talked about lying. I don't want you to lie to me. I can see you really want to play these games. I know they can be fun. We've got to figure something out".

    I would not take her toys away and replace them with a lump of coal-- I know you're kidding. I would approach this as "I know sometimes little children do things like this when they really want something, but I can't have us not being honest with each other. I understand that you really want to play, but sneaking isn't the way to handle this".

    I would take them for now, but i would find a way that she can play sometimes without feeling like it's bad to want to play. There is nothing wrong with her desire to want to play gameboy. There isn't anything evil in it. You may not wish her to play, and you can make that a rule that she can't. But she's not a bad girl for having the desire, kwim?
  6. maryalene

    maryalene Guest

    Thank you both. I'm pretty sure that I know who the gameboys are from. When she lied about the DS, I talked to the mom about it and she apparently didn't have a problem with her son loaning it out. After that incident, I also talked to the mom of the other boy whose gameboy I knew Madeline had and she said that her son wasn't suppose to taking his to school. We also talked to the teacher who said that no one should have games in school so she's been helping on that end.

    So while I don't think Madeline took these gameboys without their owners' permission, last year we did have problems with her stealing things from other kids' desks. And in K, she was suspended for a day because she had a meltdown on the playground and literally had to be dragged inside by the principal (in hindsight, I think the principal overreacted but we have a new principal now). So this is part of a string of bad choices that Madeline has made.

    I don't want to make a mountain out a molehill, but I am really concerned that Madeline seems to have no moral compass. And this is not how she was raised. She knows right from wrong, but for whatever reason she either doesn't want to or is incapable of making the right decision.

    We were checking her backpack everyday after the DS incident but eventually stopped. I guess we need to go back to that. I think I will have her clear out her room today too. Thanks for listening everyone.
  7. maryalene

    maryalene Guest

    Laurie, I think we were writing at the same time. I didn't see your posts when I first replied. I totally understand the appeal of video games. While I am not thrilled with my kids having gameboys, I am not completely anti- video games either. And here is part of what is so frustrating to me. When Madeline started bringing the gameboys home, we told her yes, you can play them. We set up some ground rules that she needed to have homework done, it needed to be shut off an hour before bedtime and couldn't be in her room overnight. The problem was when she said that she was sick so she could stay in her room all night to play the games, skipped dinner and then lied about having it in her room. That's just pulling-my-hair-out frustrating to me because we were letting her play the video games within reason and she ruined it by lying.
  8. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    I know I should stop while I am ahead. But I can't, dammit. :lol:

    I am sure your child has a moral compass. It sounds like your child is impulsive, which is *not* the same as being without a compass.

    I would urge you more to find the good, talk to her openly, figure out a way she can have what she would like while at the same time being honest.

    Taking everything away tells her she is a bad girl. What she needs to know is that she is a lovley, nice little girl who needs a little help controlling herself. You are there to help her do that.

    Take the Gameboys and the games. But leave everything else and help her to see herself as a kind child who is growing and learning. Some little children are impulsive. No amount of punishment changes that as well as growth or patience and consistent recognition of the decency in her that you do see.

    I also wonder why a school would suspend a 5 yr old who was melting down. Have you read "The Highly Sensitive CHild"? It's a very helpful book for little children who need a little 'extra' something. It saved me.

    Don't be angry at my words, ok? I know you are a thoughtful mother. Your child is 7-- a baby. She might be your oldest, but she is not old.
  9. laotamama

    laotamama New Member

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    At our public schools gameboys and the like are forbidden. I think this is serious. Where are the electronic games coming from?? That is concerning becasue I can't imagine other parents would be happy about their children sending the games home with others. That very situation caused so much unrest in our school with the games getting "lost" and such, that they forbid them entirely. I hope she has gotten them legitimately. You never know, kids make mistakes....

    The lying is a big concern too. Gosh, good luck with all of this. I'd be distraught.
  10. maryalene

    maryalene Guest

    Oh, I'm not upset by your words Laurie. You are one of the experienced moms on the board whose opinion I really value so I am really glad that you saw my post and replied. After I found the gameboys, I asked Madeline to go up to her room, but I haven't gone up yet to talk to her because I am still not sure how best to approach this situation. I don't want to blow up and overreact but I don't want to let her think that lying to us is acceptable and lying seems to be a continual problem for her.
  11. gethane

    gethane New Member

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    First off, I agree with MamaX4 on everything she said.

    Second, these really concern me:

    She's 7. Barely a child. Just 2 years from an adorable 5 year old kindergarten cherub. A 7 year old is NOT making a string of bad choices. And she WILL have a moral compass.. sometime in her teens, maybe in her 20's even. The only kids at this age that behave perfectly are 1) those kids who are naturally just behavers (I have one of those) and 2) those that are beaten into submission. However, those that are beaten into submission will just act out secretly later anyway.

    I'm not trying to be mean, but I seriously think you need to read some academic books on child development. She isn't immoral, she's 7. And she's making choices NORMAL 7 year olds make. Definitely address the lying and the hiding. But I truly think you'd be better off to sit down, have a good talk about this stuff, get her her own gameboy, limit the time on it, use it as a privilege she can earn. It's like prohibition. And we know how great that turned out in the 20's and how wonderful its worked today for the drug war.

    When you take something that people really want to do, and isn't hurting anyone, and make it a crime, then you make those people criminals. And that, in effect, is what you've done to your daughter :(.
  12. gethane

    gethane New Member

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    well i see this is a busy thread and there's been lots of cross posting.

    take this behavior and set it aside from YOU. I think a lot of anger and upsets in parenting come from feeling like its YOUR fault that your child is doing a, b, and c. It MIGHT be, but this isn't the case here. You are teaching her right from wrong. She just hasn't internalized it yet OR as mamax4 said, she's impulsive and can't yet control her behavior on this.
  13. Jayne

    Jayne New Member

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    I just want to second everything MamaX4 said in both of her posts.
  14. maryalene

    maryalene Guest

    I just want to clarify in case it was missed in my earlier post that she did have the opportunity to play the gameboy before she lied about it. It wasn't a "forbidden fruit" so to speak. But once it became something that she was lying about, we told her that she had lost the privilege.

    I don't expect my 7 year old to behave perfectly, but stealing and habitual lying, even when confronted with the truth, don't seem like normal behaviors to me. However, my judgement might be clouded by the fact that at conferences, the teacher mentioned that she sees behaviors in Madeline that are just not typical for 2nd graders and suggested that it might be a good idea to have her evaluated. So maybe that is clouding my perception.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2006
  15. maryalene

    maryalene Guest

    Oh, and I just wanted to add that I do appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions. I really am at a loss about what to do which is why I posted. I realize that I am still a young parent and don't have all the answers. I do have a couple parenting books on hold at the library and will put in a request for Laurie's suggestion as well. :)
  16. Jayne

    Jayne New Member

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  17. gethane

    gethane New Member

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    well, that could be. You obviously know your daughter better than me, and it is hard to take one behavior and evaluate it without being mired in all the behaviors that came before. I was TERRIBLY guilty of this for awhile. My older kids, when younger, were pretty destructive. Broke a window, hole in a wall upstairs (though to be fair, the walls are this weird just slightly stronger than cardboard stuff --old house) and a couple years ago, I was *****ing at them for something and my daughter, now 14, but 12 at the time, said, "ya'know mom, that was YEARS ago," And to her, it was half a lifetime ago, though to me it seemed not that long ago. But they are COMPLETELY different people now than they were then. They haven't broken a window or put a hole in the wall for years, and yet here I was still judging them for it :( Obviously, not the case here for a 7 year old, just telling a little anecdote I guess.

    If her teacher has some concerns as well, those aren't necessarily connected to the gameboy and lying thing.

    Be wary, though, of labeling your child through getting "help" or therapy. Yes, sometimes kids need it. But "normal" for kids is a very wide spectrum of behavior. But schools like nice, sedate children who follow the rules like robots. That's why there's a new problem with kids being overmedicated from the time they are 3 or so on. Its really scary if you read the articles about it.

    I think a lot of parenting is just keeping your kids from making truly tragic errors and keeping them safe and others safe from them, until their brain kicks in and they can really start to behave in the ways you've modeled for them their whole life.

    wow, well i'm gonna stop typing now. I see i've written a book. Guess that's what happens when daddy's home and the baby sleeps in with him and I'm not on my feet busy from the getgo.
  18. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    Thank you so much for understanding and being patient with me. :lol: I can be very steamroller-y. :help:

    Let's break this down. She's 7, first and foremost. That's not a lot of time on this earth. She's still experimenting, she's till trying to figure out the boundaries. She might not have the capacity at this point to say "Mom, I want to play the Gameboy more". She might not understand a mother can be reasonable. lol

    In her inexperienced mind she knows you don't want her to play a lot, which is normal. I want my children to do a variety of things as well. That's fine, that's being a parent. That's wondering if these things are ok, if sitting for so long looking at a screen for hours is healthy...(Let's not talk about my computer use, shall we? ;))

    The thing is, she doesn't know all that is running through your mind. She just knows, on a vauge level (and yes, really it is vague-- her life experience is limited), that you don't think she should be playing all that she feels she wants to play. So instead of verbalizing all that (which she can't) and/or thinking about all your concerns, she simply doesn't say anything. Well, ok, she said she wasn't feeling well. I can see that this is really annoying.

    But, try not to see it as something she planned and thought out for long. Her impulsivity, and lack of understanding how to verbalize what she wanted/needed resulted in the 'lie'. She didn't want you to be mad. And she didn't want you to say no. She was afraid you'd take it. So there ya go. Not Al Capone, just an impulsive 7 yr old. Period.

    So, take the Gameboy for now. Take the games. It's enough. Tell her that she can be honest with you. That she can talk about these things with you. That you know she is little and learning and sometimes these things happen, but making up stories so she can play isn't the way to get what she needs. Let her know you think she is a bright, lovely little person and that you are there to help her get what she needs, while also helping her to grow healthy. Tell her you want her to play and not just with the gameboy etc. Her end is to be as upfront as she can. If she's not sure, she can ask you. Let her know she can verbalize her needs. "I really want to...(fill in the blank)."

    If you do decide she can play, take it when the agreed upon play period is done. You hold on to it until the next agreed upon time. Work with her to find times that it's ok to play for a bit. Maybe instead of a lot of little times, you hold it until 4 on Saturday, say, and she can play until she falls asleep, but then it goes back into storage until the next time.

    This is about the Gameboy, not all her other things. I think taking it is enough. Dont ruin your holiday. Enjoy her, and keep the Gameboy incident seperate from whayever else you worry about.
  19. gethane

    gethane New Member

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    wow mamax4. I want you to come be my mother mentor too :) You speak some really wise and KIND words.
  20. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    Gethane wrote: Be wary, though, of labeling your child through getting "help" or therapy. Yes, sometimes kids need it. But "normal" for kids is a very wide spectrum of behavior. But schools like nice, sedate children who follow the rules like robots. That's why there's a new problem with kids being overmedicated from the time they are 3 or so on. Its really scary if you read the articles about it.--

    And I write-- Yes! Yes! Yes!! So many normal children being thought of as abnormal. They grow out of so many things. They don't need therapy. We need therapy! :lol: (Not speaking to you, MaryAlene! lol I am thinking how Gethan's statement pushes all my buttons about how mainstreamers treat children. Get therapy, drug them! Argggggggg!!!!).

    Little children are often wild, celf-centered, impulsive, noisy, crabby about wasting time doing 'homework'. Little children have big emotions. That's normal. They don't come into this world not needing a parent to help them learn about the world. We are not turtles! It's why childhood lasts a good loing time.

    Look at puppies nipping at each other, look at little baby gorillas. They are wild. Gorillias also have long childhoods. It takes time to learn about the world.

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