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Lying and stealing

Nikki.V's picture

Quick background: I'm female and married to another. We've been married for 6 years now. I have my own biological son (13) and my wife has her own biological daughter (11). Wife works out of town and I'm here with both of our children. I have an amazing relationship with my son and step daughter. 
Downfall is that even though I've raised my step daughter since she was 4, she's been lying and stealing for the past 3 years now. Every time I bring it up to my wife, she always tries to sugar coat it for my step daughter when they have a conversation or my wife will manipulate the conversation with me. It's frustrating. 
I understand that children tell  white lies and steal bcuz their brains are still developing. Still, I can assure u I thought I instilled great parenting in her bcuz I've never had problems with my son stealing or lying. 
I've had plenty of convos with my step daughter about stealing and lying. If I ask her if she saw something that has gone missing, she tells me she hasn't and I end up finding it in her bedroom. It has been to the point of her stealing my makeup and I suggested that I would take her to the store to buy her own that way she would stop, but it hasn't. I know some may say I'm rewarding her for bad behavior but that isn't the case at all. 
Anyway, I'm to the point where I feel stuck. No matter how many conversations I have with my step daughter or my wife about my step daughter stealing and lying, it just doesn't get through to them. I really feel like they don't understand the severity of the issues. My step daughter is already 11 and she's stealing and lying...I cannot imagine what else she'll be capable of once she becomes a teen! Advice or related stories are appreciated. Thanks in advance. 

Kes's picture

Stealing can indicate emotional problems, but while your wife is in denial of the problem, I don't see that you can solve it on your own.  We went through a stage with SD23 stealing things from our house, including CDs and alcohol, it got to the point we had to lock the cellar where we kept the bottles. She did grow out of it but it was a big problem, and not helped by her mother being a dishonest bitch too.  My DH did challenge his daughter whenever it happened.  I think the main thing that needs to happen is that your DW needs to acknowledge it is a problem.  Otherwise all you can do is put locks on everything or put up discreet CCTV.   The lying is a lesser problem - the SDs still often feed us their elastic version of the truth - they don't realise I can almost always detect the lies.  But I think that's their personality because of their mother. 

Nikki.V's picture

I definitely agree that my wife is enabling her. I have had so many convos with my step daughter that I feel like she just tells me okay so I can stop talking or stares at me with a blank face. I have called her out on so many terrible things she's done and she'll apologize and act as if nothing happened. I don't think talking will take any effect now. 

tog redux's picture

If you are the caregiver, then you should have the right to insist that SD be started in therapy.  Is there a bio father in her life? How does it affect her that her mother is working out of town and has a stepmother raising her? While I'm sure you are good to her, that can feel like abandonment to a kid.

Can't hurt to take her to a therapist for an evaluation.

Nikki.V's picture

Her bio father is in her life and very active. I've exhausted all available resources. My wife and I have spoken to her. We've given her many options and she is comfortable in our home and with my son and I. Thanks for the advice tho. 

Rags's picture

I call bullshit on the "developing brain" excuse.

11 is well old enough to know that stealing and lying are wrong.  The problem is that an effective consequence for the behavior is not being applied.

You are the resident parent.  Your wife gets no say in discipline if she is not there.  Apply unpleasant escalating age appropriate consequences for the stealing and lying unti you land on the level of pain that changes the behavior.

Keep it simple.

Nikki.V's picture

I appreciate the advice. U're correct that 11 yrs old is old enough to understand right from wrong. If I do punishment, I'm the bad one. Family counseling will have to be my last resort or I'm waving the white flag.