“My adopted daughter is 11 years but steals; it started with stealing food, someone said maybe she doesn’t get enough food or hasn’t been eating such foods (because I brought her from the village). I then made sure she ate 3 meals and other snacks as the case may be.
But she has started stealing money to buy things in school.
Please, what should I do? I’ve flogged, punished and also read stories to her.
In fact, I’ve taught her Ex. 20:15
This was a query I handled some time ago with results. Many of these queries come daily from both our group coaching and our private coaching sessions in the Intentional Parent Academy.

Here are some of the steps I shared with this parent, I thought someone will find this advice useful also.

📌First things you must note:

A child is built-in values and many other things from ages 1-10. So training actually happens at this age, any other thing you are doing will be tough.

However, this is not to say you can’t correct a child above ages 1-10, I am just preparing your mind for what you have coming.

✔You will need to reassure this girl of love and acceptance. I know that many times you will be tempted to condemn, judge her and eventually get run over by emotions and never actually understand why this is happening. This takes me to the next point

✔The Why?

Why is she “stealing” money? Now the misbehaviour is not just the problem, the problem is what is causing this misbehaviour. I usually like to use the iceberg theory to resolve ‘misbehaviours’. What you are seeing is just less than 10% of the actual thing that is happening.

In my book “The Discipline that Works”, I shared on how misbehaviours just don’t happen and how you can resolve them looking beyond the misbehaviour itself.

Have you even taught she could be using the money to buy something like “drugs”… Which is even worse than oh “you are a thief”.

📌Unfortunately, many times as parents we are more interested in our “Ego” than the challenges a child is actually going through. This is why when a child presents a challenge in the name of misbehaviour the first thing we think of is “Why are do you want to disgrace me”, “Do you know the family you come from? “.

None of these statements is bad in itself if spoken at the right times. but many times these words come to your child as ” We don’t make mistakes here”…so when they do make mistakes because they will surely do, they don’t have you in the picture.

Yesterday I was in a one on one session with a parent where I shared with her about working on our ego as parents. We are more interested in ” How a child is “disgracing us” for the “What will people say narrative” than the issues this child might be battling with. We are constantly making our children’s problems about us which in the real sense isn’t.

You will need to find out what is behind this behaviour, It could be anything really including some kind of emotional or mental challenge.

✔Have an open mind to really accept this girl and work on her. How I deal with this is just imagine you had a child and she got missing and she was now sent back to you. I have a foster daughter and trust me before I could get result with her, I had to work on my acceptability and love for her.

✔Work on your Emotions, at our, just concluded course for last quarter “Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Parent ” class a parent said in her review; “Until you work on your emotions you will never realise that its only emotional weakness that makes us “flog and yell” at Children.

Mastering your emotions will help you manage misbehaviour, be saner, and have a better result. So commit to working on your emotions. The next class for this course is in February, you can send a chat to me for details.

✔Make her create a vision and goal for life. You can make her build a vision board. Build skills, use an activity to distract her. Now what this will do, is to make her focused on the positive., as well as you the parent.

✔Use affirmations for her. Look for positive words, and make her speak to herself every day. Include “I am satisfied with my life” I am contented with who I am…paste this on the wall or the bedside for her.

✔Equip yourself with more knowledge to raise her. Parenting is about you, whatever result you will have is about you. If you have this mentality, then helping your daughter will be easy.

✔Pray for her, but remember to work as you pray. The Bible says “my people perish for lack of knowledge, not prayers.”

Meanwhile, have you registered for our first Parent Booth Camp for 2020 in Abuja? Every stage of parenting requires some new set of skills, don’t miss this.

I hope this helps a parent out there. Share with others, you might be saving a parent by doing so.

Be Intentional.

©Wendy Ologe
Parent Coach &Author