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MomTalk.com November 24, 2017:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more


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Out of Control Teen Needs Help: Sylvia Rimm on Raising Kids

Q. I have a 13-year-old daughter who's very sassy and has suddenly gotten in a habit of stealing things, especially from her 17-year-old sister. We've grounded her, but when we come back from running errands she's not home. She goes to a friend's house. We've been telling her for a week to clean her room. We finally had to spank her to get that done. I'm at my wit's end. What can I do? She also has an attention deficit disorder.

By Sylvia Rimm

Q. I have a 13-year-old daughter who's very sassy and has suddenly gotten in a habit of stealing things, especially from her 17-year-old sister. We've grounded her, but when we come back from running errands she's not home. She goes to a friend's house. We've been telling her for a week to clean her room. We finally had to spank her to get that done. I'm at my wit's end. What can I do? She also has an attention deficit disorder.

A. You can see that your spanking didn't accomplish compliance, and grounding your daughter when you're not at home won't serve as a reasonable consequence either. A 13-year-old who ignores a mother's limits has been over-empowered.

It may be that you and her father weren't consistent or that you haven't followed through in the past. Her ADHD may certainly play a part in her impulsiveness, as well, and the stealing may also be a part of that impulsiveness, but needs to be taken seriously. Your daughter may be stealing to attract family attention and may feel very jealous of her sister.

Your daughter will benefit from clear structure and consequences, but the consequences should be ones that you and her father can follow through on. There also should be positive things happening in her life so that she wants to please her family and doesn't have to resort to stealing for attention.

Your daughter's problem seems serious. I recommend you see a psychologist for further help with her behavior now. High school and further challenges are ahead, so don't wait until her theft gets her into trouble with the law.

Dr. Sylvia B. Rimm is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the author of many books on parenting. More information on raising kids is available at www.sylviarimm.com.



Categories: Teens, Children,


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