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My 10-Year-Old Lies and Steals

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I have a 10-year-old daughter. She lives with my mom and is with me on the weekends. Recently she has started stealing and lying and nothing seems to work punishment-wise. She has ADHD and takes medicine for it, she has social issues, and throws some of the worst tantrums. I do not know what to do anymore with her. We have talked to her, we sent her to a weekend bootcamp, she sees a psych, we have grounded and took away all privileges and even resorted to spanking, still nothing works. We have tried the reward systems to and its not helping what am I doing wrong??? Please help.

My 10-Year-Old Lies and Steals

Answered by on -


Please don’t think of it as doing something wrong. From the description it sounds like your daughter may need a little more face time and attention from you that isn’t about correcting her. It sounds like the situation has grown out of necessity — and while I am sure that it is functional, children often seek attention, even if it is negative, as a way of bonding with the parent.

Find ways to connect with her regularly throughout the week. Through text and Emoji, FaceTime, and notice the things that she is good at and has interest in. I’m not suggesting that you’re not doing these things, but when the child is persistent in there acting out, it often means they are looking for their mom to notice. This doesn’t mean giving in to her or trying to be her friend. Yet it means building a relationship with her where she gets noticed for her strengths.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

My 10-Year-Old Lies and Steals

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). My 10-Year-Old Lies and Steals. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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