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Daughter lying and defiant

Hi Claire

I have just been on your website and have found your advice most helpful and informative.

Please can you help .My daughter is 8-years-old and her behavior is starting to scare me.

She has always been a very loving and strong willed child but since she started Grade 1 , she is displaying behavioural problems. She refuses to listen to her teacher, lies all the time at school about homework and what is happening .She knows the punishment for telling lies and she continues.

This has continued in Grade 2 and now in Grade 3 , she has started copying for her tests and the lies are just getting worse. She only joins the kids that are naughty and will only listen when her dad or I physically hit her.

Even when we take away her privileges , it doesn’t faze her the least bit. When we discipline her , she just stares at us with no cares in the world and acts like it is nothing out of the ordinary.

I honestly don’t know how to deal with this problem and I am afraid that as she gets older , her behavior is going to get out of control.

Your advice will really help .



Thank you for your email and kind words about my site.

I understand your concern for your child. It sounds to me as though your child is in pain and crying out for attention.

It is imperative that you stop giving her negative attention by disciplining her as what you have been doing is not meeting her needs, and is in fact encouraging her negative behaviour.

Your daughter needs positive attention from you, feeling that she is loved and special to you her parents. In addition, she needs you to be her supporters and teachers rather than her critics.

I would advise that you and your husband change your negative thoughts about her and adopt a positive approach. Sit with her and apologise to her for hitting her and being hard on her. Promise her that moving forward you will be doing things differently. Explain to her that she is very precious to you and that you love her dearly and want to be there for her listening to her without comment. Tell her she is still young and it is ok to make mistakes and that you will not be angry with her but rather would like to help her learn from her mistakes.

Give her space to express herself and tell you what she needs without commenting. Acknowledge her feelings of pain. If she finds it difficult to verbally express her needs, let her write them down or even allow her to write her thoughts on the mirrors of the house with a felt tipped pen that can be easily erased. Do not react to her feelings. Acknowledge them and make a plan with your husband to meet her needs.

You and your husband will have to be patient and tolerant as your daughter tests your new positive approach.It will take time to change the way you interact with her and for her to trust that you will not punish her. Tell her teacher about what you are doing at home and ask her and the school to support your positive approach. If you find it difficult contact me as I also do phone consultations and can help you step by step or contact your local FAMSA branch for parent counselling.  

Good luck and let me know how you all are doing.

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