Parenting K-6 Kids/If She Can Get Away With It


My daughter will push the limits and refuses to break rules. She doesn't seem to care if it affects someone else or if the rules are there to keep her safe. Instead, the only thing she wants is to avoid being caught. If she thinks she can get away with it, she'll do it. As a result, we don't allow her to have an email account. So, she hacks into her friends' and send out mean emails under their names. What are we to do? By the way, she's going into 6th grade. She's very bright (GATE student) and is 11 years old.

Hello Kayla,

It's normal for kids to push the limits, to see what their boundaries are. It's so crucial that we set those boundaries and if they are crossed, there must be consequences. Kids don't like said consequences, but they need them, and (here's the cool part) the consequences make them feel safe, because once children understand their limits, they feel secure and understand where they reside in this world of choices.

As an 11-year old, she should be at the age where she realizes that some rules are there for her safety and that if she's hurtful of other people she should feel guilty, remorseful and regret. It doesn't sound as though she has reached this place yet. Instead, she sounds as though she will do whatever she can as long as she gets away with it. the only deterrent are consequences. So, if she doesn't get caught, there are no consequences and she's up to break more rules.

The biggest concern I have for her is that if she can't break this soon, she may start dabbling in some scary behaviors down the road that could include breaking laws and getting involved with drugs. I am assuming that you have consequenced her. That means that the consequences are either not severe enough for her to stop or that she is not getting caught enough. She's getting away with these behaviors more often than not, so although she is being consequenced, because she is finding joy out of getting away with breaking the rules, there's more pros than cons in breaking the rules.

That means you either need to consequence in a way that means something to her (I am not advising any kind of abuse): taking away what she really loves, having her make official apologies to the ones affected, or even volunteering for a non-profit that has something to do with her indiscretion. Or, you need to be more vigilante and watch over her more intently so you catch more of her mishaps. That may mean less play dates. You accompanying her to a location, or an open-door policy with her room.

The one specific you have given me is about her emails. I wonder if she has had an email account in the past and abused it, or if you are just too concerned to even give her one. If she has never had one, maybe it being something she doesn't have has caused her to be sneaky and do wrong when she gets her hands on her friends' accounts. Have you considered giving her an account that you can monitor? If she has one, she can't send messages to other kids and pretend she's someone else. She has to take responsibility for what she does. So, if she does wrong, her peers may be the natural consequence that she needs to cut it out. Or, maybe she won't do wrong now that she has her own account.

Hope that helps.

Parenting K-6 Kids

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Leon Scott Baxter


I can answer questions about raising happy, successful children. The two are synonymous. I would love to help you help your child find his passion or strength, how to encourage your child and give her opportunities, and discuss the importance of failure, perseverance, and resilience. If you have questions about how to get your child to believe in herself or how to parent versus being her friend, I can help. I can answer questions about how to model the right behaviors for your child, and what those behaviors might be for your specific situation. I also can help you deal with excuses: excuses you may be making for your child as well as excuses he is making for himself.


I have been an elementary school teacher for seventeen years. I am also an author, known as "America's Relationship Guru". I was a contributor to "Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul". My first three books have dealt with the relationship between couples in a romantic relationship. I am currently working on a new book on raising happy and successful children. For the book I interviewed happy, successful children (Maddie Bradshaw, Caine Monroy and many others) and/or their parents. I am also the father of two girls (10 and 15). Their resumes include: business owners, authors, YouTube celebrity, fundraisers, and print models. They have appeared in commercials, music videos, have interacted with mayors, international politicians, and one was mentioned on Capitol Hill for her help in finding a cure for pediatric cancer. They have watched a Dodger's Game with Jackie Robinson's daughter, been a pen pal with Dom DeLuise, and one was an official toy tester, while the other was invited to pitch her idea to a toy company. They've had these successes while also dealing with anxiety disorders and OCD.

• • • The Santa Barbara Independent • The Valley Voice • Atlanta Parent Magazine • • Coastal Woman • Santa Barbara Parent Source • • The One World Initiative Blog • •

I received a Bachelor's Degree in Film Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and got a teaching credential from Cal State Northridge.

Awards and Honors
• Named a Ben and Jerry's Citizen Cool • KLITE Community Hero • Certificate of Congressional Recognition in Teaching • Name is on the National Wall of Tolerance • Recipient of Realiastar's "Education's Unsung Heroes" Grant • Numerous "Best Dad in the World/Universe/Galaxy Certificates/Mugs/T-shirts/Hats

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