Day 15: The Sherlock Hat – 6 Clues to solving sneaky behavior

Ruthie Gray The Sherlock Hat 10 Comments

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Seasons come in your child's life where you have to investigate sneaky behavior. Here's how I learned to handle the investigation.I received a letter from the kindergarten teacher that my daughter had been lying at school.

Mortified, I inquired on the full story, which turned out to not be nearly as serious as I thought.

She had thrown a ball and hit someone accidentally.  When asked if she had thrown the ball, she replied no.


I would have said no too at age five, had the teacher asked me that right on the spot.

However, it clued us in to a trait which we would have to keep a pulse on.

Seasons arise in your children’s lives where you will find the need to investigate sneaky behavior.

(Plus, I’ve always wanted to be one of Charlie’s Angels.)

After all, our kids are born with a sin nature (and you were no exception to this rule).

I found out this applied to every single one of my kids.


1.  Notice the clues

If your kid shows up at home with something new and he just came from a friend’s house, you may want to look further into it.


Kids have a tendency to be kleptomaniacs. Click To Tweet


It’s very easy for them to reason that they need a certain toy that belongs to someone else – even if it’s a plastic pea.


Funny story here:

when I was about five years old, my grandma and mother took me to visit friends.  I adored my playmate’s plastic food, and upon leaving for home, I decided to swipe a pea and make a run for it.

I scrambled to the car, home free – except grandma was taking too much time with her goodbyes.  She almost stepped in the car when my little friend ran out of the house screaming, “SHE TOOK MY PEA!! SHE TOOK MY PEA!!!”

To which I promptly shoved it down into a crack behind my seat, never to be seen again.

They questioned me at length about the pea, but since I didn’t have it on my person, the dogs were called off and we went home.

I felt extreme guilt about that pea.

I never stole again.


Fast forward 30 years to my own daughter playing at a friends house.

Ironically, she stole her friend’s plastic pea.

Our kids have our sin nature.

Even little things need to be dealt with, because kids have a tendency to grow, and so do their carnal urges.


2.  Make regular inspections

So your daughter has a boyfriend.  Lovely.

Keep your eye on her.  If she’s acting suspicious about anything, don’t be afraid to get out your magnifying glass.

We’ve been known to search our kid’s rooms.  We’ve also tailed them in our car when they were unaware.

They are your charges.  Don’t be afraid to search the premises if you suspect foul play.

This even includes diaries, if necessary.  Granted, that would be an extreme measure, but at some point, you may have to do it.

(Plus, I always wanted to be Farrah.)


3.  Make the punishment fit the crime

untitled (203)The lying kindergartner received discipline, but we didn’t come down hard on her.  She was only five.

It’s not forensic science.

Direct disobedience needs to be dealt with, but use wisdom so as not to crush your child’s spirit.

Discipline in love, but resolve to have a forgiving spirit.

Use discernment in determining your child’s motives.

The pea thief never stole again.  Stealing just wasn’t as fulfilling a fault as say – getting your brother in trouble for stuff you did.


4.  Perform a clearance check

Once in a while, have your child hand over her phone.  You pay the bills, right?

Even if she pays her own phone bill, you do pay for her life.

Check the computers.

Monitor all electronics and tvs.

Smell their clothes.

Pay attention to details.

Don’t be so distracted that you miss any important signs.

Remember, you are the protector.  No one else will do your job.

(Did I mention that I always wanted Farrah Fawcett hair?)


5.  Key into character

If you know your son has a propensity for stretching the truth, by all means, keep an eye on that.

If your daughter likes to push the limits, remain firm.


Study their character and discipline accordingly. No two children are alike, and they all need direction in different areas. Click To Tweet


Some kids are more complaint than others and give you no reason to suspect.  I’m not saying accuse them if they’ve not given you a reason.

I’m saying maintain awareness.

Also, if your child’s personality is more like yours, he will likely struggle with the same things you do.

Be aware of your own struggles so you can help him with his.

(I was always prideful about my hair.)


6.  Partner with Watson

That would be your husband.  He is your helpmate!  God partnered you with him for a reason.

When my kids hit the teen years, Jim and I did a role reversal.  He became the ever suspicious one, and I was the more lenient.

This was due to his background.  He knew how teens could act and what mischief they could sow.

I mean like he knew it personally.

For this reason, he was ever on his guard.


Collaborate on a plan

We had many a disagreement over parenting techniques during this stage of the game.

But you know what I found out?

He was usually right.  (Shhh!!!  Don’t tell him I said that.)

My husband has an uncanny sense for judging character.  It runs in his family.  He and his brothers can sense a skunk a mile away.  One of his brothers is a detective.  It’s in their blood.

Learn to appreciate the traits of your mate.

(Sometimes I pretended he was Charlie and I was Farrah.)

Don’t let the kids get wind of your disagreements if you can help it at all.  They will try to pit one of you against the other.

It’s going to take all the partnering you’ve got in order to get through the teen years.


Remember, it’s your home

You have a right to search the premises.  You pay for your home, their clothes, and their lifestyle.

“But I don’t want to lose their trust!”  You lament.

Please let me give you some advice that I learned years ago.


You are the mom, not the BFF. There will to be times they hate you. That's because you're doing your job. Click To Tweet


Don’t worry, they’ll come back around when they grow up.

The one in charge here is you, and for good reason.  You have been around the block a time or two yourself.




I’m sorry. You know I had to.

Be the detective when necessary.  Notice the clues, make regular inspections, make the punishment fit the crime.  Monitor their habits, their character, and their space.  Grab your partner and do a search if necessary.

Protect those precious charges God has given you – they’re not mature enough to do it on their own.

Own that Sherlock Hat.

After all – it’s Elementary, my dear Watson.




{Hey!  Pssssst!  Over here!  It’s me again – pretending to be Farrah.  So listen.  If you’re a mom and you need some encouragement and advice on rearing, releasing your child, or regrouping after he’s left, why not sign up for email over at the top right hand corner, just underneath the “31 Hats MOM Wears” picture!  The series runs every day this month.  After that, I’ll settle back down to my regular 3 times per week schedule.  If you would like to contact me, you can do so here.  I’m so very glad you stopped by!


Day 16: The Santa Cap!

Comments 10

    1. Amanda, I wish I would have researched ahead more as I was going through it, but I was too busy just trying to survive! I ended up reading about the phases I was in at the time. So – I learned as I went. Aw, you’re expecting? Wonderful! Congratulations and enjoy all of the different stages of your children!

  1. Parenting is NOT for the weak of heart. But, it’s an important job. Some great tips in here Ruthie. Thanks!! I liked the one: Be aware of your own struggles so you can help him with his. The apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree 😀

    1. You nailed it with that statement! I had one just like me, Jim had one just like him, and we both knew what our respective kid was thinking and how they would react! It sounds like you know all about this!

  2. What a creative, right on way to give advice about this topic. Like you said, “Own that Sherlock hat” and don’t make any excuses. So many parents want to be friends with their kiddos and lots of times that is a disaster.
    The pea story was soooo ironically funny.

    1. The pea story lives on in infamy! lol YES. The irony. Thanks for the words of affirmation, you sound like a soul sista that’s been around the same block I have and lived to tell the story. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I am going to take notes over and over again. I have a tween now and check her computer and phone regularly. I am proud of her because she knows I am doing it for her own good. 😉

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