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How can I help my boyfriend's son learn that lying has consequences when his mother is teaching him to lie?

My boyfriend's son is 13 and lives with us 40% of the time. The other day he received a text from his ex saying that she had kept their son home from school because he had food poisoning and was up all night. She had fixed him a bacon/egg sandwich that was bad. They both ended up getting sick. They get "food poisoning" a lot...

It was our night with his son so when the son came over he tried to keep up with the food poisoning story. He said the bacon had ants crawling on it, but they ate it anyway. He also said that his mom wasn't sick and that he didn't start feeling bad until the morning. His dad asked him if he really expected him to believe that they had food poisoning...again, and told him that he had one chance to tell the truth. His son said that he was tired and just didn't get out of bed. He actually lies quite a bit and has been for years. We ALWAYS end up finding out.

Dad text the mom who immediately made it her son's fault (saying, "why do you always do this to me? I'm tired of your dad's mood swings and bullshit.") and then my boyfriend's fault. Two days later she acts like nothing has happened.

The mom lies ALL THE TIME about little things and big things. She lies to the school to get her son more time to do homework ("I was in the hospital please excuse..."). She's 40, broke, just had to move out of her condo and in with a friend, and loses jobs all the time because she stays home "sick". Last year she had lupus and was dying in a couple of years, then she developed breast cancer 3 times in 6 months. Now she says that she was misdiagnosed with lupus and the doctors aren't sure what she has. The lies go on and on.

Besides being grounded and losing privileges at our house, how do I teach this child that if he keeps lying he is creating a habit that will cost him dearly in the future?

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TereseM

Asked by TereseM at 10:55 AM on Apr. 16, 2011 in Teens (13-17)

Level 2 (12 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • until his cow of a mother stops lying he won't either.. sorry
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:57 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • Other than stressing to him that he always has to be honest I don't know what more you can do. It sounds like he does "get it" and was honest when his dad insisted on him telling the truth.
    elizabr

    Answer by elizabr at 11:06 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • YOU do nothing. You aren't his parent. It is up to his FATHER to teach his child right from wrong. It isn't going to happen until the mother gets help with her HABITUAL LYING and the father punishes his son for lying.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:06 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • Honestly, YOU can't. As much as it is great that you want to help, if you cross your boundaries with this child he will end up hating you and it will cause more trouble than its worth. His dad needs to explain to him that he can tell him anything and not get in trouble but it's when you lie that you get yelled at or punished. Him and his dad need to have an open communication, and dad needs to STOP confronting the mother because it's that much more stress on the son, and where does it seriously get them??? Dad should tell son that as long as he tells the truth he will not get in trouble..also he's 13, why force a child to go somewhere he doesn't want to be, if he wants to skip a visitation than he should be allowed...without being forced by the mother to lie...IMHO open communication is the only way to go about it without making this child more confused than he already is. He needs to know he can talk to dad.
    kitchenwitch78

    Answer by kitchenwitch78 at 11:10 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • I have the same problem in reverse. My ex lies all the time and taught my son how to lie, and it was worse when the SM was around she seemed to be the ring leader. The way I have always done it is by making sure my kids knew if they lied and got caught punishment would be worse then if they had just told the truth. I would sit down and let him know from now on if he lies his punishment will be 10 times worse then if he just owned up. Explain to him you know when he is at his moms he cant control if she wakes up on time, or whatever, so if she isnt getting up on time (and thats likely what it is) he isnt going to be punished. However if he lies for her then he will.
    gemgem

    Answer by gemgem at 11:10 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • @kitchenwitch78-He's 13...if he doesn't want to go to school he shouldn't be forced to go? Um, I think it's the law that he is required to go to school. This had nothing to do with visitation...not sure where you got that.
    TereseM

    Comment by TereseM (original poster) at 11:24 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • Gotta agree with tyfry on this one. This is your BOYFRIEND's son - NOT YOUR son - NOT YOUR PLACE TO STEP IN! You as an unwed adult female could give the ex another bullet in her arsenal, so tread carefully.
    twinsplus2more

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 6:07 PM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • Hopefully he will see what a mess his mom's life is and stop lying. Until then keep him truthful at your house!
    CometGirl

    Answer by CometGirl at 6:25 PM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • Children learn what they live. He learned it from her. Just explain to him what's up and that it's not necessary in your home and in real life. I'd teach him before I started punishing him. The only punishment in my mom's home was telling the truth. That can be scary to a kid but it's a valuable tool. Of course lying got us close to being killed so we chose the truth! It will take him some time. Just call him on it when you think he's falling back in to old habits. Reinforce the good. When he changes it to the truth on his own without being asked then reward him. Rewards for good behavior goes a longer way than punishing for the bad imho
    admckenzie

    Answer by admckenzie at 1:56 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • its gonna be hard
    mommyof3-2008

    Answer by mommyof3-2008 at 12:12 PM on May. 20, 2011

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