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Needing help with a 9 yr old habitual....liar?

Posted by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 10:48 AM
  • 20 Replies

 Good morning, ladies.  I need some input....

DS is 9 yrs old.  He will be 10 yrs old in November.  He has always had a wild imagintion.  However, for the past couple of years, he has gotten into the habit of flat out lying.  Here are 2 recent situations:

Before school let out, his school was holding a fundraiser event for the Relay for Life.  A flyer was sent home, and each student who raised $60 or more for the event, would receive a water bottle with the school's logo on it, and a basketball with the school's logo on it.  I took him around the neighborhood to let him knock on doors and ask for donations, so that he could raise as much money as he could.  Well, he ended up raising $18.  As far as I knew, he turned in the $18.  He didn't get the prizes of course, but a good deed was done, and I made sure that he knew he had helped out in a major way, even though he didn't meet his goal of $60.  Well, a couple of weeks go by, and the PE teacher calls me (they turned the money in during PE).  She said that she wanted to make sure that we knew that he turned in 3 $20 bills, which she found a bit odd because most of the kids turned in $1 bills, $5 bills, etc. because that is what people were willing to donate.  I told her that as far as I knew, all he raised was $18, but that there was a possibility that he raised more money while he was at his dad's house, and that his dad could have possibly gave him the $20's in exchange for carrying multiple bills.  I told her that I would call his dad and find out.  Well, I called his dad, and he said no, he didn't know anything about the fundraiser, but that he would talk to DS and see what information he could get out of him.  Well, DS had a very "likely" story about how he had raised a lot of money while going door to door on his dad's side of the neighborhood (we live on opposite sides of a big neighborhood) and that people eventually started asking him if he had change for a $20 and that is how he ended up with $20's.  His dad and I both knew this wasn't the truth, but the downfall was that we had checked with everybody that we could, and nobody seemed to be missing any money.  About a week later, I finally sat him down and explained to him that I'm a very smart woman, and I knew he wasn't telling the truth about where he got the money from.  We went back & forth for about 15 minutes when he finally told me that he stole it from his step mom.  He said that it "fell out of her purse", which was another lie because once confronted a few more times, he admitted to getting it out of her wallet.  So, I told his dad and step mom what had happened, he got grounded for the rest of the school year (which was 6 weeks) and he had all of his outside privileges and video games taken away as well.

Fast forward to this weekend.  This past week, he went to Florida with his dad and his family.  His favorite show is Duck Dynasty.  He told me that his dad took him to Bass Pro Shop, bought him a Duck Commander duck call that was green with flames on it, and that he got to meet Si (one of the people on the show) and take his picture with him.  So, I emailed his dad this morning to see if I could get a copy of the picture to add to his photos at our house.  He said that none of it was true.  He said that he bought him a disposable camera, and that they did go to Bass Pro Shop and that they saw posters of all of the people on Duck Dynasty, but that was it.

So - my advice from you ladies is what on Earth do you do with a child who constantly lies about stuff.  Just makes up complete flat out stories, that they know isn't true, at all?  It's really starting to concern me because I thought that by this age, he should have grown out of this?  Maybe not?  But even so, I absolutely can not believe a word the child ever says.  These are just 2 bigger situations.  He is constantly lying about stuff.  I'm at a loss with discipline. 

by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 10:48 AM
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Replies (1-10):
esox
by Bronze Member on Jul. 1, 2013 at 11:08 AM
1 mom liked this

Does he tell stories about things that happen at your house as well? Both examples were related to dad's house, maybe he feels like no one is actually listening to him or feels that Dad isn't giving him enough attention so he creates these ellborate stories about what he wished could happen. I'd try to spend more time with him and find ways to show him that you and dad do actually listen. Find fun things to with him that require good communication. Maybe geocaching? What kid doesn't like being outside on a treasure hunt?
Kudos to your kid for taking the money for a good cause. He must have  good heart. I think the punishment is a little off, not exactly logical for the crime committed. I would have must made him work off the money he had taken, 6 weeks worth of dishes, vaccumming, helping a neighbor..  

mommyjudy7
by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 11:18 AM

It is 150% normal! My 8 year old comes out of no where with such lies. Their imaginations are unbelievable at this age. We just have to sit back and get a kick out of it!! They'll grow out of it. 

LauraS2337
by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM
1 mom liked this

 I agree on the discipline that was given for the action.  I failed to mention that was how he was disciplined at his dad's house.  I was on board with going along with whatever discpline they chose, until I learned what it was.  I also failed to mention that he is ADHD (which I honestly don't feel like has any affect on the stories being told, and neither does his doctor).  The sad part about the money....he didn't even realize that it was for a good cause.  I explained to him what the money was for, and what the Relay for Life was for, but his only objective was that basketball and that water bottle.  He didn't care what the money was for.

You do have a good point.  No, he never comes up with elaborate stories about things that happen at my house.  It's always events that occur while he is at his dad's.  He doesn't throw a fit about having to go over there anymore, but he doesn't get excited, either.  His dad has a stepson who is almost 2 years older than DS, and he and his new wife have a 2 yr old daughter.  My DH and I don't have any kids together, and he doesn't have any kids at all (he can't have children).  So, DS is an only child at our house and does get our full, undivided attention.

I see a family counselor once a month, for my own....sanity.  I just called her to schedule an appointment for me to bring DS, to see if maybe she can help me figure out what is going on with him.  I hate to "punish" him for lying, if he is just acting out over something much bigger that I am just unaware of.  But at the same time, he can't continue to act this way, because when he is older, it's just going to harm him more than anything.

Quoting esox:

Does he tell stories about things that happen at your house as well? Both examples were related to dad's house, maybe he feels like no one is actually listening to him or feels that Dad isn't giving him enough attention so he creates these ellborate stories about what he wished could happen. I'd try to spend more time with him and find ways to show him that you and dad do actually listen. Find fun things to with him that require good communication. Maybe geocaching? What kid doesn't like being outside on a treasure hunt?
Kudos to your kid for taking the money for a good cause. He must have  good heart. I think the punishment is a little off, not exactly logical for the crime committed. I would have must made him work off the money he had taken, 6 weeks worth of dishes, vaccumming, helping a neighbor..  

 

LauraS2337
by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 11:22 AM
1 mom liked this

 I sure hope so!  I will be the first to admit....I can be over concerned sometimes.  But, I would rather be over concerned rather than not give a crap, ha!  I am going to go ahead and take him to my counselor to see if maybe it's an underlying issue, like another mom said, with the whole dealing with divorced parents or anything.  He was 4 when we divorced, so I suppose it could be due partly to him acting out about it.

Quoting mommyjudy7:

It is 150% normal! My 8 year old comes out of no where with such lies. Their imaginations are unbelievable at this age. We just have to sit back and get a kick out of it!! They'll grow out of it. 

 

Dabberdoo
by Bronze Member on Jul. 1, 2013 at 11:23 AM
1 mom liked this

Well, lying should NEVER go unpunished.  Ever.  I don't know what your discipline of choice is but pick it and be consistent.

I don't know if this will be of any help or not as I don't know your religious affiliation or if you have on at all but we went through this with our oldest when she was younger.  I pulled out the Bible and showed her where lying comes from and verses that tell us how God views lying.  It made a huge impact on her.  She might lie occasionally now (she is 10) but its not a habitual situation like it was several years ago.  

esox
by Bronze Member on Jul. 1, 2013 at 11:40 AM

I agree! Rather be overly concerned rather than not at all. Sounds like a great plan! Hopefully the couselor will be able to give some advice. 

Quoting LauraS2337:

 I sure hope so!  I will be the first to admit....I can be over concerned sometimes.  But, I would rather be over concerned rather than not give a crap, ha!  I am going to go ahead and take him to my counselor to see if maybe it's an underlying issue, like another mom said, with the whole dealing with divorced parents or anything.  He was 4 when we divorced, so I suppose it could be due partly to him acting out about it.

zoraanne
by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 12:18 PM
1 mom liked this

My opinion is that he is seeking extra attention, positive or negative. I beiieve that his behavior in this manner is Some children lie to build themselves up, because they dont feel like their achieving enough. Some childiren lie for simply selfish reasons, with no consequences of the aftermath. This is a tough spot to be in, you have to be more on your guard than ever, until he earns trust back

LauraS2337
by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 1:34 PM

 I have actually asked him, on more than one occassion, if he were standing in from of God, would he tell him the same story that he's telling me?  That gets him to tell the truth almost every time.  Sometimes, he still continues with his lie.  I have done what you are suggesting, a few times, but it's been a while.  I should refresh his little memory about the topic.  I agree on the fact that lying shouldn't go unpunished, I guess I just kind of feel guilty if I punish him for something that is a result from a bigger issue, you know?  If that is for sure the case (say, it's him acting out for attention), how do I punish him, and not cause him to just continue to act out?  I really wish kids came with an instruction manual :)

Quoting Dabberdoo:

Well, lying should NEVER go unpunished.  Ever.  I don't know what your discipline of choice is but pick it and be consistent.

I don't know if this will be of any help or not as I don't know your religious affiliation or if you have on at all but we went through this with our oldest when she was younger.  I pulled out the Bible and showed her where lying comes from and verses that tell us how God views lying.  It made a huge impact on her.  She might lie occasionally now (she is 10) but its not a habitual situation like it was several years ago.  

 

Dabberdoo
by Bronze Member on Jul. 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting LauraS2337:

 I have actually asked him, on more than one occassion, if he were standing in from of God, would he tell him the same story that he's telling me?  That gets him to tell the truth almost every time.  Sometimes, he still continues with his lie.  I have done what you are suggesting, a few times, but it's been a while.  I should refresh his little memory about the topic.  I agree on the fact that lying shouldn't go unpunished, I guess I just kind of feel guilty if I punish him for something that is a result from a bigger issue, you know?  If that is for sure the case (say, it's him acting out for attention), how do I punish him, and not cause him to just continue to act out?  I really wish kids came with an instruction manual :)


 

We should never feel guilt because of THEIR bad behavior, especially a 10 year old.  Regardless of their circumstances, they ALWAYS have to choice to react appropriately, as do we!  Our job is to teach them how to react to their emotions and life circumstance.  I'll tell you how I deal with my son and trying to teach him how to control his temper.  It reminds me of the broad question you are asking about your son.

There are times when my son (age 8.5) has legitimate reason to be angry.  Maybe a sister (older and younger than he) have been mistreating him or being mean.  Maybe one of them is being an instigator.  Maybe his dad or I have said something in anger that we shouldn't have said.  All those things would elicit justified anger.  (Just like your son has experienced some very real hardship.)  So my son will sometimes choose to back talk or become physically aggressive in an inappropriate fashion.  There is ALWAYS the same consequence for these behaviors.  He knows what to expect.  I pull him aside and say "you are correct to be angry, you are not in trouble for being angry, but what is the appropriate response?".  He will then tell me how he should have responded to these things.  (Usually he should have come told me his sisters are being hateful BEFORE the situation escalates to him hitting a sister.  When he chooses to come to me instead of hitting them or lashing out at them, I ALWAYS take the time to deal with it.)  I then remind him that hitting a sister ALWAYS results in punishment and reinforce that had he responded properly, I would have dealt with it.  I try to legitimize his feelings, yet, teach him how to deal with them properly.  

I see your son's situation being similar.  MAYBE he is lashing out because of not having a dad in the home.  So talk to him about it.  Acknowledge how difficult this is for him.  Acknowledge that it isn't really fair that mom and dad are parenting him from separate houses.  Acknowledge he isn't in an ideal situation.  And then teach him how to deal with his emotions and thoughts.  If you are spiritual and acknowledge the Bible, pull it out and show him verses.  (If you need help, I'm willing to PM with you about where those verses are.  Did you know that I have to teach all my children that lying comes from the devil?  You should see their eyes widen when they see that satan is the father of lies.)  Tell him HOW to deal with his feelings when he feels that lying is his only response to a situation.  Tell him what the punishment for lying is going to be going forward and then DO IT.  Do not parent from a position of guilt.  We all have things happen TO US that are beyond our control.  You and his dad not being together was beyond his control.  But that is going to happen his whole life.  He needs to be taught how to deal with it.

In my opinion, he was embarrassed because he didn't reach his goal so he decided to steal and lie to avoid embarrassment.  This was an excellent oppportunity to talk to him about work ethic, trying our hardest, and personal accountability.  Did he really work as hard as he could with this fund raiser?  Did he wait until the last minute?  Did he try as hard as he could?  If so, then he should have told the teacher he did his best and handed the money in.  (Sometimes, our best still isn't THE best or even good enough.  Welcome to life.  We aren't always a winner.)  If not, this is a great time to talk about effort yielding reward in regards to being lazy.  You don't ever get something for nothing.

You are probably going to have to deal with this for some time.  But its obvious you recognize the importance of trying to get it under control.  Just be careful not to make excuses for him.  I'm not saying you ARE making excuses but just be careful that your guilt doesn't sneak in there.  We all have to choose how we react to LIFE.  Your son is no different.  

LauraS2337
by on Jul. 1, 2013 at 4:13 PM

 Thank you so much!  This is great advice!!  I will be PM'ing you for sure.

Quoting Dabberdoo:


Quoting LauraS2337:

 I have actually asked him, on more than one occassion, if he were standing in from of God, would he tell him the same story that he's telling me?  That gets him to tell the truth almost every time.  Sometimes, he still continues with his lie.  I have done what you are suggesting, a few times, but it's been a while.  I should refresh his little memory about the topic.  I agree on the fact that lying shouldn't go unpunished, I guess I just kind of feel guilty if I punish him for something that is a result from a bigger issue, you know?  If that is for sure the case (say, it's him acting out for attention), how do I punish him, and not cause him to just continue to act out?  I really wish kids came with an instruction manual :)


 

We should never feel guilt because of THEIR bad behavior, especially a 10 year old.  Regardless of their circumstances, they ALWAYS have to choice to react appropriately, as do we!  Our job is to teach them how to react to their emotions and life circumstance.  I'll tell you how I deal with my son and trying to teach him how to control his temper.  It reminds me of the broad question you are asking about your son.

There are times when my son (age 8.5) has legitimate reason to be angry.  Maybe a sister (older and younger than he) have been mistreating him or being mean.  Maybe one of them is being an instigator.  Maybe his dad or I have said something in anger that we shouldn't have said.  All those things would elicit justified anger.  (Just like your son has experienced some very real hardship.)  So my son will sometimes choose to back talk or become physically aggressive in an inappropriate fashion.  There is ALWAYS the same consequence for these behaviors.  He knows what to expect.  I pull him aside and say "you are correct to be angry, you are not in trouble for being angry, but what is the appropriate response?".  He will then tell me how he should have responded to these things.  (Usually he should have come told me his sisters are being hateful BEFORE the situation escalates to him hitting a sister.  When he chooses to come to me instead of hitting them or lashing out at them, I ALWAYS take the time to deal with it.)  I then remind him that hitting a sister ALWAYS results in punishment and reinforce that had he responded properly, I would have dealt with it.  I try to legitimize his feelings, yet, teach him how to deal with them properly.  

I see your son's situation being similar.  MAYBE he is lashing out because of not having a dad in the home.  So talk to him about it.  Acknowledge how difficult this is for him.  Acknowledge that it isn't really fair that mom and dad are parenting him from separate houses.  Acknowledge he isn't in an ideal situation.  And then teach him how to deal with his emotions and thoughts.  If you are spiritual and acknowledge the Bible, pull it out and show him verses.  (If you need help, I'm willing to PM with you about where those verses are.  Did you know that I have to teach all my children that lying comes from the devil?  You should see their eyes widen when they see that satan is the father of lies.)  Tell him HOW to deal with his feelings when he feels that lying is his only response to a situation.  Tell him what the punishment for lying is going to be going forward and then DO IT.  Do not parent from a position of guilt.  We all have things happen TO US that are beyond our control.  You and his dad not being together was beyond his control.  But that is going to happen his whole life.  He needs to be taught how to deal with it.

In my opinion, he was embarrassed because he didn't reach his goal so he decided to steal and lie to avoid embarrassment.  This was an excellent oppportunity to talk to him about work ethic, trying our hardest, and personal accountability.  Did he really work as hard as he could with this fund raiser?  Did he wait until the last minute?  Did he try as hard as he could?  If so, then he should have told the teacher he did his best and handed the money in.  (Sometimes, our best still isn't THE best or even good enough.  Welcome to life.  We aren't always a winner.)  If not, this is a great time to talk about effort yielding reward in regards to being lazy.  You don't ever get something for nothing.

You are probably going to have to deal with this for some time.  But its obvious you recognize the importance of trying to get it under control.  Just be careful not to make excuses for him.  I'm not saying you ARE making excuses but just be careful that your guilt doesn't sneak in there.  We all have to choose how we react to LIFE.  Your son is no different.  

 

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