Lies and lack of remorse

(98 Posts)
Jinkers01 Wed 30-Oct-13 08:06:47

Small bit of background...13 year old son is chronically forgetful, but has been trying harder thus school year to be organised. On Monday he told me that he'd been to music lesson at lunch time at school, which he has frequently forgotten before. Lots of praise from me...last night I found out from friend that music teacher is off and that he'd therefore lied. He had apparently gone to play football,and laughed in my face about it. I have banned him from internet and Xbox for ONE day, and he's beyond angry. DH clearly thinks I'm being harsh on his darling boy. I think it's a reasonable punishment, but what do others think?

sonlypuppyfat Wed 30-Oct-13 08:11:36

Nothing worse than lies you can never ever trust them it doesn't sound too harsh a punishment

Jinkers01 Wed 30-Oct-13 08:21:12

That's what I thought, but I am being treated like a big bad witch. Ho hum.

specialsubject Wed 30-Oct-13 10:06:47

goes with the territory, I fear.. :-)

trottingon Wed 30-Oct-13 10:17:35

Integrity is hugely important! Parents are responsible for teaching their developing adults how important it is. Consequences are all part of learning right from wrong. Perhaps DH needs to understand this too and support you!
My Dad used to say to me, 'There is no softer pillow than a clear conscience.'
You are absolutely right!

claraschu Wed 30-Oct-13 15:59:26

Stick to your guns. Keep telling him that there is nothing as important as telling the truth. Almost any problem can be dealt with as long as everyone is being honest.

Palika Wed 30-Oct-13 17:29:11

Maybe DH has habit of (white) lies, too? Many men do - more then women in my experience. As father - so the son (or how does that saying go?)

Palika Wed 30-Oct-13 17:35:40

One more thing: I posted here a while ago that I punish the lies of my DS 14 by sending him for an hour into the porch for reflection (some leftover from the naughty step - it works well in our family).

Several mums here nearly went berserk accusing me of being 'mad' and actually 'causing the lies' of my son due to this 'horrendous' punishment. confused

I learnt from that that lies are supported by a lot of people who enable them and get very angry when they see someone insisting on honesty and integrity.

Not sure why, but I found it confusing and upsetting.

It seems to me that something similar is going on with you and your DH.

Jinkers01 Wed 30-Oct-13 17:53:51

Thanks for your responses- I'm glad that no one thinks I'm being too harsh. On reflection I think he's actually getting off pretty lightly,and I've warned him that he's lost my trust and will have to earn it back, with dire consequences if he lies to me again. My DH is honest, and doesn't really do lies, even white ones....however he is not great at backing me up with disciplining DS, which isn't helpful. I am definitely the "bad cop" , and he is prone to shrugging his shoulders and taking the path of least resistance.

YDdraigGoch Wed 30-Oct-13 19:36:19

My motto has always been that I can forgive DDs anything in time, apart from lies.

claraschu Wed 30-Oct-13 21:52:55

Unfortunately, we often end up having to forgive lies too, when we have teenagers. It is heartbreaking to trust someone and find you were wrong, and then do the same thing over and over again. When it is a child, what choice do we have?

trottingon Thu 31-Oct-13 08:56:47

Yes we do forgive our children and we understand they are learning and developing into, hopefully, great adults, but we would do them no favours by allowing poor judgement and dishonesty to go unpunished.

lljkk Thu 31-Oct-13 09:15:32

there's a really interesting chapter in NurtureShock about why teenagers lie; that it's a sign of love if not respect, ironically. Worth a read.

flow4 Thu 31-Oct-13 09:46:25

Yes, and I think that's why our kids get so angry when we punish them for lying, lljkk: from their point of view, we're punishing them for loving us and trying to please us. confused

lljkk Thu 31-Oct-13 09:49:09

I suppose we have to think about when we as adults lie, too. Sometimes it's pure self-centredness but more often it's about protecting relationships, just like teens do.

I don't punish for lies, but I do make clear my disappointment and my lack of future trust.

I tell porkies to DC all the time, too. blush

amumthatcares Thu 31-Oct-13 10:16:59

Whilst I don't think a parent should be seen to condone their child lying, I do agree with this that it's a sign of love if not respect, ironically and what flow said. Some children (especially when they are younger) lie to avoid getting themselves into trouble but I do think an older child that loves and respects their parents, are more inclined to lie to avoid the parents feeling disappointed or let down by whatever it is they feel the need to lie about.

Also, like lljkk says, even us parents are guilty of telling our DC the odd porkie now and then. Are there good and bad lies or is lying wrong whatever the reason?

trottingon Thu 31-Oct-13 10:50:15

Oh dear! We need to be very careful that we don't confuse 'white lies' with blatant misguiding and dishonesty....

Dictionary definition of a white lie ~ a lie not intended to harm, but told in order to avoid distress or embarrassment.

There are no 'good lies' and we must recognise that telling a parent that you are somewhere when you are not, is dishonest.

Palika Thu 31-Oct-13 12:16:30

I read the chapter in Nurture shock as well and I think it is a gross exaggeration to say that the authors were stating that children and teens lie in order to show us their love.

Surely, teens main motivation is always to keep THEMSELVES out of trouble given that most of their other annoying behaviour is governed by selfishness and unawareness of other people's feelings.

The gist of the what Nature shock was saying is that all children lie independently of background.

They also said that if we tell our teens that they won;t get punished and actually get rewarded if they tell the truth, they will lie less.

I have put this idea to the test during the last few months and I can say it has worked BRILLIANTLY. My DS14 had a really bad lying habit (which I always spotted because I am rather psychic when it comes to my son) and it has all but stopped!!!

lljkk Thu 31-Oct-13 12:34:52

how do you reward your son for telling the truth if you don't like the truth, Palika?

mummytime Thu 31-Oct-13 13:01:29

I would probably try to make the punishment fit the crime a little more. So if they didn't honestly tell me if they had been to an in-school lesson, I would embarass the. In future by phoning school to find out if they had gone or not. I would probably also ask them in front of their friends etc.

For repeatedly not going to lessons I would punish by cancelling the lessons. And making them go to the remaining lessons or pay me for the wasted money out of pocket money/by doing extra chores.

amumthatcares Thu 31-Oct-13 13:05:28

I don't think that punsishing a DC for lying is wrong, but I certainly don't agree that all children lie just because they are selfish and have gone into self-preservation mode.

Agree lljkk, your child tells you the truth about something they (and you) know to be wrong/bad but they get rewarded? confused

flow4 Thu 31-Oct-13 16:18:45

I do think this is an interesting and thorny subject. If we're honest with ourselves, IMO, often when we get upset or cross about kids telling lies, it's not really about truth, it's about control.

Palika Thu 31-Oct-13 16:27:01

quote: 'how do you reward your son for telling the truth if you don't like the truth, Palika?'

As I said, my DS14 had a really bad lying habit and lied about virtually everything that could have got him into trouble. So, we have a little special time before bedtime where he can confess everything he has lied about and we tell him that we will be HAPPY if he does so and there will be no punishment.

There is never much that he confesses and in the beginning he also did not trust that we would actually be HAPPY if he confessed a lie. But on occasion he has confessed things and then we were true to our word and told him how happy we were that he had the courage to tell us this and there was no punishment. But obviously he knew that we were not happy with what he had lied about.

I also usually spot an oncoming lie and then I say 'don't lie'. In the past he would have lied and lied and lied but now he just says 'yes, I have done this'. Then I say 'thank you for not lying' and somehow that stops all the power games and I can appeal to his maturity to not do the things he has just done wrong.

So, the 'reward' is just the praise for not lying and no punishment for the 'crime'.

There were also two occasions where I 'knew' he had done something wrong and he could not admit it. We tried to encourage him to confess and he said the guilt would kill him and be worse than any punishment.

I thought that was a very good step forward as he seems to develop now a 'proper' conscience. So, I helped him through the guilt and he was okay,

All I can say, it has really worked. (fingers crossed!)

Before we did all this, our policy was that we said there will only be a very small punishment if he admits a lie but obviously that was not enough to motivate him to be honest.

trottingon Thu 31-Oct-13 16:27:13

Control Flow4? Surely this is about teaching your DC to be honest! That's what parenting is all about.

Palika Thu 31-Oct-13 16:37:17

quote: IMO, often when we get upset or cross about kids telling lies, it's not really about truth, it's about control.

flow,
you use the word 'control' as if it is something bad.

But surely, we move from total control of our babies to less and less control once our children have grown up. In other words, the right measure of control is a good thing and controlling anti-social behaviour like lying is an extremely important thing.

I find that it's those parents here on mumsnet who are afraid of taking control who have the most problems - the most 'out-of-control children and teenagers'.

Every parenting book and TV program is all about taking the reins into your hand and taking control - is it not so?

But obviously, being over-controlling is not so good either. It's the golden middle. But looking around me I feel that most parents err on the side of being afraid of being too controlling, just like the OP of this thread.

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