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to ask how you deal with a child that never accepts blame?

(37 Posts)
LissaLoves Sun 24-Apr-16 23:35:27

DD is 8 and generally very well behaved and very good with her siblings. However, if she does something wrong she always denies it and tries to turn things around to evoke sympathy for her. She has never ever accepted blame or apologised for anything.

As an example: today her and her 4 year old sister were playing in the play house in the garden. I was in the house but popped to the car to get something so could hear them without them knowing.

Dd8: sit on that chair and pretend you're reading.
Dd4: no thank you, I'm just sorting this.
Dd8: if you don't do as I say then you can get out of my house.
Dd4: but I don't want to sit down right now.
Dd8: right, get out then and I don't want to be your friend or play with you for the rest of the day.
[Dd4 starts to sob]
Dd8: baby! Baby! Get out get out get out get out...
[Dd4 wailing]

I go to back garden and ask what's wrong. Dd8 says Dd4 was annoyed there wasn't enough space so she asked if she'd like to do what she's doing outside. I ask Dd4, too, but she's inconsolable and doesn't grass her sister up anyway. I explain that I heard Dd8 speaking very unkindly to her sister and before I even finish my sentence she shrieks 'I wasn't!!' and starts wailing twice as loudly as her sister.

I tend to Dd4 and when Dd8 calms down I say that if she has made a mistake, it doesn't help matters to be dishonest about it, just scream and cry and not talk about it and to never apologise for her actions. I say I'd have much more respect for her and we could just move on if she just admitted fault and apologised to her sister. She maintains she doesn't need to apologise because she didn't do anything wrong. I pointed out that she's never apologised to anyone for anything, so does that mean she's never done anything wrong? She just shrugged and tried changing the subject and being super chatty and nice to her sister and I like she always does if she's in the wrong.

Does anyone else have a child who behaves like this? How do you deal with them?

ouryve Sun 24-Apr-16 23:41:15

Talking about situations in the abstract or 3rd person can help. You know I heard someone being very bossy and unkind to your little sister earlier. She was so upset about it....

UterusUterusGhali Sun 24-Apr-16 23:50:31

Did you tell her you knew?

Why are you giving her opportunity to wheedle out of it?
She was mean. Tell her off. The end.

LissaLoves Sun 24-Apr-16 23:54:26

She would lie whether she knows I've seen/heard or not. She gets told off once her wailing relents enough for her to hear me but long term it isn't on for her to deny things and start screaming the moment I try to talk to her about it.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 24-Apr-16 23:58:25

Does everyone apologise with good grace in your house? You, your DP, your friends and so on.

I find with DD that is is happier to apologise when we model it and say thanks when she does it. I think in some houses it's a battle of wills and apologising is 'losing'.

LissaLoves Mon 25-Apr-16 00:02:40

Yes everyone else is fine with apologising. I've never been one for forcing them to apologise as I don't believe it is then sincere but she seems to honestly believe she hasn't ever done anything wrong.

Kummerspeck Mon 25-Apr-16 00:04:37

I have a friend whose daughter was always like this when younger, friend and her DH always let it go thinking it would resolve naturally as she matured. She is now proving to be a very challenging teenager

I think you have to stop allowing her to wheedle, wail or tantrum her way out of anything. Tell her calmly what she has done wrong and what the consequences are then stick to it.

Griphook Mon 25-Apr-16 00:15:27

So what was dd1 consequence for being unkind to her sister and for lying to you? Because if they wasn't one there is you answer! There's no need to tell the truth

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 25-Apr-16 00:15:37

What happens if you totally blank the screaming?

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 25-Apr-16 00:26:06

My DS aged 5 will swear black is white whatever the situation. I generally persevere with the "I know when you're lying.Do you want to be punished for lying when the thing you're lying about was less annoying?"
Slowly the idea that I know he's lying and lying is getting him into more trouble is sinking in. We've also started asking him how his behaviour should be punished the next time he does it and that seems to be having an impact.

Peyia Mon 25-Apr-16 00:33:50

So what was dd1 consequence for being unkind to her sister and for lying to you? Because if they wasn't one there is you answer! There's no need to tell the truth

This! Apologies if there was but it wasn't mentioned. There does need to be a consequence, always.

Sorry you're having a hard time. It can be difficult to get the balance.

I have a technique that works for me - I tell my daughter what she has done wrong, and why she must stop etc. I then giver her the opportunity to correct her mistake. After two warnings there is a punishment but she knows this at first warning.

After consequence (her favourite toy removed or threat of no more sweets ever again--) she screams and throws herself on the floor. I step over her and walk away. Minutes later she finds me to say sorry --and then asks for her sweets

I just don't engage with the tantrum, at all. It works most of the time, she's 3 so I keep it age appropriate etc.

Peyia Mon 25-Apr-16 00:36:34

Strike fail! Sign to go to bed!

sallyjane40 Mon 25-Apr-16 00:38:18

I would see lying about what happened, as another 'incident', as bad as the original meaness to her sister, and explain that she will have 2 punishments because she wasn't truthful, and didn't own up to what she did. She's old enough that she really needs to understand the importance of being honest, and taking responsibility for her behaviour.
The wailing definitely should be ignored imo (preferably move to another room), then continue to tell her what is wrong, and what will happen as a consequence when she finishes; she has discovered (probably by accident) that her reaction is distracting attention from what she has done wrong - but that needs to end, for everyone's sake - she's going to look daft wailing if she gets told off when she's 12!

fatmomma99 Mon 25-Apr-16 00:45:30

I would use "I wonder?" As in "I wonder what it would feel like if...." (and insert the RL situation of your choice) and get your DD to answer.

Also, a good friend of mine with 3 girls who do spats and spats says to her girls "I want you to think about what you've done to xxx, and think about how she'd feel about it and think if there's anything you'd like to say to xx" (so she doesn't MAKE her kids apologise, but she does encourage empathy).

Punishments... bah... they don't work. Correct/deal with/work on the behaviour rather than being punitive.

Peyia Mon 25-Apr-16 01:10:36

Punishments... bah... they don't work

They do in my house.

Some behaviour doesn't warrant a 'I wonder' approach, but I agree you can reason on some things whilst others just need to be nipped in the bud with a consequence. That's life from my experience, I don't always get a nice talking too from the DVLA if I don't comply with something I should - hypothetically speaking obviously wink

wonderingsoul Mon 25-Apr-16 01:16:12

My ds2 is a bit like this.

The lying is what would really get to me and it isnt tolerated in my house.

With ds2 he was told if the boy who cried wolf, and turned it into real terms...

That when he tells me didnt hut hea brother that i might not belive him because he lies

Also constant reminsing before hea talked to that if he is honest they hes punishment wont be as bad along with a praise when he does tell the truth (he still gets hea punishment but also gets a well done for telling the truth)

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Mon 25-Apr-16 01:38:20

You say you don't make them apologise if you think they don't mean it but of course you should make them apologise! You teach them how to apologise from an age that's too young to actually feel remorse.

Baconyum Mon 25-Apr-16 01:58:56


Consequence for the behaviour

Separate consequence for the lying

Make it clear to dd which is which and each time she does something that warrants a consequence and tries to lie her way out of it you do this and she should learn she gets a consequence for the lie so better to tell the truth.

BUT be certain she is lying and you're not entering into a GC/scapegoat situation.

"and doesn't grass her sister up anyway." Are you certain of this every time?

Baconyum Mon 25-Apr-16 02:03:05

And yes to the comments on you should make them apologise. Remorse is learnt/develops. An apology isn't just about the person making the apology it's about the person who's been wronged too, does your younger dd not deserve an apology?

Criminals 'apologise' by serving a sentence - they don't choose that!

itsatiggerday Mon 25-Apr-16 02:23:08

Totally agree on the lying being a matter for training and discipline in its own right. We have always tried to say that lying is a serious matter because we want to trust each other and it's hard to do that if we don't know whether we're telling the truth. As well as consequences for lying, I have found it powerful on occasion to significantly mitigate a consequence for behaviour because they have owned up to it swiftly and completely when they might have tried to lie knowing that we didn't actually see the incident. That has validated that we will appreciate them telling the truth even when it means owning up to something.

SushiAndTheBanshees Mon 25-Apr-16 02:43:24

Personally, I think that consequences for lying are key, as well as understanding WHY she won't take responsibility for being at fault, or not wanting to accept fault.

If it's as simple as not wanting to suffer a punishment: tough. We reap what we sow. If it's a question of not wanting to be brought down a peg, or needing always to be right/superior/the best/the correct one, then another approach is required.

In your example above, unfortunately it sounds like plain old fashioned bullying, picking on someone smaller than her. Repercussions of that are a whole different ball game.

In all cases, she needs enforced consequences for lying as well as working on the underlying reason for lying.

OzzieFem Mon 25-Apr-16 07:21:21

If the OP's incident had occured with a different younger child and that child's parent was the one to overhear the exchange, then they would have rightly claimed their child was being bullied.

OP, I'm just wondering how your elder daughter behaves at school.

1AngelicFruitCake Mon 25-Apr-16 07:44:18

As others have said, there were two incidents.

She was nasty to her sister and then she lied. I would have taken her out of the playhouse for a set period of time and let her little sister play in there on her own. Explain that's she's having time out or whatever you want to call it because of being mean and then make it clear that ' X many minutes time out is because you lied'

I think when she's denying things don't give her an audience just tell her firmly you'll speak with her/ let her play again when she's going to tell the truth.

lougle Mon 25-Apr-16 07:46:13

I agree with others. This idea of not forcing apologies is absolute rubbish. The apology is for the benefit of the aggrieved, not the aggressor.

Lying is completely unacceptable in our house and I come down on it like a ton of bricks. I've always told my girls that lying about doing wrong is worse than the thing itself. Unsurprisingly, my girls very rarely lie (and make a terrible job of it if they do try). Other children I know lie as easily as they breathe because lying is brushed off as them being little pickles.

soapboxqueen Mon 25-Apr-16 07:53:30

The problem is, lying works. Unless she gets caught out as she did here. While many children crack very quickly under pressure, some don't because they've learned that if they stick to their guns, they might just escape punishment. Even if it only works some of the time, it's a good strategy.

Any rate, I would make her apologise. It's not just about the 'offender' is about fairness to the other child etc Also if she finds it stressful (hence the tantrum) it'll help to keep experiencing it.

Punish the lying on top of whatever else happened. I'd also be giving a time out for the tantrum. I wouldn't even begin to discuss it until she was able to actually discuss it calmly. I wouldn't be feeding the tantrum by watching it.

Then I'd follow up on the 'I don't know when your telling the truth' bit in everyday situations. It could be other spats with siblings eg you say it's their word against hers and normally you'd treat that equally but you know that she lies so.... . It could be she wanted a magazine/drink /snack or something and when she doesn't get it you say you thought she didn't mean it because you can 'never tell when she means what she says'

Some children need to be taught explicitly there is a benefit to being seen as honest.

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