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Constant lying and denying - please help!

(5 Posts)
elfiro Mon 10-Oct-11 13:03:14

Hi all,

My DS is almost 9. He has always been a "handful" and a "character" etc etc and looking back has been able to lie convincingly from a scarily young age (age 3 maybe). However lately it has become a real problem, to the extent that his teacher has now mentioned it to me. He lies about anything and everything - nothing hugely bad yet (that I know of), but things like saying he has finished his work when he hasn't (easy to tell that's a lie) or, at home, saying he's had a shower when he plainly has not.

Often it's hard to prove he's lying, like with the shower example. He did that yesterday. He went off to shower before bed knowing he could play afterwards, appearing again suspiciously quickly but with damp hair. I asked how he had showered so quickly, he insisted he had but the shower floor was dry and there was no towel anywhere. I asked where his towel was, he said in the laundry already, so I told him to go and get it as it needed to be hung up, and of course it wasn't there. He would not admit he lied ("someone must have moved the towel!"), and had a 30 meltdown when I told him to get in the shower.

The shower thing is not a big deal I suppose, but he does it with everything - he recently cut his little sister's hair (I walked in on him with scissors in his hand and her hair all over the floor), and he has never admitted to it.

His teacher says he also denies doing anything he is not supposed to, and always blames someone else.

I've talked to him about "the boy who cried wolf" several times and explained that if people think you lie a lot they don't believe you even when you're telling the truth, but it seems to be water off a duck's back.

Any suggestions?

elfiro Mon 10-Oct-11 14:21:38

Oh also we have tried creative ways to try to outwit him so he has to admit but he never falls for it. I honestly can't think of a single time when he has admitted something, even if he knows he won't be in trouble.

Wellthen Mon 10-Oct-11 19:08:52

Hmm, a tricky one. It seems like somewhere along the way he has told a lie to his own advantage and simply cannot get over this new knowledge. At 9 he isn;t able to see the wider picture and so simply thinks 'if i keep lying, eventually I'll get what I want.' I can see that him admitting is an important learning point as he needs to see honesty as a positive. But I think you need to go with what you have at the moment - evidence that he lies regularly.

Assert yourself as the adult. In the shower situation - you were pretty certain he was lying. Go with that. Don't enter into an argument as this encourages him to lie further and is imbedding that habit of 'keep lying, you'll get out of it in the end'. He'll also become increasingly desperate as more and more lies are uncovered and start to panic, cry and generally be unable to control himself. Tell him you think he's lying, you have good reason to think that and this is what will happen next (in this instance, you will get in that shower or you won't play out tomorow. Or even worse 'or I'll bath you!!')

Yes it may happen that eventually he is genuinely telling the truth and he gets treated unfairly. But, firstly this is a very good example of the consequences of lying and it was also send home the message that YOU are the adult and YOU are incharge.

If and when he does start admitting to things, even if it is after the punishment, shower him with praise. I wouldn't take back punishments if he admits just before (i didn't do it...oh ok yes I did) as he has still lied. But I might lessen them and again I would praise a lot.

As he is still quite little could you start a sticker chart or reward?

elfiro Tue 11-Oct-11 00:45:38

Thanks "wellthen".

I could try a sticker chart with him, although we've not had much success in the past when I've tried that kind of approach for behaviour. He doesn't seem to be able to think much beyond the here and now yet, and I do wonder if that's part of the lying, i.e. he "forgets" what actually happened very quickly and almost convinces himself he's telling the truth. I think if I told him he would be rewarded for being truthful, he would reply "But I never lie!"

With the shower situation, I insisted he took "another" shower, but we had so much screaming as a result. It's like he can't stand to ever lose face. I appreciate this is difficult for him. If I give him a consequence for his behaviour, e.g. hurting his sister, he will be absoutely indignant and swear he did nothing, even if we actually saw it happen.

Not an easy boy!

elfiro Tue 11-Oct-11 00:46:23

Sorry meant to bold your name as wellthen not put in inverted commas!

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