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Persistent lying and seven year old DS........how do I deal with it? as I'm at the end of my tether.

(21 Posts)
LackaDAISYcal Mon 22-Jun-09 21:47:50

I have posted several times about the behaviour of my seven year old DS but yet another issue has cropped up sad

He constantly tells lies and denies responsibility for things that we know he has done. He also seems to be completely unable to take responsibility for any of his behaviour; if he hits his 2 yo sister, it's because she annoyed him. If he gets in trouble for something at school it's his teacher's fault for catching him being a spanner...the list is endless.

He is explosive and whiney and aggressive.

DH and I have tried everything (and maybe therein lies the crunch hmm) but nothing works.

Tonight, after bedtime, he has been spraying DH's aftershave into a pastic cup, filling it with water and drinking it....but refuses to admit this is what he has been doing. He has been in trouble for this before as the cup is one we use to get the DC a drink in the night. He maintains that he doesn't know why the cup smells of aftershave, or why his breath smells of aftershave.

reading this it all sounds a bit minor and small, but these are just things I can think of off the top of my head; he is cruel to his little sister on a regualr basis and she is frequently on the receiving end of his temper. Every day is a battle in which DH and I struggle to keep control of our temper and I am fed up with it.

I am seriously concerned about his emotional attachment from the things he does wrong (it is always someone else's fault), and his inapproproate emotional response to other things (he will burst into tears because there are no cornflakes left for instance, and tonight he flew into a rage because the sattelite signal went wonky in a thunderstorm). School say he is a happy well adjusted boy who is popular and always in the middle of things, and that he is an oft requested friend by those on the buddy bench because he plays really fairly. Why does he save his vitriol for home time? I am struggling to like him at the moment; even though I know he can be a sweet and lovely little lad.

I have a two year old and an almost eight month old baby and although my time is divided between the two little ones a lot, he does get attention; we try and do things with him and only for him; swimming, bike rides, cinema trips, fishing with his dad. Most of which end in disaster unfortunately.

Is this normal seven year old boy behaviour, or is my DS1 turning into a sociopath?

I have depression and am really struggling to deal with his behaviour.

Sorry this is so long.......

PerfectPrefect Mon 22-Jun-09 21:52:14

I just want you to know you are not alone. I could have written essentially the same post about one of my 8yo's.

I hope someone can come along and tell us what to do because personally - and you sound the same - it maes me sad that I just help her control her temper; teach her that lying is bad and get her to obey insrtuctions.

LackaDAISYcal Mon 22-Jun-09 21:54:54

Nice to know I'm not alone PP, but I'm sorry you are having the same issues sad

I had forgotten about obeying instructions as well!

PerfectPrefect Mon 22-Jun-09 22:09:50

<Sorry feel guilty for reminding you of another negative.>

Also siginificant typo in there I can't help her control her temper.....

morningsun Mon 22-Jun-09 22:18:11

Hi theresmileNo he is not turning into a sociopath!
he is behaving well in school,so he can behave.
There are very definite routines and rules in school,and overall there is a positive atmosphere and the children know what is expected of them.Maybe he responds well to this.
Not behaving well at home could be due to lots of things like things being less consistent, it being harder to be in your good books[due to past misdemeanors],playing up to compete with siblings,boredom,inconsistency between parents discipline etc..in any case its not anything you've done wrong,its a pattern that you've got into or because nothing has seemed to work,you've lost confidence and he senses that.

First of all try not to worry,he is doing well at school,his teachers are happy and he has friends ~ not usually the signs of budding sociopaths.

Be firm and consistent with important things like safety and explain to him why he can't do somethinge.g. You cannot drink aftershave as I'm sure a clever boy like you knows it can be dangerous and we want you to be a healthy happy boy".

He is still only 7 and try to put everything in positive encouraging terms and make it easy for himto put things right e.g.I'm sure you didn't mean to accidentally hurt you sister so be a lovely boy and cuddle her better".

Its really easy to see the eldest as a problem and get exasperated with them,and expect too much so lower your expectations over the small things and be firm but not ott over the big things.

squilly Mon 22-Jun-09 22:25:48

I believe I've read in a number of development books that lying is natural at this age. In fact, the more adept the child is at lying, the brighter they generally are. Unfortunately, their brains are not sufficiently developed to enable them to lie well at this age. Hence the fact that they get caught out a lot.

This is the age where, typically, they'll lie about something they've done in front of you. They quickly process the results of poor behaviour back to the cause and then directly to the consequence and before you can say tom's your uncle and fanny's your aunt, the lie's on the way out of their mouths.

Your ds is perfectly normal and probably quite bright. I know it's hard to detach your view on this from the depression in general, but this is one thing you really shouldn't be beating yourself up about.

Hope you feel better soon.

morningsun Mon 22-Jun-09 22:36:55

Yes I have a 7 yr ds who having eaten a chocolate with chocolate around his mouth will quite happily deny he ate it or that he threw the wrappers behind the sofagrin

sameagain Mon 22-Jun-09 22:39:42

Not that helpful, but might make you feel better.

My Dad (wise old soul) says its a compliment when children behave badly for their parents. They behave well for people they are less sure of, but know that you love them unconditionally no matter how "bad" they are.

LackaDAISYcal Mon 22-Jun-09 22:46:11

phew....makes me feel a bit better thanks.

I know he is a bright wee thing really and yes he does get a lot heaped on him because he is so much older than his siblings.

I need to start reading parenting manuals, instead of just collecting them blush

I just get sooo worn down by constantly seeming to be on his case and repeating the same chastisements over and over again.

DH and I have just spent half an hour recounting some of our own childhood bloopers whcih has reminded me that we were just the same at this age. Can't remember how my parents dealt with it though but it obviously worked!

pocketmonster Mon 22-Jun-09 23:00:13

Hello! I hope you are coping, I know how exhausting this kind of thing is and how it drags you down.

Morningsun great post and I agree.

My DD1 is somewhat like this - not the lying but she is only 4. She seems to have no self control and explodes at the slightest thing, she is (sometimes) really horrible to DD2 who is very gentle.

When she explodes I have found it utterly frustrating and struggled to control my own temper and then I found we just spiralled into constant bad behaviour, with me making it worse by shouting like a fishwife blush- it made me think how can I expect a 4 year old to control herself and manage frustration/jealousy etc if I at 21 wink can't manage it.

Now I try to divert her and encourage her into positive behaviours in the way Morningsun suggested.

I have also talked to her about losing her temper and how it doesn't get her what she wants by shouting and when she starts (and she is like a child possessed) I say calmly 'DD1 you're shouting, you know that shouting doesn't get you anywhere, calm down and tell me what's the matter' and it does seem to work. I sometimes need to say her name a few times to get her attention but if I can stay calm it works.

On the lying my DSD2 was a dreadful liar at 7 and she has improved as she has got older -as I was quite inexperienced with kids at this time I decided she was going to turn into a hardened criminal (!!) and really worried about it, but I researched it and found (as someone else has said) that it's quite common at this age, so I wouldn't worry too much about that aspect.

One thing to tell yourself is that kids behave the worst where they feel the safest - this comforts me immensley (sp?)when we've had a bad day.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 23-Jun-09 08:15:31

thanks for that pocketmonster smile

ikwym about them learning behaviour though; my tantrums can outdo theirs anyday wink.

Things have been much calmer this morning, but he is still lying. He has been told no TV this morning (because of yesterday's misdemeanours), so he asked his sister to switch it on (in a stage whisper), then denied he had asked her when I told him off, even though I was sitting three feet away from him and heard every word. He then got sent to time out for lying and braided his sister on the way out the door for getting him in trouble shock. I should be finding this really funny, but it just makes me feel despondent and weary <sigh>

morningsun Tue 23-Jun-09 10:08:25

Forget about the lying for now ~ its not significant,it is simply to avoid getting told off.
Stop punishing him all the time.
You need to turn this around a bit before its too late and he becomes very defiant and angry.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 23-Jun-09 10:16:00

he is halfway there already morningsun sad

We know we have to turn it round; it's the how that we are finding hard work as it seems to be one step forward, two steps back.

we had a chat about things on the way to school today though and a laugh about him trying it on.

We are trying hard to do positive reinforcement and not sweating the small stuff.

and i think a lot of it might well have to do with attention seeking as I always seem to be busy with the two little ones.

morningsun Tue 23-Jun-09 10:27:04

Yes I know thats really hard,but he's got a lot of childhood left and you don't want to be in this situation for the next few years ~ and it could get much worse if he feels he is always in trouble.

Stop trying to control him and stop worrying too much about his behaviour.

Correcting him all the time will make him worse.
He needs to feel as if he is a valued,good,well behaved boy.
Completely change tack and only discuss good behaviour and don't go ott,just be positive,nice,and confident.

It sounds like you are being way over the top with him and this is causing the problem.

So ,in practical terms,every time he does something ok[or nearly ok]for example sitting near his siblings without being rough say

Wow,you are doing such a good job of looking after your siblings,x,well done!"

If he should then happen to wallop one of them you say"Don't hit please its not nice.Can you be a big boy and fetch x from the kitchen for me?"
"Thanks x you are so helpful " etc etc all day every day!

He will then start to want to please you.

morningsun Tue 23-Jun-09 10:27:58

Also make sure he doesn't hear you talking about him to dh or anyone else.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 23-Jun-09 10:42:29

thanks morningsun smile

morningsun Tue 23-Jun-09 10:58:05

Thats ok,I used to worry a lot over my ds1 and if someone had given me a plan I would have followed it !

Now many years down the line I am pretty confident the approach I have described is the right one.
Don't worry about thinking you are condoning bad behaviour ~ you are not,you can tell him politely and quietly not to be rough etc but set a good example and find many more good things to say to him.
Think of it as not so much obeying instructions but that he will copy your[good] behaviour.

ahundredtimes Tue 23-Jun-09 11:13:26

I do think MS is right, that you do have to change the way you are. Having a laugh is good. Also I learnt, from bitter experience - my ds1 very like this at 7 - that engaging in lengthy chats is NOT GOOD.

Try not to get into the push me pull you conversations 'but I KNOW you did it' 'how do you know?' 'because it's obvious' 'it's not obvious to me Mum, how do you mean it's obvious?' etcetera etcetera

Do look for the positives, don't nag, don't lecture. Be brisk, firm, stare down the lying, let him know, but don't engage.

So 'Aftershave, mess everywhere. Tidy it up please'. And 'your sister is crying, not good. Go upstairs and calm down'.

It takes some practice, but you don't need to point out what he's done wrong so he can then deny it - he knows what he's done wrong. Make it less about the blame culture if you like, and he learns about responsibility.

Keep it short, sweet and without recrimination and blame. That really helps. Then stress the positives too. That's easier to do when you are not lecturing on the negatives. I learnt this through bitter experience btw!

LackaDAISYcal Tue 23-Jun-09 11:37:31

thanks 100x smile. Great advice there.

yes, it is soooo easy to get dragged into an argument and keep on. DH is particularly bad at not letting things drop and has on occasion taken something away (a bike ride, etc) when he has already had a time out from me earlier in the day. I find it difficult to walk away from it, especially when he follows me!!

We do find it challenging to put up a united front as well at times.

ahundredtimes Tue 23-Jun-09 11:55:29

Well they're so irritating - and also you think they must be taking you for a mug, 'I know I am covered in biscuit crumbs and the wrapper is on the floor, but I DID NOT take the biscuits or eat them' and that is enraging.

it takes a strong woman to say, 'pick up the wrapper, in the bin, next time you must ask' and walk away and hide the biscuits.

I just found that the cycle of lecturing and punishment, ended up with us all in a negative place. And it came from me to change the tone.

but my god, I have been known to follow him up the stairs saying, 'hang on a minute, do you think I'm a FOOL?' and for him to turn round triumphant and say, 'are you saying you think you're a fool?' 'This is about the fact you poured handsoap all over the floor and are now saying you didn't' 'well I didn't' 'YES YOU DID' 'I didn't POUR it, it may have DRIBBLED' Aaaaaaaagh

fwiw - he is 11 now, and still has time to discuss how if you look at white from various angles it is in fact black - but we definitely broke the negative cycle eventually.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 23-Jun-09 16:47:33

oh dear 100x <wry smile>. Sounds like you have a very clever onion there. Mine is just seven so hasn't reached those giddy heights re being gobby, and fingers crossed we will nip this in the bud before he does!!

I am trying to be more relaxed. He hasn't done his homework tonight (this is usually a huge flash point for us) so instead of nagging at him like I usually do, I've said he can go out to play once his homework is done. If he doesn't do the homeowrk, no going out and no argument about it.

not sure it will work though hmm

Is swedes really your daughter? I was catching up on the DG thread earlier....

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