Do they lie?(9 Posts)
How often do your dcs lie, what do they lie about and how do you handle it? DD (almost 12) has quite a bad track record. She lies about homework and consequently does badly in tests because she didn't study but she could care less. She lies about stupid things like having had juice without asking first (we are trying to lower her sugar intake). She is being bullied at school but we're not at all sure that all the stories are true, some of it sounds really far fetched. She lied about taking DH's wedding ring and losing it at school. We've punished, we've spoken nicely, we've explained that it's difficult to believe anything she tells us if she keeps lying. We don't know what else to do.
Is it a relatively new development? DD (12) does it sometimes since changing schools, though in general I would say she's pretty good. It tends to be situations where she's feeling overwhelmed that seem to trigger it and I've found that making opportunities to talk help, so that we actually communicate rather than just co-exist (I think that was tending to happen before , with me and DH tending to "manage" her, rather than hear her out).
Have you followed up on her stories at school? Even the far-fetched ones might have some truth in them and it could be worth having a quiet meeting/phone call with form teacher/head of year to hear what they're seeing from her. If that doesn't get you anywhere, perhaps counselling might. I certainly think it's indicative of early depression to act like this.
Thanks for your reply. I did have a long talk with her psychologist about this today, and she thinks a lot of it isdue to ADD related impulsivity.
Did the psychologist yield any light as to why it may happen? Is lying out of fear of being told off or not understanding the situation properly? You mentioned ADD - some of it may be lying to get attention, which I guess you already are aware of. Bullying can also prompt lying as a child will attempt to "fit" in to avoid negative treatment - I know my lying as a child started and continued from trying to appease people (and I carried it on until early 20's due to self esteem issues).
I'd agree with following up on her behaviour at school. Even if the stories are far fetched, the bullying itself may not be; but perhaps she feels by exaggerating it, she will receive more attention or a resolution. I know my nephew, who lies regularly but is genuinely being bullied, will make things up in order to be "heard".
The lies are generally to avoid doing something she doesn't want to do (like studying for a test) or to avoid getting into trouble. The bullying thing I think is separate and we have spoken to her teacher about it. If it continues we will go to the grade head. It's much more difficult to figure out what the underlying reasons are for the lies... the psychologist thinks a very strong personality, high intelligence and the ADD all feeds into this, plus normal boundary testing. One also always with an adopted child have to take into account that they might be testing to see if you're going to stick around, even after years.
It is difficult to know what to suggest, other than explaining that you would be easier able to deal with issues/problems/situations if your DD was honest, but obviously it isn't as simple as that. Being strong willed and intelligent is a positive and hopefully will result in a quicker realisation of what boundaries are acceptable and what are not.
Was she adopted after the age of 5? I'm guessing if so, the psychologist is aware of your DD's back history, prior to adoption? You are right, your DD may be trying to ascertain of her family position - probably more so if she has previously felt unstable.
I suppose it's about validating her feelings and trying to subtly and compassionately, find out why she feels she needs to lie. That said, the things she is lying about do seem to be common avoidance tactics.
I keep writing and rewriting so sorry if it seems clinical or nosy; it is not intended that way, merely to try and help whilst having only four hours sleep!
Not sounding clinical or nosy and I hope you get more sleep tonight! DD was legally adopted at 4 but has known only DH as her daddy since she was 11 months. It's a long story.
We had this. It was related to avoiding stuff she regarded as unpleasant (anything from a telling off, to studying when she didn't want to etc. etc.).
Eventually I realised that she was not thinking beyond the moment, and lying or failing to communicate made it go away. She was not associating this with it coming back twice as bad further down the line.
Because I wasn't understanding that, it got worse and worse. And I wasn't being clever enough to relating cause and effect.
Unfortunately for some time I was bringing pressure to bear to try to force her to change, so I became one of the things she would say anything to get rid of for 24hrs.
Ultimately I worked it out, and so I introduced a gap - complex to explain but basically down to "you can get away with pretty much anything as long as you tell me straight away. If, however, I find out about it myself then the wrath of the Gods etc. etc".
And then living by my words, which was less than easy I can tell you. In her mind this then became that the way to make stuff go away was to tell me about it, rather than to hide it. But I had to live with being told stuff I didn't really want to deal know, and dealing with things differently.
For example, "Dad, I got into trouble today for not doing my homework last week", I had to reward the telling me about the trouble, and for the moment let the "not doing my homework" go.
It was a slow process, but momentum did pick up. That started resolving the first bit, which was getting the communication going.
Then it was trying to establish the link that addressing something today was less effort and badness than suffering a train wreck tomorrow. This included allowing her to use levels of effort. This will be bad if it goes wrong, work to avoid it, this will be merely irritating if it goes wrong so don;t worry about it". That was more trying, but some progress was made.
Then I started introducing rewards which were over the top for the achievement, but were related to how forward thinking she had been. And these were rewards like going out somewhere, or cinema, or books or anything else that a) she wanted and b) was constructive in my opinion. I refused any requests for rewards which I didn't approve of.
I don't buy the ADD bit, but I do think its related to the strong personality and the intelligence.
Like a balloon, squeeze it somewhere and it pops out somewhere else. Its just making it pop in the right place, because its going to pop out whatever.
Its still a bit of an effort, but 12 months later its like night and day.
Re-reading this it is quite clearly not a very clear explanation, but for us it worked. Perhaps you can pick some bones out of it.
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