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staceyalberta 03-08-2010 04:21 PM

Advice needed ~ sort of off topic
This is off topic well sort of. Iím an emotional eater so I need to find better ways to deal with lifeís ups & downs other than eating. Which is why Iím posting this problem. Iím pretty sure this will help. A bit of background I have a ds who is 9 he has ADHD as well as other learning challenges & auditory/short term memory problems. I have an ex-husband who hardly sees his son. He thinks work is more important that spending time with his son. I need some advice since leaving my ex Iíve noticed my son telling more lies. Not big lies, but still lies. Probably in the class of white lies. Just things like did you brush your teeth? Yes. When I knew he hadnít. Did you eat all the granola bars? No. When heís the only one who eats them & they are all gone. But I guess he told his Dad that he didnít go to school last week he sat home every day watching TV, & that Mommy isnít giving him enough food. Which is bull. So now I have to defend myself to ex that YES our son did go to school & heís eating more than enough food. Iíve talked to my ds & said when you tell lies like that people arenít going to believe you when you tell the truth. I noticed when he was with me that his lying did improve, BUT now heís regressedÖ~sigh.~ I think some of it is just kid stuff like the not wanting to brush his teeth. When he does tell me the truth I do make a big deal about it lots of positive reinforcement. Which I suggested to that his dad do the same this morning. I know my son also has problems with his short term memory, heís annoyed that his parents arenít together, and could he be trying to play his dad & I off each other mom doesnít give me enough food. Iím not sure what to do. I did ask my ex that when he makes a claim like that, that seems out of character for me. Like hello I just willy nilly let my son sit home for a week watching tv that he calls our sonís bluff & call me right away. I know ds at times makes up stories, because of his auditory/short term memory problems he wants to feel Ďnormalí so instead of oh come on your donít remember heíll fill in the blanks, add to that the white lies kids tell at times, plus add to that trying to play mom & dad off each other. I donít know what to do.

Please any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. Iíd like to get a handle on this while heís young.

cjohnson728 03-08-2010 09:41 PM

Okay, first things first, your ex is kind of a nut for even giving this any credibility to begin with.

Second, I can't pretend to know what's going on with your son, having never met him. I also don't know you personally or your ex, so take what I say with a grain of salt and keep that in mind. But I can give you some professional insight on what is common in kids:

First, keep in mind that this is a normal stage for kids around that age and it can happen for a lot of different reasons. You are smart to want to nip it in the bud now, but don't panic worrying that he's going to grow up to be a sociopath or anything...this is (as much as anyone is) normal! But it's a pain in the butt when you're the mom.

Kid will lie for a lot of reasons...the main two are attention and control. Attention...he wants it, and even negative attention is attention (despite the fact that you give him positive attention too). Sometimes they can't get enough. And at 9, he may not want to ask for it because it's not a big boy thing to do.

Second...the control issue. They all have it. One aspect of this is to see how much he can get away with...testing his boundaries for the preteen and teen years. If you are a pushover now, you bet he'll be storing that information for later use. Also, if he's upset about the divorce (and maybe his dad not spending as much time with him), it could be that this is a way to get Dad involved, to get Dad talking to you, to get Dad paying attention to him, and to feel like he has some sort of control over something. He couldn't control the divorce, he can't control his dad's behavior or attitude toward work, but he sure can control how he manipulates with his lies. Maybe that's all he feels he's in charge of right now...what comes out of his mouth when someone asks a question.

You might want to take a look at whether he lies at school, about homework, to friends, etc., also, which might give you a little more of a clue as to what's behind it. Most of the time, lies are to stay out of trouble and kids just don't get that it would be easier to (not eat all the granola bars, brush teeth when you're supposed to, fill-in-the-blank) than to lie and cover it up. Infuriatingly, they just don't get it.

My best advice would be to acknowledge it but to keep it low key. The more you feed it, the more it will happen, but you can't have him thinking you are Clueless Mom, either. Some kids simply do it for the thrill of seeing if they can get away with it; if you treat it as no big deal, that will take away the thrill some. You might also try asking him how he thinks you feel when he lies to you to get him to see the other point of view.

Good luck!

Built 03-08-2010 09:50 PM

Stacey: Nothing can elate me or consume me more than issues with my children! After raising 4, (still have a teenage daughter at home) I feel your pain. Though I haven't gone through divorce, certainly my kids have tried the divide and conquer technique to get their way. My husband and I haven't always been on the same page, and we learned the hard way that we had to create a united front for the well-being of the kids. So talking with your ex was a good idea. Secondly, I have not hesitated to get professional help in the way of a good family counselor to help work through tough times either the kids were having or we were having. Often people wait too long before taking this step hoping the problem will work itself out. I know I've waited until problems at school occurred either with grades or behavior. If you decide to take this route, your pediatrician may be able to suggest a good counselor. That's what we did and it helped us out immensely.

Good for you for having the honesty to ask for suggestions! Maybe someone else out there has some other ideas for you. Certainly what ever you decide, please continue to take good care of yourself.

staceyalberta 03-08-2010 10:51 PM

I know he's not lying at school as I'm pretty close with the teachers etc dealing with my ds' learning challenges. i would agree that what he's saying to his dad is about attention & control. that makes perfect sense to me. i will have a chat with him when he gets home & it won't be over the top.

Built 03-09-2010 12:28 AM

Stacey: Had I read Cassie's post beforehand, I probably would have let her's strump any advice I had since that's her field of expertice. I'm one of the people who keep her profession in business!:)

cjohnson728 03-09-2010 12:41 AM

Beth...No amount of training can take the place of parents' instincts and advice from other parents! Keep it coming!!!

My family keep my profession in business, too, when it's called for, lol :)!

Hope all goes well with your son, Stacey. I am sure you will handle it just fine.

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