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Appropriate consequence for lying?

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Nature_Girl posted 10/13/2013 03:29 AM

What is an appropriate consequence for children who lie, lie, lie? Children who have been deliberately taught by their father to lie to me? Children who now lie to me as easily as their father once did, without pausing for thought, as naturally as breathing?

How do I counter this? How do you teach children NOT to lie when their other parent encourages them to lie?

jemimapd posted 10/13/2013 05:29 AM

NG, I've dealt with lying episodes with both children and to some extent it is normal but being exacerbated by your ex.

The first thing is not to get angry when they tell the truth! Praise them excessively.

When they lie, stay calm. Send them to naughty corner or whatever you would do for anything else.

Try not to make a big deal out of it!

Then calmly set out the consequence for lying. If they continue to lie, impose it calmly. Treat it like any other naughtiness.

The best thing you can do is set up a truth project IMO.

Get some library books about telling the truth or just talk to them in very simple terms about it. Make it a fun thing. Positive reinforcement always trumps negative I have found.

When they tell the truth, they get a sticker or one more in the box of fuzzies whatever. When they complete the chart (daily or weekly depending on the age of the child) they get a reward.

I'm currently doing a box of fuzzies with my 6-year-old for reading and she loves it. When it is full she will get a toy she wants. She loves seeing the plastic tub fill up. You can buy little fuzzy balls from Walmart or a craft store.

IRN2006 posted 10/13/2013 06:29 AM

Are your kids in therapy? I don't remember? If so, I would also work with the the therapist on this.

My mom likely has borderline personality disorder. Lying was a huge no-no in our house growing up. I did it anyway, because usually I could avoid the rages by telling her what she wanted to hear , rather than the truth.

My parents could have used multiple trips to Disney as a reward for quitting lying. It wouldn't have been a good enough incentive. The physical punishment also wasn't enough to stop, either.

Lying generally protected me, and I was not going to give it up, no matter what.

For me, I needed to have he underlying causes of the lying fixed, meaning I needed to have my parents and my self pursue and eventually become mentally and emotionally healthy, rather than being the post card for dysfunction..

[This message edited by IRN2006 at 6:32 AM, October 13th (Sunday)]

Amazonia posted 10/13/2013 06:46 AM

How old are they? Toddlers versus teens makes a big difference here...

jjct posted 10/13/2013 07:26 AM

3 elementary school-aged kids, and their father is deliberately teaching them to lie?
That is evil incarnate.
I'm so sorry NG, I don't know how you do it - that type of abuse would send me to seeking any and all protective measures I could...

Nature_Girl posted 10/13/2013 09:20 AM

Yes, they are in counseling.

Yes, he tells them to lie to me. They now lie to me about all things, big & small, serious & inconsequential. They even admit that Dad tells them to lie/make stuff up. He tells them this as a way to be "cool", to be the cool parent versus me, the bad parent who just wants to get them in trouble.

Did you brush your teeth?
Did you wash your hair?
Did you do your homework?
Did you finish cleaning _______?
Did you put your clothes away?
How did this glass get broken?
Why don't we have as many spoons anymore?
Did you finish eating ______?
Did you practice your ______?
Did you take your _______ to school today after I told you not to?
Did you tell _______ that you _________?

And then there's the deception. Sneaking things out of the house and lying to my face about it. Sneaking food or ingredients, then lying when I ask where the items went. Sneaking electronics. Faking going to sleep, then turning the light on & reading until 1:30 in the morning. Sweetie, why are you so tired? Why can't you get up in time for school?

That three children simultaneously progress down this road at the same time in the same behaviors without being coached & encouraged is just not possible. It started last summer with STBX's infamous "Don't Tell Mom" campaign. Don't tell Mom that I fed you Twinkies & potato chips, washed down with caffeinated soda pop, right before I brought you home. Don't tell Mom that you fell in the water & a park employee had to rescue you before you drowned (because you can't swim and I'm too much of a selfish prick to be bothered to jump in the water & save you myself). Don't tell Mom that you hit your head on the play equipment & passed out. Don't tell Mom... Don't tell Mom...

We're WAY beyond reward charts in seriousness. They're too old for that, anyway. At some point I think I need to display some appropriate anger when lies are discovered. At some point there needs to be consequences for lying. If they never see the relationship damage lies cause, then they will grow up delusional and just as sociopathic as their father (which would be his greatest accomplishment, to fuck them up as much as he is).

There HAS to be consequences for lying. I cannot ignore the lying any longer.

cmego posted 10/13/2013 10:14 AM

Well, I will admit when I catch my kids lying, and they use the excuse, "I just wasn't thinking...." I have to watch the trigger. It is the SAME identical thing ex said when caught lying. How, does a 7 year old know to say that? I digress...

Ex has a way of "skirting the truth" about things. He doesn't see it as lying, more of "not giving me information that might hurt me". Trying to get him to see THAT is lying is beyond me...and he teaches it to the kids.

I JUST caught my almost 8 year old son sneaking his Kindle, then lying about it. I came down very hard on him. His Kindle is everything to him right now, and he broke my trust/violated a rule. He lost all electronics for a week, and will now have to earn it back with good behavior (there were other "smaller" lies this week too..."My tummy hurt" for why he didn't eat his lunch instead of the truth, "I was talking too much".). So, there were several small incidents that were discussed, then two incidents of playing Kindle when he wasn't supposed to that led to "all electronic ban".

I am a pretty strict Mom. They know the boundaries, and if they cross it, there will be consequences. I WILL teach them that lying hurts other people. My son and I sat down and discussed how I felt when he lied, and how he felt. The next morning he said "how guilty he felt" for lying to me, and making poor choices. I told him the guilt means he has a conscious, and that is what helps us make good choices. It is a learning process. If lying to someone makes you feel bad, don't lie. If you made a poor choice, then there are consequences to your actions/choices.

I ignore what ex says, and I teach them my values. They will be punished for making a poor choice, lying included.

My dd went through a really bad "lying" stage at about 3rd grade too. At 5th grade, she is doing much better. My son is starting the same phase at about the same age.

If they say, "But...Dad said...." I stop them right there and tell them the rules at our house are different and they know it. Done.

I also tell them it is my job to be their Mom, and part of that job is teaching them right from wrong. They know the rules/boundaries and if they cross them, it is my job to hand out the punishment.

It is also my job to love the ever-living stew out of them.

gonnabe2016 posted 10/13/2013 11:01 AM

Did you brush your teeth?
You know that the kids aren't brushing, so set a specific time for all of you to take a trip to the bathroom for *tooth-brushing time*. Also, Google for images of what happens to teeth if they aren't brushed. Show the kids and tell them that is what happens when teeth aren't brushed.

Did you wash your hair?
I'm kinda *meh* on this one. It would be low on my priority scale of *battles*. The *peers* can fight this one for me. But. You could try involving the kids in the shampoo-buying. Let them pick out their own -- that way perhaps there will be more excitement about washing. AND. Don't ask about hair-washing. Hug the kid after bath/shower, sniff the head. If you don't smell shampoo -- say "get back in there and wash your hair." Statement of fact, not question.

Did you do your homework?
Work with the teachers on this one. Ask for a daily email of homework assignments, or weekly, or <whatever> -- basically, find out what is due and when. Then instead of "did you do your homework?"....."XYZ is due tomorrow, let me look it over for you."

Did you finish cleaning _______?
Again. Don't ask. Go look. You'll know whether the cleaning was done or not. If it was, "good job, it looks great." If it wasn't "go finish your job."

Did you put your clothes away?
Just go look. If not, then "go put your clothes away."

How did this glass get broken?
You: "oh. The glass is broken. Is anyone hurt? Check your hands and feet."

Why don't we have as many spoons anymore?
???? What the heck are your kids doing with your spoons? Stumped here.

Did you practice your ______?
This one's another *lower* priority issue for me. "practice time is 4-4:30 <or whatever>" If the kid doesn't practice, s/he will be the one that looks stupid during band or will cause the whole class to have to play the piece over and over and piss everyone off. Let peer pressure do your work for you here. If you are paying for lessons, have the instructor keep you informed on whether practice is happening or not. The instructor can tell within seconds whether the kid is practicing or not. If you are informed that practice isn't occurring....then stop the lessons. "Since you don't care enough to practice, then I'm not paying for lessons anymore." OR if you strongly want the kid to continue -- enforce the practice time while you can supervise and know that it is occurring.

Did you take your _______ to school today after I told you not to?
If this is a re-curring issue -- start doing backpack and body searches before leaving for school. Seriously.

Did you tell _______ that you _________?
If you know that kid told someone something, then "why did you tell X about Y?" If you aren't sure, you can either go to the other person and ask or....hmmmm. I got nothin'.

tl/dr version:
Talk to them about the effects of lying. You will not trust them, which will mean increased supervision and decreased freedom. Have IC talk to them about the effects of lying.
Don't give the kids *opportunities* to lie. "Did you...." questions give them that opportunity.
More work for you in the short-term, but hopefully it will pay off in the long run. And this is DEFINITELY an issue that you want to get handled NOW, while they are young.....

eta: (and....everything that cmego said....)

[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 11:03 AM, October 13th (Sunday)]

Take2 posted 10/13/2013 11:12 AM

When my kids were little, I doubled the consequences if they lied on top of whatever rule they broke.

I used to tell them they had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other (like in a cartoon). The more they listened to one or the other the stronger its voice would get, until they couldn't hear the other one at all. So if they kept choosing to listen to the bad voice, the good voice (their conscience) would be silenced.

My oldest took the lesson to heart. Years later my youngest told me she remembered that lecture and thinking, "you mean I can kill the good voice... cool!" Eh... they both turned out okay in the end...

With that as reference consider what follows with a grain of salt, and pass it by a therapist first! But, my gut response to this (assuming you've tried rewards and punishments with consistency), would be to announce that if you are going to live surrounded by liars - you've decided to join them. Tell them that for the next week - you are going to lie too. They shouldn't count onanything you say to be true... you've decided to lie too. Then do it. Hit them hard, set them up and knock them down, hit them where it counts. Offer ice cream on the way home - then don't stop. Hell let them think you are planning a trip to Disney... At the end of the week have a family pow-wow about how they want to proceed as a family....

Dreamboat posted 10/13/2013 14:38 PM

After X left I told DD that our house was a No Lie Zone. We made a pact that I would not lie to her and she would not lie to me. This worked for us because X and his family often lied to her and that hurt her, so you understood how lying can affect people. It has not always been easy. One time early on she lied about brushing her teeth and I went literally bat shit crazy. I completely lost it and had to apologize later. Sometimes she asks me tough or uncomfortable questions knowing that I will not lie to her, and I answer her usually (sometimes I say I won't talk about that specific issue, but I don't do that often). She is 16 now and we have a very trust worthy relationship. I am not foolish enough to say that my teenager never lies to me or never keeps things from me. But for the most part we have a very open relationship and I really trust her.

I know my situation is very different from yours. I did not have anyone actively encouraging her to lie. In addition, my DD already understood how lying negatively affects a person.

I would suggest that you tell the kids that your house is a no lie zone. That if they lie you will take away privileges. If you have to, completely strip their room of everything except a bed and a couple of boxes for clothes.

Also verify everything that they tell you and let them know that you are verifying it. Put keyloggers on your computer. Put parental blocks on your cable. Call and email teachers to verify school work. If you ask if they have homework and they say no, go thru their back pack (in front of them!) and examine every piece of paper and ask about it. And immediately give them a consequence -- "You did not tell me the truth about homework. Therefore you cannot play any video game or watch any TV tonight. Instead you will need to do extra homework or read in your room."

Be the mean mommy. If you do not break them from this now then they will always disrespect you with lies and deceptions. And if they every bring up their father and lying then calmly say that their fathers lies are one of the reasons why you are not longer M to him.


tushnurse posted 10/14/2013 08:04 AM

NG - for a lot of kids lying is a natural response, even when they are not encouraged to do it by a parent because it is the quickest answer without upset.

You have to have firm consequences, and they also know that you know that dad says it's ok, but in your house it is not, and will not be tolerated. Kids older than 6 can understand this. Its just like school having different rules than home.

You are going to have to get very serious with the consequences, and make sure there is a ton of positive reinforcement for the good actions.

My oldest would always give the quick answer. And many times that was a lie, and it was all the basic stuff, brushing teeth, to showering etc. Hell he'd even go in the bathroom and turn the shower on, and not get in. I would smell hair and breath, and make him go back and do it again, I would stand and watch to make sure he did it, if he failed to get it done the first time. Then I would take away whatever his favorite electronic device was for the moment.

As for staying up and reading, you may need to take doors off rooms, I did that for the one that wanted to read all night. When he was good for a week, the he got his door back.

They need to understand that if they lie about the little stuff then you can trust them with bigger things. Like going to a friends house, will they be good, and not make bad choices there?

It's a tought habit to break, it can be though, but requires you to be very vigilent.

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