M.K. asks from Arlington, TX on August 19, 2006
Lying - Arlington,TX
I have a 10 year old son & he has been hanging around a friend that is a habitual liar. Just recently he(my son)has started lying, but not so much to us but to this friends parents about us. My husband is a Karate Instructor and a Marine at heart(he was in for 4 years)so he is very stern & set in his ways. He has several things around the house like swords, and martial arts artifacts & weapons as decorations, but my son has started telling this family that his daddy beats him with this shenii(bamboo stick) when I am not around. They have never really had a very close relationship anyway because there was never really time for them to bond when he was a child cause I was always running around with my family & he never really got the chance to have alone time because of me keeping him away but I totally regret that now. He worked so much & by the time he got home he was so exhausted and when we were home he just pretty much wanted to rest. We now have a 17 month old & my husband has bonded more with this child than with our 10 yr old, but they have actually started spending more time together just the guys. I don't know if this is a jealousy issue but don't understand what is going on & would really not understand why he would be jealous because he actually gets to spend time with his daddy now. Yet lately when I go to run some errands or have girl time he is going to this friends house and staying down there all day telling them that his daddy locked him out & won't answer the door when he knocks, but daddy never locked the door & child never knocks, just so he can stay down there & play. I am afraid that these parents are going to take what he is saying & call CPS and we have tried to explain that to him & he starts crying & saying he doesnt want to live anywhere else but does this thing again. When we ask him why he tells them this about his daddy he says cause he wants to stay down there longer. I am tired of the neighbors calling me telling me this stuff & that my son is afraid to go home because of his daddy. It is hurting my husband when this happens but just makes him even angrier about the lying. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! what should we do about this & how should we approach explaining to him how much this hurts us as a family & what it could do if someone did call CPS. Please let me know what suggestions you might have am open to almost anything.
E.R. answers from San Antonio on August 21, 2006
You have a few options here. One is to do the obvious. Don't let your son go to this boy's house. If he's teaching your son bad habits, then they don't get to play together and you might want to convey that to this parent.
If they go to school together, talk with their principal and their teacher and let those folks know whats going on.
Another choice is to talk with the parent.
The next time your son tells them something that they question, make him prove it. If he says he's being hit, make him show the bruises. If he's says he's being locked out, ask the parent to take him home and let him knock on the door.
Ask your school counselor for information on lying. She'll probably have a little book, a pamplet, a video or she can refer you to some material.
Even though you've explained to him what would happen if CPS gets involved, he probably doesn't fully grasp the reality. When your son in caught in a lie, what are his consequences?
That needs to be set in stone and do it quick.
Lying is a tricky issue because it involves trust. Here it's even more so because it involves a child. Your child.
K.G. answers from Dallas on August 21, 2006
Verify that your son is lying about his father. You are the one in the best position to verify the truth or falsehood. Talk to your son alone. When you are assured that it is a fabrication, have a serious talk with your son. Tell him that he has hurt his father's feelings. And, really, I believe you both should see a counselor with him. Even though it is common at this age, the boy obviously needs attention. More father son time would probably help. If he is having good times with dad, it is unlikely he would fabricate lies about him. And obviously, you need to limit the amount of time your son is spending with this other boy. Peers are extremely influential in a child's life, but parents still have the most influence in the long run.
P.M. answers from Dallas on August 21, 2006
It sounds like your son is looking for attention and just going about it in the wrong way. I would suggest maybe having your husband have an alloted time weekly that is dedicated for just himself and your son. Maybe he is trying to reach out to you guys and doing so in the wrong manner. My son was 7 when my younger son was born. I know just that in itself was tough for him because for 7 years he had our full attention and now he had to share. Plus, when there is a baby in the house EVERYONE who comes over goes crazy over the baby because they are so little and cute and I'm sure it is easy to feel left out or not as important for an older child. Best of luck, Pam
R.N. answers from Dallas on August 20, 2006
Wow, that's a sensitive subject. Do you have enough rapport w/the friend's parents so that they know it's not true even w/o checking?? I hope so.
I know it must be hard. You might think about having him evaluated by a counselor to see if there are any underlying things that are bothering him.
I taught fourth grade (that age) for quite awhile, and this is actually kind of common-it happened many times with students. So much so that we developed a slogan, "I won't believe what they tell me about you, if you don't believe what they tell you about me!" Of course, that's kind of in gest, but it's true. I am sure you all are wonderful parents. Often times it's an attention thing, not to say you aren't paying enough attention as it is, and I am not sure just what to recommend. And, although I said couseling might help, it would require your son to be honest and open up, which I am unsure that he would do given the facts. They might uncover that he feel anxious of maybe it IS just his friend influencing him.
Another question....would there be a way for you to get him "away" from this friend? At this age, they become VERY swayed by friends, probably for the first time. I would see children who switched classes to "get away" from a child the parents thought was causing their child to act abnormal. Often times, IT WORKED! Do they go to the same school, activities, etc.?? So, that's another idea.
I wish you the best of luck!!!
T.N. answers from Dallas on August 20, 2006
Since you've already talked with hi(your son) and he continues to do it,I would try finding a one time use counselor that is familar with family issues that all three of you could sit down with. They may just be able to get through your son, on how this behavior won't work. Look in your yellow pages or dial 211 from a land line. There are some available on a sliding scale if you need it. And may be able to explain better to you and your husband why he's choosing to act out this way. No matter what you choose to do about it all,I wish you luck,and am sure it's probably just a phase.
N.B. answers from Dallas on August 20, 2006
I sense your frustration. I am sure your husband is a wonderful father, but coming from a child who was abused, I think your first step is to VERIFY that what your child is saying is not true.
Once you have made that determination, you should speak with his school counselor to solicit ideas/advice and maybe have him or her speak with your son.
It sounds as if he really enjoys spending time at his friends' house. He needs to be made aware of the consequences of his lying. You might explain to him what CPS is and assure him that if he is placed in foster care that it would not be with his friends' family.