C.K. asks from Romeoville, IL on June 08, 2009
Need Help with a Little Liar...
My 6 yrs old daughter, a middle child, is a constant liar. She lie for her covenience. She said she already brushed her teeth, which she didn't. She said she didn't wet her pants, which she did and hid the underwear. She said she did the reading log, which she didn't. She said she finished her breakfast, which she threw away. Too bad, Mom found out about it most of the time. But as she grows, I am afraid that she will be more difficult to handle.
We give her consequences (time out, no candy, made her wash her underwear, finish her breakfast again, etc), we talk to her about why she was not suppose to tell a lie, read her stories related to the issue. We never label her as a liar. But instead of improving, I have a feeling it got worse along with her growing mind.
Is this a middle child problem ? (her sibling are 9 yo and 1 yo brother).
She used to have a bowel movement problem also. Two yrs ago she soiled and wet her pants often. Her very picky eating behavior put her in stool holding condition, we went through some tests and pediatric gastrointestinal specialist. And now she is constantly on miralax, and the underwear issue is diminished, but not gone.
Is this more of a psychological problem ? She is a happy, caring, and intelegent child. She can be very sweet, but also ready to push your button. She's good at making excuses, but can clammed up when you ask for explanation.
I feel like I am at the end of the rope.. I don't know what else to do. I know, seeing a child psychologist might help, but with this economy, the cost can be overwhelming. My hubby is a quiet laid back person. He doesn't do much of a talking or disciplining around the house. Any suggestion ?
3 moms found this helpful
N.Z. answers from Chicago on June 15, 2009
My son is very similar...lies constantly...but generally is a GREAT kid. I talk to him on why it is important to tell the truth. He still has a hard time understanding why it is bad to lie..."lying is bad because it is bad" I also make him go in his room (depending on what he lied about) and I tell him I don't want to be around liars. On instances like eating and brushing the teeth, I make him do the thing he lied about and then follow up with sending him to his room "because I don't want to be around a liar", so far it has slowed down the lying but it hasn't stopped...if it does I'll let you know, also if she stops based off of something, please let me know.
L.C. answers from Chicago on June 09, 2009
Once again, I need to address the issue of not putting soap in a child's mouth. This is a very bad idea. You tell them NOT to put it in their mouth, then you do? Talk about mixed messages.
I was traumatized by this - please do NOT do this.
N.W. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
We are having a similar issue as well with our 7-year old. I think it IS a psychological problem because whenever we "pull the string" on the lying we find out that her mom lied to her or forced her to lie about something. Once we find out what she first lied about (and she tells us) things seem to straighten out for a while.
We haven't gotten a full hold on it yet, but a few things that seem to work are:
1. Giving her an "out." Sometimes she lies because she doesn't want to get in trouble (forgetting that if she lies she gets in MORE trouble!) We'll say stuff like "did you brush your teeth? I'm going to check in 5 minutes." That gives her time to correct the problem instead of lying about it.
2. Every so often we do a "safe space." That's where she can tell us anything that she did that she wasn't supposed to and she won't get in trouble for it. We don't yell at her or punish her for telling us, but she does have to tell us how she can fix it for the future. So she might say "I broke your statue and hid it" and then we'd say "how can you fix that?" and we'd help her find a solution, like using her allowance to buy a new one. We call it a "solution" not a "punishment." Punishments are taking away TV or not being allowed to play with friends. Solutions fix the problem and can be quick, easy fixes (like putting a toy away) or longer ones (like cleaning up the mess.) Helping her clean up her conscience seems to help her not to lie.
3. We make sure we don't lie to her. We try not to say things like "we'll do that in a minute" when we know it will be 5 minutes! Even small lies teach her that lying is OK. She gets enough of that elsewhere!
4. We did try lying to her once. We told her we were going out for ice cream. She got all excited and we went through and cleaned up and got our shoes on. Then we said "we lied. We're not going out for ice cream." Then we talked about how she felt, and let her know that's how WE feel every time she lies. We do remind her of this when she lies, that also seems to help. It seemed kind of cruel at the time, but we were at the end of our rope and it did work!
We're not at 100% yet, she still lies and we do catch her, but at least for us the lying has gone down quite a bit.
3 moms found this helpful
K.J. answers from Chicago on June 09, 2009
I am also the mother of three, 9, 12, and 13. While lying is not a problem it does happen however, my children are old enough to understand why that is wrong and I deal with it with consequences and scripture. I pray about ALL things. If you are open for this pray for all of your children in every area of their life, from their health to the the friends they choose to the type of teacher they will have. If you believe there is a God pray daily and ask God to remove the lying spirit from your child and replace it with a spirit of truthfulness.
1 mom found this helpful
B.M. answers from Chicago on June 09, 2009
People (in general) do not do what we expect, but we INSPECT.
Stay the course....I had my kids clean toilets for punishment. Dirty mouth, dirty habit, etc. needs to be "cleaned" out and replaced. xo
D.K. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
I went through this with my oldest a whole lot. I think it boils down to them not wanting to be busted so they tell stupid stories instead of owning up. When I made it clear to my son that he'd probably be in trouble for the dumb stuff, but he'd DEFINITELY be in trouble for lies, in fact twice as much, he stopped covering up. Also, I had to make a real effort to not blow my top when he came to me right away. A funny thing happened, we bonded over him being a man about it and became better pals through his teen years because he knew I'd be annoyed by whatever dumb thing he'd done (and teenaged boys do some pretty dumb stuff!) but I'd help him fix it. If he covered it up and I found out anyway (which happened a lot too) he was BUSTED and big time. I don't think it's as much to do with a middle child thing, just a growing up thing. My daughter now does it and funny thing is, my son pulled her aside and said, mom will know when you're lying, just tell her the truth, you'll be better off in the long run! Mom hates liars. Wow I nearly fainted! lol.
Hope that helps.
C.H. answers from Chicago on June 09, 2009
My oldest sister (now 41) lied constantly and because she's now older (and still lies from time to time), she had told me that the reason she did so as a kid was because she always wanted to impress my mom so that my mom could be proud of her. Now, that doesn't make sense to me, because I myself wanted to impress my mom, and I didn't like, I just did the right thing. But, my sister told me just a few years ago that she didn't want to dissapoint my mom so she knew if she told the truth, she'd dissapoint her, therefore she lied in the hopes my mom would be proud.
With that said, I would try the approach of honesty is the best policy rule. But before you go there, give her some scenarios (such as if she's sitting on a chair, you can say "if I say you were sitting on the sofa, would I be telling the truth or lying to you"). Maybe, just maybe she doesn't understand the concept between telling the thruth or lying. My 5 year old newphew told my mom that his dad placed a belt around his neck when he didn't listen. My mom totally believed him and lashed out verbally at my sister and brother-in-law. That same day, I had my nephew and asked him if he knew what the difference was between the two. He said he wasn't sure. When I gave him some scenarios, he understood it better. I then asked him if he lied or told the truth when he told grandma that his dad put a belt around his neck and he said it was a lie. He then said he said it because he knew grandma would yell at his dad (something he, himself can't do).
Anyway, start small and tell her that no matter what she does, you'll always love her and that she'd get into more trouble for lying than if she told the truth. Now, you don't want to reward her for telling the truth and doing something bad (and that's something you have to figure out).
Here's an article that may be helpful...
R.C. answers from Chicago on June 09, 2009
Child psychiatry is covered on insurance. I can give you a referral if you want to go that route. We had a problem with lying also, but we showed our son that if he wanted us to allow him to do things with friends, etc, (big kid stuff), we had to be able to trust him. ALWAYS telling the truth is how to gain trust. It took some time, but it eventually worked. He now tells the truth even if he knows he will be in trouble - BUT, he also knows that even if he gets into trouble, it's less trouble than he would be in for lying. Email me for the referral - ____@____.com.
J.V. answers from Chicago on June 09, 2009
If the situation is just getting worse, it sounds to me like your little one is scared of the consequences and the lack of approval they signify. She isn't honest with you because she's scared you won't approve of her, i.e. love her anymore, when she does things to which you don't approve. She also likely embarrassed by such things as soiling her pants, and by you making her wash them, you most likely are just reinforcing the shame and making her feel worse about herself, pushing her to further lie and hide.
Instead of punishing her, how about just having a little talk to her about why she didn't want to brush her teeth, ending with a reinforcement that you love her no matter what, that you want her to share with you --no matter what. If she gives you some lame excuse and doesn't want to have the talk, tell her that you will continue the discussion when she is ready to discuss it openly with you. Reinforce why bushing teeth is important, and just wait and see what she does.
I think she is clamming up out of fear of consequences, so get rid of the consequences, and see if her story doesn't change.
L.B. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
Just about any child will lie to avoid punishment or even a parents disappointment. My oldest was the chronic liar.
As a mom of three I had read about the middle child syndrome~the firstborn has the status of being the oldest and the thirdborn has the status of being the baby~ so I take every opportunity to make my middle guy feel special. Your middle child needs & wants your attention & will do whatever to get it.
Invest in a book on discipline~123 Magic by Thomas Phelan is a good one. Find ways to take a break when you feel at the end of your rope. Go to another room, take deep breaths, call a friend.
Every child brings challenges. Cut yourself & her some slack & focus on her good qualities.