Suggestions for 8 Yr Old Child Caught Lying Again.

Updated on November 24, 2010
J.G. asks from Los Gatos, CA
16 answers

I caught my 8 yr old daughter lying on Sunday. Again. Normally, it wouldn’t be big deal, but I’m having some problems with it. She asked if she could go meet a friend right after the soccer game. Since she was having problems with establishing friendships on her team I wanted her to stick around to celebrate with the team, get final team pictures etc. Team building. Instead she decided to go against my wishes and disappear to see her old friend. Her team did the final pictures and said goodbye for the season and there was no sign of my daughter anywhere.

When I finally found her, I said no TV, no dessert and no play dates. But I didn’t realize it was Thanksgiving week. On top of that I’m a single mom, and she is hardly with me. Since she is with me all week I was really looking forward to doing a lot this week with her. I was really hoping to do some good bonding with her as my divorce has been incredibly stressful as it has been over 5 years. I feel a lot of pressure to forget everything for fear of losing her. Any suggestions

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So What Happened?

Hopefully, my first post/situation will come through to give you all the history of the event. Just in case it didn’t come through, basically my 8 yr. old daughter asked to see a friend after her soccer game. I said no, the team has final pictures, coaches talk etc. She disobeyed me and went to see her friend. I see now that it was important for her to see this friend and if I realized it at the time that I would try and make it happen-like “hurry and tell your friend to wait till after you finish up with your team and then go talk”. But I didn’t. Do I really deserve 50 lashes? I wasn’t in the “logical” frame of mine (it was very chaotic) and since I couldn’t think of any “natural” consequences I blurted out no dessert, no play dates and no TV for a week. Since we’ve had to deal with issues of lying and disobeying me many times before I said a full week. (When I usually ask her opinion on what I should do when she does something wrong she usually says just that-no dessert and no play dates.) (We’re usually so busy that she usually doesn’t get to watch TV.) Also, this child gets dessert after almost every meal-usually ice-cream. Also, I realized after reading everyone’s posts that she really disobeyed me rather than lied to me. And yes, I have talked to my daughter many times regarding why it’s important that I trust her and won’t be able to if she lies or disobeys me.
As a follow-up to all your posts we had a fine Thanksgiving week. We did many things together.
This all happened the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I wasn’t thinking that far ahead that Thanksgiving was that week. Although I should have thought of something else, I felt that I needed to follow up and be consistent when I said no dessert as consequence to her disobeying me. Thanksgiving came at the end of the week and an old neighbor invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner as I do not have any family in the area. When my daughter is with me during the holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter) we always go this neighbor’s house for a grand dinner.
By the way, my old neighbor (whom my daughter refers to as Auntie does not have any children. The neighbor always buys A LOT of toys at her birthday and Christmas. (Over $100 for each occasion.) As a result my daughter adores Auntie. Although I’m not crazy that Auntie buys her so many gifts, I was always glad that my daughter didn’t miss seeing family at the holidays because she always had Auntie to look forward to.
Before we went to Auntie’s for Thanksgiving I told my daughter that it was her responsibility to tell Auntie why she can’t have dessert. (I thought long and hard if it was worth giving in and letting her have dessert, but I felt that it was more important to be consistent.) Of course Auntie wants everyone to eat a lot so when my daughter said she wasn’t allowed to have dessert Auntie got very mad at me.
My old neighbor/Auntie just called me today and angrily said that I am too strict. Auntie said that I can no longer restrict my daughter’s dessert intake anymore at her house for any reason! I explained to Auntie that I needed to follow through and I need her support. She said that she is not interested in supporting me. I said I certainly will be more aware of any corrective measures when we might be coming to her house, but if my daughter is restricted not to have dessert then I need to call her and say we are not coming. I then asked the neighbor if she will ever invite us over again because I felt that I needed to prepare my daughter. The neighbor said she doesn’t know at this time if we will get another invitation and then said to just drop my daughter off at her house. I said I would not do that and I tried to explain to the neighbor why I needed to follow through and she just said “stop arguing with her and that she was too busy for me to explain. I tried to say that my daughter will be very traumatized if she never is allowed to see Auntie again. The neighbor kept on repeating that she doesn’t know the first thing about raising kids but she wants them to eat what they want. (I try and look the other way when this neighbor feeds my daughter soda and Cheetos and other junk food and says that my daughter doesn’t need to eat real food before dessert.)
I agree that I might have thought of another consequence when my daughter disobeyed me (has anyone got any other suggestions on what I could have said) But now I’m extremely upset that this neighbor is doing this. I want to continue going to Auntie’s house for my daughter, (I actually could care less and after today I’ll only go back because it means so much to my daughter and because my daughter doesn’t have family to go to for the holidays.) I will certainly try and make sure my daughter doesn’t have any dessert restrictions when we go to the neighbor’s house, but I’m sure somewhere down the line I will do something else that Auntie is not pleased with and will again be unwilling to support me and give me a choice between letting my daughter visit or parent her way.
I assume that a lot of you will say not to bother to go to Auntie’s house anymore, but it will be so upsetting to my daughter! In addition, it’s something that my daughter really looks forward to when she is with me and not with her Dad. Already, because of the stress of my divorce and the splitting of her parents my daughter has said that she wants to commit suicide. (Yes, she saw a show on TV at her Dad’s house and saw the reaction of the other TV actors when someone said they wanted to commit suicide. (After talking with my daughter she said she wanted the attention, but it is also very true that she is very stressed because of the divorce. And yes, she is now in therapy. And before you crucify me again, I try very hard to make sure she is not aware of the divorce. But sometimes the reality comes through when I say we can’t afford something any longer, and when we had to move etc. or when she hears complaints from my ex about me. (I’ve already tried to explain to my ex what this is doing to our daughter, but he absolutely doesn’t care and blames me for everything. (And he left the marriage after I helped him through major cancer surgery during the same week as giving birth to my daughter.)
In addition, because my divorce is so ugly (we’re been at it for 5 years now) if Auntie calls my ex to bring my daughter to her house I’m sure that it will be brought up in court and he will try and get full custody. My ex will do anything not to pay support. I once lost custody because I had diarrhea! (I think I’m a good mom as my life centers around my daughter. In addition to her many activities and play dates, my daughter goes to a parent participation school. Which means that every week I help out in the classroom for 3 hours, participate in setting up school parties and functions, attend parenting courses, not classes, but courses, drive on 4 field trips a year etc. etc.
I would not be surprised if Auntie got madder today when I said that I won’t drop off my daughter at her house. Between you and me, I certainly won’t restrict her dessert anymore at Auntie’s house, but auntie always has to be right and have the last word even if it is how to parent my own daughter.
Am I really that off base? Was I an absolutely horrible mom that I said no dessert? Do I really deserve to lose custody of my daughter because I was trying to be a good parent and be consistent? Any thoughts or suggestions would greatly be appreciated! Please help on how to handle Auntie!

Featured Answers



answers from Phoenix on

If you catch her in a lie, then you need to punish her and follow through. You can still have fun and spend time with her. Good luck and happy thanksgiving.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Lafayette on

you need to follow through with your punishments. its hard being a single mom. but she will never learn to respect you and your rules if you don't. good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

As KH already stated,,I don't see where she lied, but rather she disobeyed you and there should be some form of punishment for that. And I think what you used as punishment is fine, even for Thanksgiving week. What bonding do you get while she watches tv, or goes on a playdate? I say turn off the tv and play board games with her. Go on a hike. Read a book together. Have her help you cook a great meal for the holiday. Let her do some craft or decorating with you. Do things together and bond. Don't set her in front of a tv and watch some mind numbing show. She can do that any other time, but this is YOUR time with her. BE WITH HER, not the tv. Not her little friends. But at the same time you need to turn off your cell phone and stay off your computer. She knows she is ignored when you are busy with those things and won't feel any bonding while you are texting or blogging away the hours. As for skipping desserts, it won't hurt her. It is nice to enjoy a special treat now and then but for the most part too many of us eat too much. Maybe after a few days of bonding with good behavior you can allow a treat as a small gesture of forgiveness for disobeying you after the game.(hopefully she has shown signs of remorse by then) The let the whole thing go and be done with it. It won't hurt her to have you follow through on the punishment. But you certainly don't have to feel guilty over taking away tv, desserts and play dates when the chance to bond is staring you right in the face. Enjoy your daughter while you have her and enjoy Thanksgiving together.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

What has always worked for me is establishing with my two girls that IF they choose to lie to me instead of being up front and honest FIRST they will be in 10x more trouble. Doesn't mean that the deed they did goes unpunished and they know this but the consequences wouldn't be as harsh IF they lie about it.
Shortly after this conversation I had some old home interior candle holders out for a yard sale we were going to have. Well somehow they got broken but they went and told their dad that they broke them. He told them he appreciated their honesty but that it belonged to mom and they needed to let me know but thank you for being honest.
Later that day they told me and apologized for breaking it. I told them it was okay because they were to go into the yard sale anyways but I made sure to thank them for being honest and telling me instead of me "finding" them broke because then I would have been a lot more upset.
When my children do wrong and they are having to pay the consequences for their actions then I take certain privelages away from them. Such as T.V. playing on the computer, playing their DS or simply sending them to their bedroom which they hate because there is nothing for them to do in there. I believe bedrooms are for sleeping and nothing else. There is no T.V. computer, toys, etc in the bedroom. I think you are wanting to pick and choose your daughters friends. Personally I never had groups of girls that I was friends with. I have a "select" set of friends that I am close to and want to hang out with. Then there are others that I am acquainted with but do not necessarily hang out with them. I am very selective with my friends and who I spend my time with. I have one friend that I have been friends with since the 4th grade. Then I have others that I met later in life but I tend to hang out with the girlfriend that I grew up with because I know she is a great friend. Perhaps your daughter doesn't feel a connection with these girls and you are only making it worse by forcing it. Just let it be and let it be on HER terms not yours. So what if she isn't friends with them-she will pick and choose her own friends and doesn't need mom's help. Hopefully she will pick the "right" ones but it sounds to me she is selective so it doesn't sound like that may ever be a problem. Be thankful she is selective in who she spends time with-mine would probably play with a child molestor if I wasn't there watching them and who they were playing with-lol! Not really something to joke about but just be thankful that she is choosy I guess.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

A have a good friend whose kid sometimes gets in trouble for saying he doesn't have any homework and then she gets a note from the teacher saying he didn't turn anything in all week.
It's happened a few times and she makes his punishment stick no matter what. Yeah, it really stinks when plans can't be followed through on because a kid didn't do what they were supposed to or did something they shouldn't. But, my friend also sees a certain beauty in that because if plans have to get cancelled, he's also stuck home with a mom who isn't very happy about it.
Yes, you're a single mom (so am I) which is EXACTLY why you have to follow through. You don't want her to think that it's not "convenient" for you to punish her. That's the last thing you want. My ex husband wouldn't discipline my step son because he said that since the boy didn't live with him, he didn't want to spend the whole time punishing him and he didn't want him liking his mother more. That kid was intolerable 90% of the time because he flat said and did whatever he wanted. No matter how bad it was. Lying was nothing.
Kids test boundaries. It's their job.
It's our job to make sure those boundaries are firm.
Kids really do need them.

Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

she didn't exactly lie to you , she asked if she could go meet a friend after the soccer game, you had one thing in mind, she had another, maybe next time be a little more clear on what YOU expect.

if you don't have much time with her as it is, i would tell her that you over reacted and it was YOUR fault for not fully understanding what she meant to do and enjoy your thanksgiving together. Yes she could've made sure that you knew it was this friend and not with the team but that's not her job to make sure you 100% understand what she's doing, that's mommy's job



answers from Atlanta on

IT's not good that she lied or that she disappeared, but I'm not sure what you were trying to accomplish. You wanted her to make friends on a soccer team that was ending - so girls she she wasn't going to be hanging around for at least 6months if ever? What's the point of that? The team was over - it's a little late for team building. A person doesn't need 100's of friends to be happy - I much prefer having 2-3 really close ones.



answers from San Francisco on

My 6 year old lies, gets caught, and then I make him choose the punishment (from my suggestions, of course). Dont back down because 5 years ago you got divorced. This is your issue. Dont make it her issue. Many children come from broken homes and still learn respect, honesty, and consequences just fne. Consistency is key. If you respond to her lying by grounding her (8 is young to be able to get our of your sight if she lies about where she is going) then stick to the punishment, and use it every time.



answers from San Francisco on

Dear J.:

It is hard being a single mom especially during holidays. And it is incredibly scary to believe your daughter is lying to you and that you must hurry and teach her to change her ways and start telling you the truth always. Remember that you are her mom and children have a bond with their moms that is hard to break even if either of you wanted to...and I doubt if she does any more than you .

Punishment is the least effective way to teach. It should never be the first response to bad behavior. It is ok to say that you overreacted and apologize and explain how you felt and ask about what was going on that she decided to go against your wishes. It is hard for 8 year olds to realize the long term results of avoiding being in the picture and saying good bye to their team mates. After the last game looking to the future is a more mature response.

Have a fun week and find out how she wants to celebrate your time together.If she spends more time with her dad than with you, it is an opportunity to make that time special. not by getting out of punishment, but by learning and having fun doing so. It is also a good time for you both to think about and list and make holiday routines that will bring you back to the many things you have to be grateful and thankful for...starting with each other!!

Blessings on you both!



answers from San Francisco on

Oh, mom. I too found myself in that position many times while raising my daughter alone. I let the things slide because I too wanted to strengthen our bond, etc. When she got older, I realized that all I did was succeed in letting her get over on me and I sincerely regretted it. I know you had plans, but you metted out the punishment and unfortunately you have to stick with it. Now, you said no TV, dessert or play dates. That seems to me to leave you plenty of room to do things with your daughter - cook, shop, play games, etc. It's just no play dates, not no fun with mom! You can stick to your plans with the exception of play dates and if you had planned play dates, simply change the plans to something the two of you do together without any other friends. Have a great week and enjoy your daughter!



answers from San Francisco on

I agree with the folks who've said that they make the consequences much worse for lying than for the original infraction. One additional thing I've done when my daughter has lied is to show a logical consequence of lying, which is a reduction of trust. When I caught her lying, I would be less trustful of what she said in the near future. I think that it has been very useful in having her internalize potential effects of lying.


answers from Austin on

Well you set up the consequences you really need to stick with them to prove you are serious..
I bet next time you will say. "I am so disappointed I need to think about what the consequences should be since you lied." Then think about what she needs and what you can handle.

The lying should be treated as a severe behavior. Without being able to trust her, she is showing she is not mature enough for many things. Some children do this to test their parents. They think their parents will not follow through anyway, so why do what they say in the first place..

Others do it for the attention. They want any type of attention because they feel it is the only way the parent will spend energy on them.

Other kids are just clueless and just do not think. These are the most dangerous, because they are not intelligent enough to have self preservation.

So no TV, No Desserts, and no play dates this week? Maybe for Thanksgiving day, you can have her make up for the dessert part, by being on her best behavior tomorrow, Wed, all day.

Then if Wed and Thursday she has 2 good days, you could bring back a bit of TV.. then the weekend,.. if she has continued to behave and follow directions, a play
date could be planned..

Do your child a favor and be strong. Follow through on what you say. Kids thrive on rules and like to know exactly what will happen when they screw up and make mistakes.. That is a gift we give them, it is called stability.

Parenting is not for the light hearted it takes hard work on our part. Our children are worth it.



answers from Detroit on

I'm confused. Did she lie or just disobey you by doing what she wanted? What was the lie?



answers from Portland on

I'd like to recommend the lovely little book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish. It coaches parents on how to make the child a working part of any solution, and because the kids get to help determine their future course, they are invested in making it work. Brilliant book, with many wonderful and effective techniques. I use it with my 4.5yo grandson all the time, and we have the most marvelous team interactions.

Your daughter is trying to meet some need by lying. That doesn't mean her strategy should be tolerated, but it would be helpful to help her figure out what the need is, and this may take some work and coaching from you. For example, "getting away from something boring" isn't an actual need, but "doing something that feels positive/nourishing" is. On the other hand, "making choices for myself" or "seeing a friend I've been missing" is a reasonable need for an 8yo under some circumstances, but lying in order to make that choice happen does not meet your needs as a parent.

How to Talk will help you sort these puzzles out, and help both of you get your legitimate needs met.

I'd like to say that from my perspective, with the little information you give, your expectation that your daughter work on friendships on her team at the end of the season doesn't sound like a legitimate need to me, for either of you. Do you make opportunities for your daughter to exercise her own autonomy when it comes to her own feelings? I grew up in a family where such choices were essentially forbidden, because my mom always "knew" what my sisters and I "should" want to do at every moment. I would occasionally lie outright to my mother when I couldn't take it any more, and a younger sister eventually became openly defiant. It might be worth thinking about; you don't want to put your daughter in the position of having to lie to you in order to meet her emotional needs.



answers from Denver on

OK, you want her to make friends, she didn't and so you yank play dates as the punishment? hmmm.

It's fine to go back and say "mommy made a mistake" and re-think your approach to the whole situation now that you've had a chance to reflect on it. I'm personally not sure why it's such a bad thing for her to have a BFF she really clicks with even though the BFF isn't on the soccer team.

I think this situation required more dialog and less "punishment". GL!



answers from Portland on

She disappeared to see an old friend when you were intent on her making new ones. I'd have a talk with her about why she did what she did, why she lied, and what you can both do to make things better for next time. Kids who shuttle between houses really have a tough time, and if she isn't given time to build the older friendships and visit with them, that's a hard thing for a kid. (I have some empathy on this, as I had divorced parents too.)

I'm not excusing her from what she did, and I can see you are rightfully upset for her leaving. I'd be very clear with her as to why it's so important for her to always be accountable in regard to where she is: her safety is at stake.

If you are looking for good bonding/discipline techniques, check out "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen...and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk" by Faber and Mazlish. The simple techniques in this book will help you maximize your time together and also keep the discipline less guilt-ridden. (That is, she's accountable for her end of it, too!)

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