Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lying Part 2

As children get older, they indeed may consciously lie.   The lie is often the SECOND misbehavior committed in an attempt to cover up the first one.
·         A 9 year old girl disrupts her class, resulting in a teacher’s note that Mom or Dad is to sign.  She forge’s Mom’s signature and insists to the suspicious teacher that it is Mom’s signature.  
·         An 11 year old boy, having trouble with homework, promises to ask for help tomorrow.  He comes home and says he did.  Doubtful, Mom emails the teacher.  She learns he neither asked for help nor made up some missing assignments
·         A 10 year old girl has a note from Mom giving her permission to ride a different bus after school.  She forgets to take it to the office and then tells the bus driver that they simply forgot to stamp it. (School authorities spend time and worry figuring out where she is).
In all three instances lying was secondary to an initial behavior problem – disrespecting teachers, forging signatures, not getting extra help, not taking the note to the office.  While the lying clearly must be punished, these families should ALSO address the initial misbehavior. 
Children learn best when they are required to take responsibility for their actions.  In these instances, we are talking about some fairly serious issues.  A big limitation on the child’s freedom will punish the misdeeds.  But to prevent them from occurring again, responsibility must be put solely on the child’s shoulders. 
Some suggestions:
The child is grounded to his room for 1 week for BOTH the first problem and the lying.  After the week:
·         The 9 year old continues to be grounded to her room until she brings home a statement of “good behavior” signed by her teacher every day for 10 days.  If on any day, no note comes home, the 10 days start over again.
·         The 11 year old is to bring home a weekly statement from his teacher “that all homework assignments were submitted this week in a neat and acceptable manner”.  Any week that the statement doesn’t come home, he is grounded to his room the following week (beginning with the weekend!)  (Helpful hint – stop micromanaging his homework assignments!!)
·         The 10 year old loses all electronics until she has 14 days with no checkmarks on a daily chart (checks are given for either being irresponsible or lying).  If she gets a check on day 4 or 6 or 13, the 14 days starts over again.
In all 3 instances, the child receives a significant restriction on their freedom (which is NOT too harsh – he is still fed, safe, secure and cared for).  But most importantly, he is given a huge opportunity to become responsible for himself.
Just as important, the parent stays calm and in charge.  While some brief discussion about lying is acceptable, your lecture is not what will influence better behavior in the future.  Put the monkey on your child’s shoulder and let him figure out how to make it go away – it will be a lesson he will not soon forget!

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