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HELP!!!! Out of control lying
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HELP!!!! Out of control lying

I've posted in this forum before about my husband's 11 year old son having some issues with lying.  This seems to be a some-what common problem for kids with ADD.  However, I am completely distraught at this point...I can't even really think of what to say.  His lying is not improving- in fact it is getting worse.  They are becoming more elaborate and manipulative.  We are making an appointment with the school counselor tomorrow.  He never lies to hurt others or to make himself look cool- he only lies to try to get out of trouble, which 90% of the time is about homework.  He constantly blames others and does not understand how to take responsibility for his actions.  When confronted with a lie he immediately drops his head and begins to cry or goes completely silent and refuses to speak.  I have always assumed this seemingly remorseful behavior meant he actually felt bad about being dishonest.  However a few days ago he admitted that he doesn't feel bad about lying, he feels bad because he gets caught.  I hate to say this but he can be extremely manipulative and has a "poor me" attitude when faced with the consequences of his lies.  He overheard a conversation about a child in the newspaper who was not able to distinguish right from wrong and could not help his compulsive lying.  He overheard his father and I talking in a sympathetic manner about the child's problems.  Then today he tried to tell me that he cannot help lying to try to get me to feel sorry for him!!!  I know that he knows right from wrong, I just cannot figure out why he doesn't act on it.  I am worried sick over this.  I don't know what else to do!!  Could I be in denial???...is it possible that he really doesn't know right from wrong and I am just afraid to accept it?
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Avatar_f_tn
You mention that the lying has to do with schoolwork/ homework. This is the most frustrating time for a child with ADD---- they can't get through assignments without a lot of effort/ pain/ frustration. ADD children often feel that they are "stupid" and they have very low self esteem about their issues-- especially schoolwork. Lying is a response to low self esteem-- it is a coping mechanism that allows the liar to avoid feelings of worthlessness. This is why it is prevalent amongst ADD children.

Counseling for your step son could help -- he needs to feel enough self-worth so that he stops feeling the need to lie.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the response.  I think I have read one of your posts about your 9-year old son and his difficulties with homework dishonesty as well.  You mention perhaps self-esteem being an underlying cause.  I worry about this too, but not in the traditional way.  Its difficult to explain but recently he has shown that he has a very unrealistic view of himself  as well as an unrealistic idea of what others think of him.  Lately we have been trying to emphasize the importance a person's reputation plays in their life.  He seemed surprised that we would bring this up, stating that he thinks others view him as honest, reliable, and trustworthy.  I am thrilled to hear that he thinks so highly of himself, but at the same time I am worried b.c it is clear that he has no concept of the real consequences of his actions.  He has no idea that b/c of his history with lying, teachers and other adults do not always view him as trustworthy or reliable.  I'm getting off track here, but my point is that he seems to think quite highly of himself, so I question if that is what is causing his lying.  He also knows that he is very intelligent- he rarely has difficulties with mastering school work.  Its the turning it in that he struggles with.  I'm no expert but I've done my fair share of reading on ADD, and I know he has difficulty with impulse control.  But some of his lies lately are not impulsive at all but are elaborate, involve hiding things, are premeditated, and sometimes boisterous.  He proudly invited me yesterday to check his backpack to see that he turned in all his homework.  I knew something was fishy, and sure enough, we later discovered that he did not turn in any homework but instead hid it under his bed.  I find myself speechless and just thinking to myself "WHY?  Why did he just go through all that trouble to lie to me??"  At this point- after lectures, punishments, you name it- he is getting worse and worse, and I just don't know what to do.  Thanks again for the response, I will keep it in mind as our family tries to sort this out.  I was hoping to get some additional advice as well.  When he is sent to his room for punishment, does anyone have any suggestions on how to help him think about what he has done wrong, rather than sitting in there and thinking "poor me".  I know this a big part of our problem- he never thinks about his mistakes after they happen, he only thinks about feeling sorry for himself.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Sandman,
You must have posted just as I was typing my response to LRM.  Thank you for the reminder!  I could not remember who I had discussed this with earlier.  I will go look back at that post now.  Thanks!

LRM,
It looks like I got you mixed up with ADDmom...I apologize for that.  Thanks again, I appreciate your input concerning my son.
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter and her husband separated 3 years ago.  Since then we have been taking care of her (33 yr old) and her two boy's (now 6/8). The oldest has always told quite a few lies and we thought they would decrease, but only to find they are getting worse.  We are aware that her ex was a compulsive liar, but we've found her in a lot of liars and have kicked her out of the house.  Until she's able to support her and the boy's, they are living with us.  We have spent over $120,000 in the past 3 years supporting her and the boys.  I got her a job, that went to hell, she went to school that's kind of starting to pay off. The father is rarely in the picture unless he wants to mess with the boy's head.

Anyway, the 8 year old refuses to study.  I work with him 4 hours a night trying to get him up to speed with rest of his class.  One week we did 5 book reports and to find that he never turned them in, but told me several times he had. Now the quarter has ended and he'll not get credit for it.  This is just a small sample of what I'm dealing with.  I don't mind him forgetting to give the reports to the teacher, but lying to me about having given them.  We worked so hard, that I thought it would help his self esteem, to feel better, but I can't spend all my time on him if he's not going to try at all.  The 6 year old wants to learn and enjoys it.  The 6 year old is now reading at the same level the 8 year old.  The 8 year old (the problem child) say's lying is "just my thing" or "I like telling stories."  How can I work with this? I don't have the authorization for medical testing. I don't want to be upset with him, I've changed their diet (Feingold diet).  I'm at my wits end.  I've sat with him and explained the down side to telling stories.  He seems to understand but still choses to tell them.  I'm going to have a heart attack if I keep having to deal with this.  I want to help.,
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Avatar_f_tn
The behaviour you give most attention to is the one that will grow!!

React in a neutral way, no facial expression, no anger, no big reaction

Give a brief punishment "now you lied so put it back or sit on your bed for five munutes"  then forget about it.  Completely no going over no blame.

These kids love the big reaction, it is like a drug to them.

Give loads of positive attention.
Try this for 2 weeks + remember it is a phase, if you put it under the microscope it will get bigger!!

Do not encourage it by your reaction, you must understand this.
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Avatar_f_tn
did you ever notice when you catch them being 'bad' a quick smirk or smile will come across their face just briefly before they get upset.

They are delighted !!

'Intense focus and emotion, they love it.

Stay completely calm + neutral in emotion.
They should never know that Mommy and Daddy talk about their behaviour.  This really keeps it going and their behaviour can become central to the whole family dynamic.

They almost feel they have to behave badly.

Be careful how you approach it.
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