My 8 year old son has started lying excessively. He will lie about everything, from not brushing his teeth to whether or not he did his homework. I know that that type of lying is age appropriate, but things are getting worse. Yesterday a child who attended my sons school was accidentally killed when he was run over by a school bus. This happened off school grounds in a location miles away from my son..so he would have no knowledge of it other than what he was told. Today, the school counselors talked to the children,offered counseling if they needed it as normally happens when things like this occur. After the assembly, my son told a staff member that he SAW the accident happen, that he was on the bus with child, and that the child dropped something in front of the bus. My son said that he told the little boy from the bus window that he dropped something and the little boy walked back in front of the bus...and was hit by the bus and killed. Needless to say, the teachers scrambled, getting the grief counselors involved with my son and only found out after getting everything going that my son was no where around that area...but was in the afterschool program on the school grounds. The school called my sons mother and advised that we needed to call a intervention service and get our child some help, that this type of lying was not normal.
Obviously, we are upset, worried, mad etc...at and about our son. We have no idea why he would tell such an elaborate story...to get attention I know, but WHY such a story. Our son is a very "whiney" child, he is very spoiled (which is our fault) and he pretty much gets everything he wants. His mother and I are divorced and each of us are in new relationships. Our son splits his time with us equally and does not seem to have problems in that area. I am very concerned about the lying, and especailly about this one....can you assist. What do we do about this lie? We are obviously going to get the child into counseling, but how do we address this?
Thanks for your help.
I want to urge you to question your assumption that your son is engaging in this behavior in order to gain attention. Seldom do children behave with this motivation, regardless of how frequently we might assume they do. At the core of your son's story is perception that he is responsible for this boy's death. Now, such a perception can be indicative of a child who displays inappropriate and excessive guilt, though this does not seem typical of your son. Such a perception can also be indicative of a sense of self-importance or self-centeredness, more typical of young (i.e., preschool) children who believe that everything around them is somehow connected with them. This cold be the case with your son; he does sound emotionally immature. Another possibility is that he is reassuring himself by constructing a story that answers the question about how this could have occurred. Many children cannot accept - i.e., they are too uncomfortable with - uncertainty, so they construct an explanation and this offers them some degree of 'control' over unexplainable and worrisome happenings. There are other possibilities as well. You are doing a good thing by arranging for some professional help. Re: the particular story surrounding the little boy's death, talk with your son about how the events did not unfold the way he said, and that you know he had no connection to the events. Ask him about the story he told; see what he tells you, but be careful about taking whatever he says at face value.
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