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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 233
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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My 12 yr old son has become an elaborate liar. He lies about

Resolved Question:

My 12 yr old son has become an elaborate liar. He lies about everything as a "path of least resistance" it seems, with no concept of the greater implications of his actions. He is failing 2 classes in school and refusing to turn in the missing work in spite of loss of privileges, ISS, and follow up with teachers. Every time he is caught, he seems remorseful, but gives no insight into his feelings, or motivations. He just cries... sobs really, until he cannot even speak. What do I do? I am so lost.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 2 years ago.

Heidi LPC :

Hi there! I am hoping to be of some help here today! So, your son is definitely struggling with his organizational skills...


 

Customer:

Hi! Yes, he is really having some struggles

Customer:

His dad and I are really at a loss at this point.

Heidi LPC :

What sometimes works in this type of case is the age old principle of "what we give the most attention to is what we get more of"... so a reward of some type for the behaviors that you want to see will be useful. Have you already tried this?


 

Customer:

we have tried... for instance, He brought his grades up in some other classes, and his dad took him to get some LED lights for his electronics kit.

Heidi LPC :

Sometimes, as parents, we focus on the punishment for the negative consequences more than the rewards...


 

Customer:

Bought him a soldering gun too.

Customer:

it seems like he is expecting us to take him at his word and reward him, but we cannot trust his word, you know?

Customer:

and then we find layer upon layer of lies about really dumb things

Customer:

there is an extra layer here, though, that may lend to his issues.

Heidi LPC :

I have found that writing up a system together helps before the assignments come in. For instance, to say that all assignments turned in = a night with friends over. Any missing assignments = no sleepovers. It is quite common with boys this age that they have trouble organizing themselves and being able to follow through... they need extra help with it... both at school and at home.


 

Customer:

I moved with my husband to GA last year. He opted to stay in MT with his Dad for school.

Customer:

Ok, that is a good idea.

Heidi LPC :

So he is experiencing a huge loss of security right now...


 

Customer:

we have been tossing aroun the idea of having him come here for school. Yeah. It is really big, an his Dad has never really been responsible for school work and stuff with the boys. That was usually my role.

Heidi LPC :

That could explain a lot. He might be acting out in order to express his anger at you leaving.

Heidi LPC :
Customer:

And the schedule is different. He comes home by himself and sometimes he is picked up by his grandmother until his dad is off work.

Customer:

before I left I was home after school and we talked through his day, and worked on homework together.

Heidi LPC :

Sure... and without someone there to get him organized and started, he will just kind of rebel...


 

Customer:

yeah. That is kind of what I am thinking. I forced his Dad to change his work hours, but there is still too much of a gap and I think my son still needs more attention and assistance than he is getting.

Heidi LPC :

Dad is going to have to step in in a positive fashion. Punishment doesn't work. Natural consequences do. Telling him that it is your responsibility to be sure that he doesn't fail, and so you are now going to be looking for behavior to reward. Discipline must be used to teach, but what he needs is extra help with staying organized and on top of the work, but more so, extra attention when he does what you are looking for.


 

Customer:

ok.

Customer:

Do you think that it would be beneficial to him to get him in with a counselor to deal with some of the emotional issues?

Heidi LPC :

Although, this year is about over... so maybe a plan put in place for next school year BEFORE it starts will be the way to start off on a positive foot! It is always helpful for children to have extra support when dealing with divorce, especially a long distance situation like this... if he is willing, it would certainly be a proactive step to help him know that he isn't alone, and that his feelings of anger are justified. It can give him acceptable ways to express it, rather than taking it out on his grades! ;-)


 

Customer:

ok. I think that bringing him here for the next school year will be a good thing for him. I am going to have him in tutoring through the summer too. Thank you for your time. :)

Heidi LPC :

It was my pleasure! Think positive--- you will all make it through this time and will be better for it!! :-)


 

Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 233
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor
Heidi LPC and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you

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