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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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Our 13 year old son lies everyday about homework, test, grades,

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Our 13 year old son lies everyday about homework, test, grades, etc. He is a smart boy. We have taken away all of his things such as tv games phones, and he cant go anywhere. This happens every year. We are scared he is lieing about other things and we just dont know about it. We are scared he will lie about other things as he gets older.. We need help, it has gotten out of hand.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using! I hope you don't mind that I've switched us to Q&A mode -- I'm having difficulty with "chat" today (answers aren't posting).

To get things under control immediately, I'd suggest a meeting with your son's teacher. He / she can put a homework tracker in place so that you'll have detailed reports about what is due and when. The teacher initials this at the end of each subject to show he's accurately writing down the assigned work. You can reinforce a completed homework tracker (filled out, initials by all teachers) by rewarding him at home. Talk with him about what he'd like to earn -- a family weekend activity? favorite dinner? control of the TV remote for an evening? His teachers may also be open to increased communication with you via e-mail. See if they have web pages that outline upcoming large assignments and tests (many teachers do this).

While removing privileges is generally a great disciplinary tactic, it usually is much more successful when it's tied to things he can earn through the behaviors you want. Are lying and work completion an issue at school as well?? The school counselor and/or school psychologist may be able to help you with creating a behavior plan to help curb this unwanted behavior. There may even be groups already in place at his school that may be an appropriate fit for him (e.g., after school homework club, social skills counseling, etc.).

If you're creating a behavior plan at home, try to stick with 1-2 behaviors you WANT (vs. behaviors you don't want). For example, you might say his goal is "I will work on homework every day for 30 minutes." Ask him for what he needs to create a work space. Maybe it's a clean desk or table, good lighting, soft music... It's up to him. Interestingly, a recent study showed students performed better on a test when they studied the subject in multiple work spaces (vs. a particular desk or table every day). Encourage him to take whatever he needs to whatever area he feels he can focus. Set a timer so he knows when the time is up. He's free to work beyond this time, of course, but for now you just want him to work up until the timer goes off. Begin with short time periods so he can experience some success. The two of you will need to decide what will constitute a reward (e.g., small reward for each day of work and then large reward for 4/5 days?) See what he feels is an attainable goal. Again, you're wanting him to experience success with this plan early on. You can raise the bar once he's demonstrated a willingness to work toward this goal. The plan should also include what will happen if he does NOT demonstrating the wanted behavior. You can continue to remove privileges / belongings, but decide whether you're going to a) donate them, b) sell them, or c) put them away long-term only to be earned back by meeting a specific goal. Consider what might have the most impact.

For other strategies and a basic parenting theory worth looking into, I'd suggest Love and Logic. I recommend it frequently to parents and teachers I work with. The website ( has a lot of free videos and articles for parents. I wish you the best of luck!
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