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How do you handle a 14 y/o that lies at the drop of a hat,

with a straight face? We...
How do you handle a 14 y/o that lies at the drop of a hat, with a straight face? We have told him repeatedly that the consequences for lying is more severe than telling the truth. This is a child that was in 19 foster homes by 10 years old. We adopted him at 11 years old. He is obedient, for the most part, respectful...intelligent, reads a lot, but the petty lying is taking its toll on trusting him...it is very sad because he has the potential of being a great person. Please help, we love this kid and want to see him become successful. Could this lying be a childhood phase?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
10/24/2013
RealSupport
RealSupport, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this very concerning and frustrating situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

No doubt that having gone through 19 foster homes could not have helped him in his development and growth,but mostly deeply affected and distorted different aspects withing him, from self-concept, to the way he perceives other people, reality, copes and express feelings. Most time serious neglect and abuse, trauma and violence are behind very dysfunctional behaviors lie this apparently compulsive lying your son seems to present.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Could you please tell me how have you coping with this serious lying issue for all this long?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I can tell you with certainty that this is not normal nor part of any developmental phase, but clearly shows a distortion in the way he addresses reality. If his dishonesty is not mostly directed at causing pain to other people, but is about anything, then I'd say that this could be an anxiety disorder with a compulsive nature.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does he fully acknowledge his dishonest behavior, shows remorse about it, apologizes and shows efforts to change?

Customer:

It is not to hurt others, but appears to be an effort to keep out of trouble

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thank you for replying. Then it is always or most times about avoiding problems because of his mistakes, right?

Customer:

He went in his sisters room and took her DS game to school with out asking. She missed it and he said that he had not taken it, helped us look for it in the car and surrounding areas, until I decided to look in his book bag and there it was.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, then how he reacted and what did you do about it?

Customer:

Just recently, we decided to put the two children in private school, with smaller class rooms and hopefully give them a better opportunity at success. The school supplied I-Pads that we have to pay for....and we were hesitant because we want to curb their access to inappropriate internet sites

Customer:

tonight I told him if he lies, I will take away the I-Pad and he will be the only one in the class room with paper and pencil

Customer:

with in 2 minutes I discovered he had been on U Tube and I asked about it and he said "the teacher told them to go on U-Tube and listen to music

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

For how long has he been lying this way, if he has been living with you since he was 11?

Customer:

Yes he has

Customer:

I knew that was a lie, the teacher would not tell those children to go on U-Tube

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Which were the consequences for these last two incidents you describe here that you implemented?

Customer:

when I told him I was going to the school in the morning and ask the teacher, he admitted he lied

Customer:

Well, that is what brings me to you

Customer:

I threatened him to take away the i pad and he would work with pencil and paper

Customer:

and within 2 minutes he had lied on the teacher

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

if he has been doing this fr all these years, then it is obvious to me that he has developed a serious dishonesty problem and that there would be no way to resolve it unless you consistently set and keep healthy boundaries and limits, rules and consequences. For example you just said you told him he was not going to have the Ipad if he happened to lye again then now you would have to enforce that consequence.

Customer:

He is so sweet, and a big heart and apologizes and says he will never do it again and we take away a game or something he enjoys and the punishment does not seem to phase him

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

But if you have been enforcing these consequences and these is an old serious issue how he happens to get access to further games, devices, internet access and more?

Customer:

It breaks my heart to think of him being the oldest kid in his classroom and the others have their i-pad...I had hoped so much that the threat would work...I never dreamed he would force my hand.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said he is a very smart child, and I do believe that, and you have also described these other personality features, that clearly shows he uses his intelligence and charm to manipulate people, and he would not get any better but worse unless he happens to get assertive and consistent parenting, from good discipline to healthy affection, without any exception.

Customer:

well, we have taken away "things" for a certain period and given them back when we thought he had learned a lesson.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, then I think that's the core issue here, since afterwards he always get these not essential material things-benefits, he knows sooner or later he would get his way and what he wants no matter how much he keeps being dishonest,, then he gets even more manipulative and does not develop sense of integrity, self respect and respect towards others, responsibility, sensitivity for other people's feelings and many other core skills every person should learn at these stages in life.

Customer:

I will take away the I-Pad as I said i would...but his classes will no doubt suffer since they are mainly on the Apps. How long should I keep it. We so much want the best for these children (both are adopted)

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Children's personality gets literally shaped by parents and care takers parenting, and when it is not really assertive, it would distort them, and if they already develop dysfunctional ways of thinking, feeling, coping and sharing, they would get worse with time not better, unless they receive consistent wise and effective parenting

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sadly there is no ideal solution here not presenting challenges and cons, but I can tell you with certainty that setting rules and consequences but not consistently enforcing them does not help a person to make necessary changes but enables further dysfunctions and in this case would go beyond a behavioral problem becoming a personality issue, very serious unless this child gets the parenting necessary for his healthy development, grow and rehabilitation from these problems.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please look for professional psychotherapeutic support for you and your spouse in order to work on developing and improving healthy parenting and coping skills, and to eradicate any form of codependency undermining your relationships and ability to play a healthy parental role, and to support each other as a team in order to support your child as much as he needs for all you to enjoy the harmony , health and well-being that you deserve. taking a parenting class would also help and joining a support group for codependency would be very helpful too.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thank you for your trust, please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

RealSupport
RealSupport, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified
RealSupport and 87 other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Rafael M.T.Therapist says:
7:57 AM
Children's personality gets literally shaped by parents and care takers parenting, and when it is not really assertive, it would distort them, and if they already develop dysfunctional ways of thinking, feeling, coping and sharing, they would get worse with time not better, unless they receive consistent wise and effective parenting
7:59 AM Customerhas stepped out of this chat.
Rafael M.T.Therapist says:
8:01 AM
Sadly there is no ideal solution here not presenting challenges and cons, but I can tell you with certainty that setting rules and consequences but not consistently enforcing them does not help a person to make necessary changes but enables further dysfunctions and in this case would go beyond a behavioral problem becoming a personality issue, very serious unless this child gets the parenting necessary for his healthy development, grow and rehabilitation from these problems.
8:05 AM
Please look for professional psychotherapeutic support for you and your spouse in order to work on developing and improving healthy parenting and coping skills, and to eradicate any form of codependency undermining your relationships and ability to play a healthy parental role, and to support each other as a team in order to support your child as much as he needs for all you to enjoy the harmony , health and well-being that you deserve. taking a parenting class would also help and joining a support group for codependency would be very helpful too.
8:05 AM
Thank you for your trust, please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

How long should we keep this ipad? It is essential to the classroom work, since they use the apps for daily, routine work? We will accept exactly what you said for us to do, ecause we do sincerely XXXXX XXXXX best for these children.

If the Ipad is essential for classroom work, then it is better for him to use it as necessary only. Every consequence should be healthy and proactive. Thus never undermine something he really needs like complying with school work. In this case I would suggest limiting his use of the Ipad to school work only, and to take away something unnecessary or not to allow any unnecessary use of something useful, like the internet, computer or games but for a good period of time. If he does keep the same behavior you would increase the consequence. Please consider my previous suggestions around getting necessary professional support and for joining a support group. Thanks.
RealSupport
RealSupport, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified
RealSupport and 87 other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
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RealSupport
RealSupport
RealSupport, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
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