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9yo and sneaky/lying behavior

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have often talked about the importance of honesty with my 9yo son over the years.  We have had very little trouble with it until recently.  Just today, his friend came over with his iTouch.  It was awfully quiet in the playroom so I went in to find the friend sitting in a chair playing with toys and my two boys (9yo and 6yo) in the closet playing games on the iTouch.  My 9yo immediately started to tell me they were playing a game and they were robbers hiding.  I asked him to come with me and told him that he had one chance to tell me the truth and that I am aware of what is going on.  He immediately said he was sorry to which I said I just wanted to hear the truth.  He clearly felt badly but I'm concerned that he's engaging in this behavior to being with - not playing the game itself but being sneaky and trying to keep it from me.  Since his friend is here, I didn't have much of a conversation with him.  I only said that when these things happen, it breaks down my trust in him and that is not something that will work in our relationship.  I know he gets that but I think his draw to video games and technology is really strong, as it is with most of the boys his age that we know.  I do let my boys play some computer games (with time limits) and they have a Wii that they don't often use but are allowed to (again, with time limits).  But we don't have all the latest stuff and there's always more to want.  We do talk about the phenomenon of wanting more and how the games are made that way - to trigger that desire (by levels or newer versions, etc.).


Anyway, interested in your thoughts.  I'm wondering about a consequence that would make sense.  I'm wondering about a different way to talk about this with him.  I'm mostly concerned with the pattern of lying or keeping things from me.


Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

and the outright disrespect.  i think we're just having an "off" day but when snarky comments are made or he makes sassy remarks to his friends about something i've said, i just see red.  we don't run an authoritarian household and i'm all for modeling the behavior i'd like to see given back to me.  i think school has something to do with it...trying to be cool and fitting in.  i totally get it.  but i'm just not sure how to respond anymore.  ugh!!

post #3 of 10

mama i say this gently.


are you sure its him and not you?


i have a 9 year old myself and let me tell you it has been HARD letting go. 


to me it seems like you have to review your view on technology. you have to talk to your son and both of you have to come up with an agreement with screen time.


i have found in my experience that all that lying is usually over boundary lines - at least that's what i hear from other moms of dd's friends. 


every single time dd has been sneaky with me - its because she and i disagree with boundaries. we've sat and talked about it and she has given in some and so have i.


from what you write it seems that ur sons dont have Itouch.


it is new and they were DYING to play with it. i can totally relate to that. but they figured they had already used up their screen time and so had to hide in the closet to play with it. 


dd got a DSi two christmases ago. it now lives in her friend's house. but omg she goes crazy over an iTouch. as long as her friends or their parents give her permission to play with it, i dont hold back - even though she HAS used her online time for the day. 


its like say after dinner someone brings over delicious icecream. (actually in our house it would be tiramisu). we have all eaten dinner AND dessert. but i am not going to hold back the icecream because dd already had her dessert. i am going to allow her a small scoop. 


ETA woah i just saw ur new post. i wouldnt hold too much about the comment. its a phase. its part of the times. esp. if they are well mannered at other times (however know my own philosophy is - dd is given the freedom to express herself to me - even if its rude and mean). but those are few and far between. usually it means she is really tired and needs a nap or some downtime. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

i hear what you're saying.  i do think it's an issue with the technology.  i have a really hard time with it.  it's obsessive for so many boys we know and i think the nature of video games taps into an addictive cycle in the brain.  it's like drugs.  so i have my own fears about it and how it impedes development -- imaginative play, the pace of real life, interaction with the real world, exploring nature, etc.  We do all these things but i see how technology takes center stage for so many kids.  i feel like it's similar to healthy eating.  if my kids had their way, they'd eat burgerville as much as possible.  but it's a treat because it isn't healthy but it does taste good so we have it in moderation.  i guess i feel like i'm the adult and they are relying on me to guide them with what i know about the world and my experiences.  if he had his way, he'd have every game his friends have and many more gadgets.  but i cringe when thinking about our consumeristic society/culture and how every message is teaching kids to want more, more, more.  so this is a struggle for me.  i've always been surprised when i post about video games here how many parents here allow a lot more exposure than i would have expected.


but i hear what you're saying.  i'll have a chat with him and see if we can't figure out something that works better for both of us.

post #5 of 10
Originally Posted by swampangel View Post

 if he had his way, he'd have every game his friends have and many more gadgets.  but i cringe when thinking about our consumeristic society/culture and how every message is teaching kids to want more, more, more.  

mama i hear u loud and clear. but you will be so surprised when you trust your kids and let them have their way. my dd constantly surprises me. 


when you totally trust them, and they KNOW it (its hard let me tell you - you really have to let go)  you will be surprised. i have tested this many a time and each time whether its food or anything else - when the ball is in dd's court she is worse than me. 


because this is a new freedom he might go over the top. give him a chance. i have noticed with dd's class. all the kids who are involved in a myriad of activities - they rarely choose screen time.


or when they are home and bored they do screen time.


my dd is like that. she binges. its either reading or screen time. sometimes i have to tell her STOP READING and go play on the computer.  or Stop playing on the computer and go read or do something else. sometimes she gets into a rut during summer holidays and i have to help pull her out. 


however the first time she laid hands on an iTouch i have to give her the time to play and get used to it. 


i can relate to you of how hard this is. but please me aware you have to find 'your own' way. remember you too are being brainwashed about too much screen time. you too are watching others drown in screen time and thus making the assumption about ur sons. give them a feel for binge. if its not their thing they wont binge. if they have other stuff to do then after a couple of days they stop binging. 


remember this is the beginning of letting go. slowly but surely.  parenting is changing again. where once you spoke and guided now its time for silence on your part and experience on their part to discover. 

post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

to me it seems like you have to review your view on technology. you have to talk to your son and both of you have to come up with an agreement with screen time.


i have found in my experience that all that lying is usually over boundary lines - at least that's what i hear from other moms of dd's friends. 


This. New hw an sw comes out, and his friends will have it. If you have a current rule about screen time, maybe you can add a rule about "new stuff" time. If he wants some of the new things, then he can do some extra work to make the money to get them. My DS was not yet 6 when he asked for a DS for his birthday. We said no, and he was sad he did not get one. We thought he would drop it, but he asked again and again. We told him he could do some extra work to help pay for it, and he would get it for his 7th birthday. So he did some work (obviously not equivalent to the actual price of the DS3 and the 2 games we bought, but 6 yo chores). He got it for his 7th birthday. We also made clear rules ahead of time - it was only after homework and 20 min a day, 40 min on weekends. He played with it every day for months. He is now 7 1/2 and more often than not, he uses his 20minutes on the computer to play mine craft with friends, and his little sister uses her 20 min on the DS. My point is, the novelty wears off. You don't have to buy every thing, but if his friends have it, let him have some time with it, just set clear rules that you can both agree on. 


I disagree about the binge thing though. Some people binge on XYZ, whatever XYZ is, and never do XYZ again. Some people can't though. Some people can drink one or two drinks, others can't stop. Some people can play computer games for 20 minutes, others can not. I am in the I can not play computer games group. I stopped playing computer games in 1997 because I realized I could not play "just a little bit more". Better for me to just never touch the games, then find out I am addicted to something again and waste my life away. So I am concerned about my kids possibly having the same issue. So I limit to 20 min, which is less than most of the other kids in his class get. Even with only 20 min, my DS talks about mine craft ALL THE TIME. UGH.

post #7 of 10
Coupled with the age, this sounds like the kind of dishonesty where he doesn't think you'd consider a "yes" so he doesn't even bother having a discussion with you to ask. Rather than concentrating on the behavior (lying) you could look past it to the reasons behind the behavior (him not wanting to ask for permission) and see if you can open up communication. If he had said, "My friend brought his iPod Touch. Can we play on it for half an hour?" would you have considered that, or immediately said no? I'd consider being open minded about the specific boundaries and being a bit fluid about how much time he can spend, and then letting him know that you want him to let you know what they're doing and if he uses technology for a short time, so long as you know about it and only uses it as long as you agree to and then they move onto another game, he might not feel a need to lie.

He's at an age where he is going to want to look cool to a friend who comes over so asking you and have you say no will make him feel like a baby in front of his friend, but asking and having you say, "Sure, go ahead and use it for half an hour, but it's a beautiful day so stick to just half an hour and then go outside and have some fun" (or something like that) will not embarrass him in front of his friend.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

thank you!  excellent points.  i agree entirely, mamazee.  i think it was an issue of his thinking i would automatically say 'no'.  but i often don't say "no" automatically.  he does no that i'm not a fan of video games.  i do have a lot of judgment about it and i wish i hadn't been so transparent to him about it because he feels badly about liking something that i so clearly do not.  but i've tried to be more flexible.  we have a Wii.  he wants mine craft and i'm probably going to let him get it.  i do see that it's more about what motivated the lying rather than the lying itself.  


Allison, I agree with you about the binging.  i have seen my ds play for hours and never tire.  i think some folks moderate on their own more naturally.  my dh is like that.  but i am not.  anyway, we'll have to find our way.  i like time limits.  it feels like an agreement i can handle.  i just feel like i'm not parenting if i let my kids zone out all day on video games and junk food.  


i try to look at it the same way i do with nutrition.  corporations market to children....children need their parents to help guide them where that is concerned.  i think it's just a really tricky business.  in an ideal world, i would probably live in an intentional community where everyone had shared values.  but such is not our life.  we go to public school, we live in the city and love our life.  but there are these products constantly dangling in front of my kids and i want to provide them with some capacity to be critical about all of it.  but i agree that experience will teach them, not my lectures.


thanks for the input.  we'll just keep muddling along doing the best we can with all of these external marketing forces.  =)

post #9 of 10

deadmikedad, shouldn't you be looking for the Jerry Springer show?

post #10 of 10

DeadMikeDad - your post is rude and inflammatory. I have removed it and am issuing you a warning. Namecalling is not acceptable behavior here at Mothering. 

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