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Lying, Cheating and Stealing

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Do any of you have a DC who has cheated on a test? DS (10) told STBX that he is no good in school and has been cheating ot tests bc he is so bad at everything (quote)
We have always had trouble with him and tantrums , even at 10, and he has just transferred from a Waldorf school to a more traditional school.

He also lies about everything, and of course doesn't ever admit it, even when its obvious that he's been caught.

Now that school is over i don't know what to do...since he has such low self esteem i don't want him held back again in the 3rd grade, i also don't want him to stink next year at school work....he is so hard to teach bc of his frustration tolerance, hence i'm not homeschooling him as was planned.

anyone have any gentle ideas ? stbx and i disagree on the direction to take and i'm ready to act on something .

post #2 of 10
How are his basic academic skills? Transitioning from Waldorf to mainstream ed may have left him with some gaps. What does his teacher say?

It must be awful to have to go somewhere and fail every day, and it sounds like he's very clear on what's going on and how he feels about it. I would thank him for telling you how he felt and try to find a solution, and reassure him that next time he can just talk to you, not cheat, and you'll help him find an honest way to succeed. If there's another educational placement where he could be more successful, I'd go with that. If not, perhaps some tutoring over the summer - a good tutor can make academic remediation, if not exactly fun, certainly tolerable. He should be assessed first, to find out for sure what his issues are - you can have the school do it formally, or the larger tutoring companies do it as part of their intake, or you may find someone in your community - to figure out why he's having thse problems...

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dar,

We've gone through much of what you suggest, talking to his teacher who thinks he is doing fine , of course she never knew that he had been cheating. I do appreciate that he told STBX about it. He is now blossoming as a reader and i think it is helping his self esteem, that is something he never learned at the Waldorf school.

He is part of a title one program at the school which is a small , private school , i think it is helping him. I guess it is a good idea to just gently talk to him about it, he gets so angry and goes into rages and when that happens there is no way to access him until the fit is over. He thinks something is wrong with him bc we have been so concerned about all of the behavoir. I should mention that he steals things from me and when confronted with the fact, he denies it...the lying.

This child seems desperate for something and i don't know what we have done wrong...forgive me for getting so emotional but when we talk about tutoring he goes into one of his fits and i just don't know what to do ~~~K
post #4 of 10
I just recently read "The schools our children deserve" by alfie kohn and you should really read it. its not just about schooling, but the way it affects children and he even talks about how the over-focussing on rewards can lead kids to feel like they have to cheat.

as for lying about everything else....do you use punishment with him? this is a natural incentive to lie (i should know - i spent most of my teens lying about where i was, who i was with, etc)...

what is stbx?
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
STBX= soon to be ex.

Weallow DS 1/2 hr of tv a day so he can watch his favorite show, we sometimes take it away from him so i guess that is punishment.

It's hard to know how to handle DC bc he will steal for seemingly no reason and lie about it...its not that he wants attention, maybe he steals my stuff (jewelry, etc) to feel closer to me since his little sis was born who was ~very~ attatched...gotta go real quick
post #6 of 10
how is he reacting to the separation with the STBX?
this could be a major factor in his stress, as well as the new baby.

i just finished reading Hold on to your kids by Gordon Neufeld and highly recommend it. (not sure if it is already on amazon.com, but it is on amazon.ca)

he talks about ways of attaching, and attachment disruption in older children. and he would say that your circumstances fit into his theory.

he talks about socialisation and attachment to peers rather than to parents, and this kind of thing can happen when there is stress in the family.

if you had considered homeschooling in the past, have you thought about unschooling as suiting your ds better than traditional instruction? especially coming out of Waldorf.

sorry, not much advice. just HUGS.
post #7 of 10
This many not help at all but I thought I would throw it out there. How do you react when he throws a "fit"? Do you tell him he is "throwing a fit"? When I get upset over what DH thinks is nothing, he tells me to stop throwing a fit, this sends me into almost a rage because I feel belittled and like he is treating me like a 3 year old. I am not saying you are doing this, but if you use the term "throwing a fit" to him or where he can hear it, it may esculate the incident.

I also agree with what the pps have said, they have some great suggestions.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Great suggestion Annabanana, i had thought of the prospect of unschooling but am going through so much personally right now that i can't even fathom it right now (good thing it's summer) I think i will check out both your and Dars book suggestions, i need help .

When he is throwing a fit, i don't tell him that, it is just a way to describe what is going on...it is like he locks onto one aspect of a situation and will not think of anything else and works himself (and us) up into a froth.

There is a family history of bipolar disorder in our family as well as suicides and it scares me . DS has mentioned "hating" himself and that life is not worth living" and other things about wanting to die. He even told me that he was mad at me for giving birth to him ...those were his exact words too

We have him in with a play centered therapist who he seems to have some sort of rapport with, don't know how to gently discipline him without setting him off or just letting him go

post #9 of 10
Wow, K. Sounds like your son has a whole lot of emotional stuff on his plate for such a young child.

Professional help is good. Definitely sounds like he could have some depression or something going on. I suggest you just read every good GD book you can get your hands on, and try different ideas until you come across something that works for you.
post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by BelovedK
There is a family history of bipolar disorder in our family as well as suicides and it scares me . DS has mentioned "hating" himself and that life is not worth living" and other things about wanting to die. He even told me that he was mad at me for giving birth to him ...those were his exact words too
Ok, this sets off a HUGE red flag for me. If your son is open to it, or even if he isn't, I would suggest speaking with a doctor about meds. But I would definitly make sure to find someone who isn't going to medicate, just to medicate. Maybe someone trusted by the therepist he is already seeing. If he truely does have a medical problem then this whole situation makes a lot of sence.

Depression is extremely common during and after puberty. That is when your hormones and your body chemistry start to change. If he is saying he hates himself and that he wants to die, those aren't just empty threats, he actually FEELS that way. He isn't trying to hurt you or trying to win the argument, he really feels so sad in side that he does wish he was never born. This doesn't mean he is suicidal, because most people who kill themselves never say a word, so it is actually a good thing that he is saying this to you. It probably means he wants to die, but he doesn't want to take his own life (it may not make a lot of sence, but I swear it does make sence to the person feeling/saying it).

Ok, now my personal experience. I always remember being depressed, I didn't know what it was and I just assumed everyone felt like that. I would pretend to be happy at school or family functions, but when I got home I would become a different person. Then puberty hit. I use to tell my mom that I wish I was dead and that she doesn't want me, maybe I should go live with my dad, I wish I was never born etc. My mom saw this as normal teenage rebelion and did nothing. She mentioned once about taking me to counceling and I was secretly thrilled, but it never happened. Fast forward 6 years later with no treatment, I started self injury. It is very common for teens who are depressed to turn to drugs, alcohol, drinking, smoking, self injury, sex and other self destructive behaviors to deal with how sad they are feeling inside.

You may also want to either speak with his therepist and tell her the things he is saying, or try and have a joint session with your DS. He may only be telling her things like "My mom is so terrible....." or "Today my dad made me do ......" he may not be telling her that he wants to die and wishes he was never born. Or if you think your DS will listen to you try sitting down and talking to him, in a calm, relaxed, neutral environment. Maybe a picnic at the park? Just the two of you. Ask him if he really feels like he wants to die and wishes he was never born. Hopefully he will be open and honest with you, this will make things a lot easier. If he tells you how he is feeling inside you can access whether he needs more intensive therepy or not. If he tells you "Mom, I don't know whats wrong with me. I am so sad I wish I was dead and didn't have to go through this everyday." or something even remotly similiar, then he definitly needs help. If he says (and you truely believe him) "I get upset when we argue and I say things I don't mean to try and hurt you." then he may not be that depressed, or he may be trying to hide it, it's so hard to tell.

You can also take this opportunity to talk to him about going to a meds doctor or another therepist who can help him deal with what he is feeling inside. If he really feels these things then this will probably be a releif that he might actually get help, and feel like life is worth living.

Lastly, since bipolar runs in your family you will want to mention that to any therepist. Bipolar is a whole nother can of worms when compared to depression. Bipolar needs meds, period. There is no coundeling that will fix it. It is a chemical imbalace that causes high highs, and low lows, though I am sure you already know.

I hope I am not out in left field on this but when I read that paragraph I felt like it was me 10 years ago. If your son really feels these things it is good that he is telling you and that you are finding out early and doing something about. Because the longer depression is left untreated the worse it will get. I truely feel had my mom taken me to therepy when I was 12 it never would have led to self injury and my depression would have never esculated as much as it did. Hope I was of some help.
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