little lies.... "he hit me", etc. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-09-2013, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
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How do you acknowledge the statement, but not indulge the attention-seeking?


DS, 3+ has an articulation disorder so he's behind in speaking. He doesn't Babble away about his day. He'll answer questions, but they're not exactly true... Did you play with trains today? Yes. Did you ride an elephant? Yes.



He doesn't detail his emotions or tell you what's going on in his day to day because he doesn't have that many words.


BUT in speech class and at home, we've been working with a lot of emotions.

Tonight going down, I told him "I'm so proud of you. You make mommy happy"...kisses kisses.

And he made a grumpy face...

"I mad".

You're mad? "I no like daddy".

Why are are you mad at daddy? "put me in time-out"


This went on and on. He doesn't like grandpa. Grandpa hit him. Where? At grandpa's house. When? In Time-out.


It's the first time we've ever had ANY conversation like this, so while others dealing with an almost 3.5yr old.... um, this is completely new for me.

#1 - he doesn't live with his father, and it's been 4days since he was at his house. Maybe his Dad did put him in time-out FOUR days ago, but he's not mad about that today. He's doing something with emotions and testing me.

#2 - Grandpa did not hit him. His grandpa is the coolest man ever, WAY cooler than his father. Truthfully. And again, hasn't seen Grandpa in four days.


BUT my question is... what do you do when this is said outloud?


I Want him to tell me if someone hits him! Of course!

Last thing I want to do is shrug off.... "Oh, Grandpa didn't hit you..."

And I didn't say that. I didn't ignore it... I didn't know what to do, so I asked 10 questions and about #7 he got bored and stopped answering.


I get that kids lie and are testing boundaries. "he hit me"... let's see how mom reacts.

And that we're just exploring emotions and facial reactions.... and personally, I've been hurt recently because I dislocated my shoulder, so he's heard/seen me wince in pain and subsequently ask for help (and receive it).... there's a lot going on here.


So again, how do you acknowledge that he's speaking and telling you something.... yet, discourage the attention-seeking part of it?



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#2 of 7 Old 01-09-2013, 12:50 AM
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Three seems a little young to me to be lying and testing boundaries that way. If it isn't true, I don't think that he's conciously "lying" about it, rather he's sharing his negative feelings with you. It may not even be directly related to dad or grandpa. It could be another child who hit him, or he could be hearing people talk about hitting.


So I wouldn't try to discourage it at this point; I would just let him say what he wants to, without overreacting.

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#3 of 7 Old 01-09-2013, 12:36 PM
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I notice that my 3 year old daughter will lie about things, but they are things that I can definitely confirm.  For example, did you just poop? or did you hang up your coat? As soon as I see that she has lied, I usually tell her that I see she hasn't hung up her coat and I ask her to hang it up. So I don't usually make too much of it at this point.  She just turned three.  Sometimes I say that it is important to tell me if I ask her something, but I haven't told her that she is lying or go into depth about why lying is wrong. I imagine my answers will increase as she gets older. 


If she told me someone hit her, I would just listen and neither encourage or discourage it too much.  I would pay attention though and watch for any patterns or marks or fear on her part.  It there was no reason to believe that she is getting a reward for telling me (such as a lot of positive attention or anger) then I would tend to believe her. 

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#4 of 7 Old 01-09-2013, 01:32 PM
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Lying is actually a developmental milestone because it shows cognitive function, which is a later brain development. Children may lie due to fear but they will also lie to please someone. Mistakes are common though.  Child experts say that by the age of six children usually know the difference between a mistake and a lie. FWIW I would take his word for it until I found out otherwise. He may very well be mistaken regarding grandfather but I would give him the benefit of the doubt.

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#5 of 7 Old 01-12-2013, 09:28 AM
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Asiago is right, it's a normal developmental stage kids go through.  I'm guessing a neutral acknowledgement is best at this age--"uh huh, I see, that's interesting..." 


Good time to read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", I guess!


If you're worried about the content of the messages, you always have the luxury of following up with the other party.

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#6 of 7 Old 01-12-2013, 09:43 AM
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Started reading the first post, and a question popped into my mind. Did grandpa accidentally hit?
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#7 of 7 Old 01-12-2013, 10:10 AM
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I wouldn't totally discount the possibility of grandpa hitting him. He may have done it by accident, or time-out may have gotten a little rough (I would imagine trying to keep a child in a chair involves some physical intervention which could inadvertently result in hurting the child), or maybe it's part of grandpa's discipline philosophy. And I also wouldn't discount the feelings just because the last time he was with his dad & grandpa was 4 days ago. That's not a long time ago and it's completely feasible that he IS upset about that 4 days later. I find with DS that things come up because something reminds him of a previous event. So maybe your DS was put in time-out around bedtime, so going to bed again triggered the memory/feelings from a few days ago. Or maybe the tone of your voice, something you said, something he saw, etc. reminded him of it.

So, I don't think your DS is testing you, and I doubt he is intentionally lying or manipulating you. It sounds like he just doesn't quite have the words to express the complexity of his emotions. So I would acknowledge what he said and the feelings behind it.

More to say but I don't have time right now...

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