Another one about lies - becoming a habit - what to do - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 10-03-2010, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So this afternoon I was watching TV. DS comes in, flops on the sofa beside me and kicks off his shoes. I ask him to take them to his room, put them away and put on his slippers. He goes to his room and returns with the slippers. I ask him "Did you put the shoes away properly, side by side?" Because his usual method is to get to the door, then throw in the shoes (or book, or toy, or whatever it is he has to put away). Anyway, he answers yes, so end of story.

Until tonight when I accompany him to his room to put him to bed. I notice that there is one shoe under the window, and the other nowhere to be seen. Eventually it turns up under the bed. "So you didn't put them away properly like you said, you told me a lie." "Well yes. I wanted to watch the program you were watching". So I told him I was angry and disapointed, that I don't like lies, and that every time he lies to me, he is teaching me not to trust him. I also told him that since I was angry with him he wouldn't be getting a goodnight from me (cuddles, story, etc) and I walked out. He was upset, but as typical in this period, he seems to be upset because he is not getting something he wants, rather than caring about having done something wrong or disappointed his mum.

THis is becoming something of a habit. He will tell little lies, "harmelss" lies, usually to cover up something. "Have you washed your hands?" "Yes" but he hasn't. He doesn't seem to care much about the issue of trust, and it is hard for me to demonstrate mistrust... also because I really do want to believe him every time, and trust, unconditional trust seems to me to be essential in any love-based relationship.

What can I do to make him understand how important this whole issue is to me? And how can I understand what the underlying philosphy is (if at all he has one) in his continuing to think that lip-service is all that's required of him?

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#2 of 11 Old 10-04-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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Well...I think it's not unusual for this to happen. My dd is 6 and does similar things but I'm ready for it and my kids cannot get over on me.

A lot of times I don't request things, I ask questions. Like if washing hands after getting home from school is a usual thing, when we walk in the house and have been home for a minute I ask, "J, did you get your hands washed?" Or after they kicked off their shoes I might ask, "Is that where your shoes go?" Pause, wait for response and move on.

If you think they are just throwing them in the room and I ask them if they put them away the way they know they are suppose to be then I will immediately go and look and when they didn't then I let them know it needs to be done right before privileges like watching TV keep happening.

I don't even go into the lie thing because I'm teaching them right here that their tactics are not working. These aren't sneaky lies, it is laziness and the expansion of certain definitions (or just different definitions) in their minds of what "putting away" looks like.
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#3 of 11 Old 10-04-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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First, I wouldn't punish by taking away goodnight cuddles. I don't like the idea of taking away expressions of love as a form of punishment.

Also, at 7 I'd let him put away his shoes how we wants. I think telling him specifically to line them up is micromanaging. If he can't find his shoes easily when he wants them, he'll learn on his own to put them away better, but that might not mean they're put away exactly how you would put them away. It's OK for him to do things in his own way.

I don't think the lying is the big issue here. I think it's possible he's lying because he doesn't want to do everything how you would do it, and to me that would be the underlying issue, and the thing that needs to be addressed.
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#4 of 11 Old 10-04-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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I agree that insisting on shoes side-by-side is micromanaging, at least when it comes to his space.

Kids this age are highly tempted to lie. The best course I've found is to avoid asking them questions that will tempt a lie. If he came out with slippers, I wouldn't ask if he put the shoes away properly. If it is an important issue, or a new habit we were working on, I'd get up and check--and call him back to fix it if done improperly. If it isn't important enough to warrant me getting up, I'd just address it when I checked later on.

I would say that unconditional trust is misplaced in a young child. Their brains are still developing, and it is to be expected that they will make mistakes and poor choices. It is too much pressure on a young child to expect them to have the ethics of an adult, imo.
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#5 of 11 Old 10-04-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I get around this by not asking questions that I suspect will lead to an untruth. "Did you put your shoes away correctly?" when your child really wants to simply sit on the couch and watch a TV program is a sure set up for not telling the truth. He's doing it simply because it was the easiest thing, not out of some deep seated malice.

I simply say "Go wash your hands." or "Please go put your shoes where they belong." If they respond "But I did!!" then I either say "Oh, really, but I still see dirt. Try again." or "If I go up to your room, will your shoes be where you say they are?" And if they aren't, then the next time, I follow them up to make sure if I really care. The consequence of not being truthful is that you require supervision.

Another way to think of it: Putting shoes away is their responsibility. If they can't find them, it becomes their problem. They have to spend their time looking for them. I have, on occasion, 'charged' my kids for the time they make me put into helping them find their shoes. Basically, for every time I help them find something I asked them to put away, they owe me an extra 5 minutes of chores. If I have to spend my time looking for something they should have put away, then they get to spend their time helping me.

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#6 of 11 Old 10-04-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
I get around this by not asking questions that I suspect will lead to an untruth. "Did you put your shoes away correctly?" when your child really wants to simply sit on the couch and watch a TV program is a sure set up for not telling the truth. He's doing it simply because it was the easiest thing, not out of some deep seated malice.

I simply say "Go wash your hands." or "Please go put your shoes where they belong." If they respond "But I did!!" then I either say "Oh, really, but I still see dirt. Try again." or "If I go up to your room, will your shoes be where you say they are?" And if they aren't, then the next time, I follow them up to make sure if I really care. The consequence of not being truthful is that you require supervision.

Another way to think of it: Putting shoes away is their responsibility. If they can't find them, it becomes their problem. They have to spend their time looking for them. I have, on occasion, 'charged' my kids for the time they make me put into helping them find their shoes. Basically, for every time I help them find something I asked them to put away, they owe me an extra 5 minutes of chores. If I have to spend my time looking for something they should have put away, then they get to spend their time helping me.

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#7 of 11 Old 10-05-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thought-provoking responses:

Janasmama & LynnS6- I tend to hold back from supervising, because I don't like the idea of "policing" which is what it comes to in my mind. I tend to think that a simple, everyday thing if asked should be done. But perhaps supervision is what he needs, and it is not realistic of me to expect differently at this stage? I have never spent time with children before having my son, so I often question if my expectations from him may not be fair to his age and development.

Mamazee & Sunmamma - the thing about micro-managing would never have come to my mind. But yes, I am absolutely a neat freak and I like to have things just so ! I do let him manage his space much as likes, he puts in what he wants where he wants (the shoes could have been beside the bed, under the window, under the desk, near the door, wherever) but putting stuff away straight - PJs folded, shoes side by side, papers stacked etc seems to me just ordinary everyday tidiness! I will have to think about this.

About witholding cuddles - its a fact that if I am annoyed with DS I just don't want to cuddle him in that moment. I don't think it is wrong in principle to show that his behaviour impacts people's feelings and that has consequences also towards him. I can accept though that my feeling so... betrayed... in this case was an overreaction .

So, some meditation to be done - thanks for these new perspectives!

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#8 of 11 Old 10-05-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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serioso - I like to think of the 'policing' as an effort on my part to help them be successful. Helping them learn and be reminded of the steps that it takes to have normal, everyday tidiness that fits my definition because your son may not be a type A person but for now needs to learn how to live with one.

The initial problem is him not getting is stuff put away correctly. The secondary problem is the lying which is what your original post shows concern for. So to help the lying we go to the root of the problem and teach him how to get through the day without lying and if that takes 'policing' for the time being than that is what he needs because what else would be a normal reaction to a lie? Taking his shoes away wouldn't work and most other things are irrelevant and most likely not going to hit the target.

OTH, *YOU* may be the one who has to learn to change and let things go. He may not be as tidy as you for a number of reasons not necessarily controlled by him. I do know that my children have helped me learn to be the one who can flex a bit more instead of trying so hard and putting forth so much effort to change/shape them to my own liking. For me, not provoking my children to yell, lie, etc. is just as important to me as being loving and gentle.
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#9 of 11 Old 10-05-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by seriosa View Post
About witholding cuddles - its a fact that if I am annoyed with DS I just don't want to cuddle him in that moment. I don't think it is wrong in principle to show that his behaviour impacts people's feelings and that has consequences also towards him.
I think this is a perfectly important and valid distinction!! To not snuggle because you didn't feel like you could get in a good place for a snuggle is actually a good thing to teach your child, imo.

The important distinction is whether you were also doing to to show/teach something. I think it's extremely subtle but very important to sort that out.

Withholding snuggles as a punishment = bad. Not snuggling because you just can't get there that moment = OK.

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So, some meditation to be done - thanks for these new perspectives!
You are amazing!! I really would have found this thread difficult to read if I were you and you read and responded thoughtfully and gracefully!

That kind of thing always makes me think, "This person's kid is going to be FINE!"

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#10 of 11 Old 10-05-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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My 5 yr old does the same exact thing.
Im finding that to stop the lying, I just cant let it happen. Im thinking that the less it happens the less he'll get used to doing it and hopefully it will not become a problem.
So when he comes home from school, if I tell him to go wash his hands. Of course he doesnt- he just walks into the bathroom, turns the water on and off and leaves. If I ask him if he washed his hands, he says he did and that he did a great job! In order to prevent this I must escort him to the bathroom carrying my giant heavy 5 month old when Im so tired and know Im in for another 6 hours of mommying. I watch him and we sing the alphabet together while he does it. I dont want to have to do this, but atleast Im making an honest guy out of him and not allowing him to lie and me to get upset about thinking I cant trust him. Of course I cant trust that he'll put his things away or wash his hands right. He's a little kid and doesnt want to miss out on anything in life. It's my job to teach him those annoying things.
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#11 of 11 Old 10-06-2010, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's a little kid and doesnt want to miss out on anything in life. It's my job to teach him those annoying things.

I totally agree with that, but you do expect them to learn eventually. My DS will be 8 at the end of the year, do you see yourself accompanying yours to wash his hands every day for the next 3 years (and counting)?

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Originally Posted by janasmama View Post
your son may not be a type A person but for now needs to learn how to live with one.
I had to google "Type A personality" Well! Is there any such thing as a happy, stress-free, non-confrontational type A? Because then it might fit.
Seriously, like I said in my original post, I do question whether my expectations are too high or not age appropriate in general. Its not only on the issue of tidiness that he lies, its a host of little things (washing hands, getting dressed for school in the mornings instead of lolling on the bed with a comic book). It is generally speaking that he would rather be doing something else, and so, I guess we come back again to the issue of he still needs supervision.

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Withholding snuggles as a punishment = bad. Not snuggling because you just can't get there that moment = OK.
I agree.

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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
That kind of thing always makes me think, "This person's kid is going to be FINE!"
Aww, thanks!

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