Really really need some suggestions!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-14-2011, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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We are really open to all suggestions on how to effectively discipline our 10.5 year old.

The main issue is honesty.

He seems to lie to us often... we almost always discover the truth and have tried various methods for change... still he chooses to lie.

Then there has also been theft.

He has stolen toys from a friend, a jacket from a neighbor, and a few other things.


We have talked about our need for honesty with him. 

He has lost priveleges as consequences to his actions (movie night, trip in town, day at friends, etc)

We have given him extra chores as a consequence for actions.


We are still dealing with the issues and just dont know how to help him make better choices.



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#2 of 7 Old 08-14-2011, 11:46 AM
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I've really struggled with my DD (age 6) on honesty. I'm by no means through it all yet, but I have noticed that punishing her for it makes it way worse. She just lies more to avoid getting into trouble. We've been working a lot on expressing our emotions to each other, so lately I've been trying to tie in what we've already been working on with the honesty issue, basically just talking through how I'm feeling with her. We also did a a few lessons (we're homeschooling) centered around The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I'm not sure that this is the best way to handle it, but so far it seems to be working better than other things I've tried. When I catch her, lately I've been calmly telling her something along the lines of "When you lie to me, I feel hurt and betrayed. I need to be able to trust you, and I feel sad when I don't think I can," and then I try to let it go and move on. On more than one occasion since this started she's told me something that I was unsure of the truthfulness of and I responded with "I feel sad and confused right now because I'm not sure that you're being honest with me. I want to trust you, but you've lied to me before and now trust is hard." On a few of those occasions, though I wasn't sure at first, after she reacted to me expressing my feelings on the matter, it became pretty clear that she was being honest. She felt sad that she was telling me the truth but I didn't trust her. She also brought up The Boy Who Cried Wolf after one occasion, and seemed to suddenly have a deeper understanding of the fable. She still isn't always honest, but it has gotten a lot better, and we're working on rebuilding trust. Your DS is older, but a similar strategy could be useful.


As far as the theft goes, I haven't crossed that bridge yet, and I sure hope I don't have to, but if I do, I imagine I'll probably try the same thing, with the addition of having her personally return or replace whatever was stolen.

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#3 of 7 Old 08-14-2011, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Tooraloora.


We have had him return the items and face the people he took from. 


We talk a lot about how his actions effect us and how we feel when he lies.


Still would love to hear more suggestions.... I am feeling really concerned and not sure what we should do.

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#4 of 7 Old 08-15-2011, 04:38 AM
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The first thing I would do is stop punishing, discipline does not equal punishment and apparently it's not working anyway.  You need to get to the root of this problem-he may feel like he doesn't have a lot of control in his life, he may need some reconnection with you and your dh, there may be some problem at school or with friends he's dealing with.  Instead of talking about how his actions affect you and how you feel when he lies, talk about what he's feeling when he does those things and do not judge him if he opens up to you.  Perhaps professional counseling may be in order if even after changing ways of discipline doesn't help, it will take some time i'm sure.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#5 of 7 Old 08-15-2011, 07:20 AM
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What kind of stuff does he lie about? And did he say why he stole the things he stole? I guess I'm curious what's going through his head. I mean, at his age he isn't re-selling the stuff for drug money, and he must know he can't show up at home with this stuff and not have you notice it.
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#6 of 7 Old 08-15-2011, 08:36 AM
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Punishing your child is not going to get to the root of the problem, imo. It sounds like there is a lack of connection and trust between all the parties here. Is it possible he may be doing this for attention as well?


Here is a article I found very helpful:

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#7 of 7 Old 08-15-2011, 09:11 AM
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try not to put him in the position where he can lie , don't ask him questions which could seen as blaming him for doing something wrong. Instead focus on CPS - collaborative problem solving. Reassure your kid that you are not mad at him, not blaming him , just you want his help , input to help you solve problems.  The lying is a symptom of poor coping skills , not being able to do what we all do and want in adaptive and appropriate ways . We need his input . The cps process begins with a neutral statement  - I have noticed that you are uncomfortable when I ask you certain questions especially about objects I have seen in the home , what's up ?  You might need to reassure him that he is not in trouble so he will speak and we will be able to gather info about his concerns This is not easy and we need to drill down and probe further. We can also make tentative suggestions about his concerns. Once we have a good idea of his concerns for eg - he would so much want to have these things , that it feels like his already or before he knows he has taken it , etc 

we can put our concerns on the table and then invite him to brainstorm together solutions . CPS is not easy 

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