Lying son.... I need advice! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 02-26-2003, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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(I'm posting this for my friend and co-worker) My twelve year old son continually lies about having homework done and is now failing science. This is like the fourth time this school year that we've had this problem. We've tried grounding and it doesn't seem to work. He is able to do the work and gets good grades when I keep after him on a daily basis but as soon as I start to slack off a little, thinking that I can trust him to keep up, he goes back to his old ways. We've asked him why he doesn't care about doing well in school and he answers "I don't know". He's generally a good kid, I'm just at the end of my rope. How do you deal with the lies and then how do you inspire a kid to do well in school???? HELP!!:
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#2 of 9 Old 02-26-2003, 01:06 PM
 
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I have a 12 yr old son, and this year he seems especially not interested in his schoolwork. i have to be "on him" all the time, and when he does his work, he's a straight A student, what bothers me about my son is his attitude, he just doesnt seem to care. he shrugs his shoulders alot. like your son, he s a good kid, a great brother, so its not like hes acting out at home, kwim? i have found out though, that his lack of interest and poor motivation is because the schoolwork is so boring, so easy for him, as his label is "gifted". he also says "mom, its not like i cant do it, but, why should i? i already know how, and its not like the teacher gives a care".

i have spoken to his teachers, and they have changed how they teach him, and changed the assignments they have given him. he is now excited anout a science project that includes tracking mice, and how they grow etc. He hates spanish, and can not only speak it fluently, but also speaks germn fluently as well, so instead of failing him, they moved him to french class, and he is much happier.

maybe your friend can see what the teachers can do to inspire him and motivate him....and when this boy is motivated and excited about learning, the grades and completed homework assignments "will come".

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#3 of 9 Old 02-26-2003, 02:05 PM
 
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I would also investigate how he was doing with the material. If he wasn't being challenged enough and stopped paying attention, perhaps he fell behind but needs more challenge to keep himself motivated. If he missed some important info/links/development in that course somewhere along the way, it is also possible the material is too challenging for him and he is overwhelmed and therefore gave up, even though he seems to do okay when his parents sit with him.

My biggest concern would also be the teacher. Now I can start speaking from my own experience, the experience I had flunking math and science classes on and off from 4th grade to 7th grade. I had okay teachers. In the end, they weren't what I needed. They may have been fine for some kids, but they weren't for me. For instance, because of my learning style, I need to be constantly interacting with others. I had trouble when I was younger sitting through lectures (I don't struggle anymore) because I needed to be discussing and testing out the ideas with classmates. These teachers weren't capable of providing this to the extent that I needed it (not every now and then, but as a daily part of learning). I also need to feel nurtured, loved, and cared about in order to learn. I need teachers who are passionate about my learning and really enjoying teaching me. If I had a teacher in elementary and junior high school that I didn't click with, you might as well have thrown my year out the window.

Next, I would say there is some value to letting kids fail. I failed a great deal during that period of my life and really didn't get it together (despite the desires of my parents and teachers) until I was in the 9th grade and decided that going to college was enough of a possibility that I wanted to work hard to have a good record (your record only counts to most colleges from 9th grade on). And I did! Had I been forced into it, the motivation may never have came. And when it came, it wouldn't have been so intrinisic.

On the other hand, he's falling behind on concepts that will make it difficult for him to do well even once he does get the motivation. He's going to have big gaps in his foundation for higher math, for instance. These parents might need to continue keeping in close contact with the teachers and keeping track of what has been assigned and working *with* their child every night on it. It may take a while for him to learn some of the stuff he missed, which means he can't just pick up with the next lesson. The teacher will have to make room for that and understand that. The teacher needs to meet him where he is at. I know that this sounds like what the parents have been doing and they want a break, but the time he needs to find an interest again (particularly if the teacher is not a good motivator) is indefinite.

I wish there was an easier way. I'll think on this.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#4 of 9 Old 02-26-2003, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sierra and sweetbaby... thank you so much for the school advice but do you have any insight into handling the lying? I think that is what disturbs me the most. I ask him directly if he has any homework and he'll say no. Later I find out that that wasn't true. How do you respond to that? Grounding? chores? something else???
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#5 of 9 Old 02-28-2003, 07:02 PM
 
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What are the natural consequences of failing to do his homework?
*failing a class and possibly having to repeat a grade
*disappointing his parents
*disappointing his teacher

It is these consequences, not imposed punishments, that should motivate him to shape up. Sit down and talk about these consequences. Tell him that you are tired of nagging him and he is old enough to take responsibility for his own homework. You are not going to nag him about it any more. It's up to him to find a way to remember to do his homework. Then leave him to it. Don't even ask him if he has any homework.

If he fails and has to repeat science or the entire grade, seeing your disappointment and watching all his friends move on without him very likely will be motivation enough to do better next year.

It's harsh, but it seems to me that your attempts to help him are allowing him to shrug off responsibility for the situation. He's doing his work only to satisfy you, not because he has any internal motivation; that works in the short term if you keep on him constantly, but it doesn't develop good long-term habits.

Make sure that he gets plenty of positive attention from you in general. Just set aside the homework issue and try not to think about it, while spending time w/him doing something you both enjoy. Maybe he's been getting you to nag him just because he wants you to pay attention to him?

I'm assuming that homework is the only thing he's lying about--that's how it seems from your posts. If so, then making him responsible for his homework and not asking about it will remove his motivation to lie about it. Even if not, I don't think grounding or (especially) chores are effective consequences for lying, since they aren't really connected. The natural consequence is shock and disapproval from the person he lied to.

I don't know, maybe I'm just blowing hot air here...but my parents got pretty far w/me by saying, "I'm very disappointed in you!" in a stern, sad voice and by spelling out their expectations and then quietly assuming I would meet them.

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#6 of 9 Old 03-07-2003, 12:52 AM
 
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I could have written your post .
I have a 12 year old stepson who is a habitual liar. Lies about little things, lies about big things. It's so hard, because then we he is telling the truth, he is so earnest but I don't know whether to believe him!
I had a conference with his teacher, and she suggested that he write all of this assignments down in his planner and have each teacher sign it. Even if he has no homework, that way it is documented. He hates this - and thus far we've made some mistakes getting him to follow through with it - but laid down the law the other night, and when he came home yesterday and wanted to go outside I said "Let me see your planner". Since he only had one notation and sig there, I had him stay inside (which he HATES) and told him he could go out the next day if he had all the teachers sign it. When I hear he is on track with his homework, we'll see if he can be responsible.
BTW, the teacher said several of her students have to do this - so it's not like he feels like a loser taking his pad up to be signed.

Lying. Let me know when you figure that one out .
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#7 of 9 Old 03-10-2003, 04:18 PM
 
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I've heard good things about the assignment planner. It helps some kids stay on track. The only thing I would add is that you might investigate whether or not he's having problems doing the work. His lying and difficulty sticking with the homework might be a sign that he has organizational problems or "attentional" issues and it would be unfair to get after him when his problem is currently beyond his control.

I struggled all through school. When I managed to do the assignments I always got A's. But mostly I just didn't do the work. And in defense I lied, lied, lied. Now I understand better that I had biological problems and so I'm angry that my teachers and parents had the gall to punish me for not doing the work when I could not do it. I'm also trying to forgive them, because this was 20-25 years ago and people didn't know what they do now about learning disabilites.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#8 of 9 Old 03-10-2003, 04:35 PM
 
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We did check into that, and Shayne is really a bright boy. He remembers anything he wants to - therein lies the rub <g>. Every single time he is told to do something tho, he starts spinning his wheels on how to do it and get away with it. I've learned the best thing to do from my end is always be consisten with him and not let him think he is getting away with something when he lies.
And the beat goes on.....
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#9 of 9 Old 06-26-2003, 01:15 AM
 
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He is lying...mmm...

Well. The natural consequece for lying is that nobody believes you anymore. Generally, when the parents get upset about the lying, very little changes. But when lying becomes uncomfortable for the child, he might choose better next time.

There is a technique to try and curb lying, but be prepared for some tantrums because it is not comfortable.

Johnny lies. A lot. Mom says:"I see you have chosen to lie about this." That's all.

Then the time comes , for instance, to eat out. Johnny says he wants pizza and fries for dinner. Don't say anything, but calmly order something entirely different. Johnny will say that that's not waht he said he wanted. Mom replies:"Oh, I know that honey, but since you usually lie, i figured that you were not telling me the truth when you said you wanted pizza and fries, so I ordered what I thought you REALLY meant. " No sarcasm please. Just be matter of fact.

When he wants the red shirt, buy the blue. When he wants to go swimming, draw a bath. You never know when he is telling the truth, so guess creatively!

This makes lying quite uncomfortable for Johnny, but don't be consistently doing the opposite, just sporadically to maintain the element of suprise.

The lying is now not controlling your emotions, but it is sure conflicting for Johnny, because it is not benefiting him any longer.

This approach eradicated lying in my foster daughter in about a week. She hjardly ever lies now.

HTH...
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