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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, first I've always hated the word defiance and I still don't think it applies to small children. But I can't think of a better word and I am more comfortable applying it to my 9 YO DS.

DS has developed a pattern of lying, about little stupid stuff. Did he brush his teeth, did he use his eyedrops, that sort of thing. It drives us nuts but we were OK ignoring it and/or discussing the importance of trust and hoping it would work out. So, there is history here that plays into this weekend.

About a month ago he lost (misplaced) his Nintendo DS -- a treasured possession. On Saturday we found it (moving furniture to put up Christmas tree). He wanted to play it for the rest of the day, which we were OK with -- so he played for some 4 hours, off and on. At bedtime we did the usual routine, and he asked DH if he could get himself to sleep (sometimes we cuddle, sometimes he wants to be on his own.) DH left with instructions that he was not to turn the DS back on and he said "No Nintendo, I promise". Some time later he went to the bathroom, and we realized he had been in there for more than 30 minutes. Checked room - no Nintendo on the charger. We suspected he was playing it in the bathroom -- he has done this before. Entered bathroom, he is sitting on the toilet, no Nintendo in sight. Asked where it was (because it wasn't where last seen). "I don't know". Explained that we thought he might have been playing it. He admitted that he had been and had hidden it in the drawer when he heard us walk by the bathroom.

I don't like "punishing" and we've done little of it. While we are not a consensual living household, we have mostly done well with natural consequences, the occasional logical one, lots that probably are some cross between the two, and having him talk about why certain behaviors are a problem. I liked where we were but this just pushed so many buttons for both DH and I that we felt some sort of imposed consequence was warrented.

So, what would you have done?

What we did was:
* Confiscate the Nintendo without a defined "get it back" date, though our thoughts are Christmas (very arbitrary 9 YO = 9 days).
* DH canceled a planned DH/DS hike with Adventure Guides the next day because he was so hurt that DS had broken a promise and lied to him.

Thoughts and suggestions?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post

So, what would you have done?

What we did was:
* Confiscate the Nintendo without a defined "get it back" date, though our thoughts are Christmas (very arbitrary 9 YO = 9 days).
* DH canceled a planned DH/DS hike with Adventure Guides the next day because he was so hurt that DS had broken a promise and lied to him.

Thoughts and suggestions?
Me, none of the consequences you gave. I actually wouldn't have given any consequences because I don't believe in blame and punitive punishments. By giving these punishments you are only reinforcing the lies and next time he will be more careful not to get caught. He is doing the best he can with what he has got.

I would take a step back and look at why he feels the need to lie. Lying is a reaction from a state of fear, a state of self preservation. Don't let his lying push your buttons, it is not personal and don't let it take you into a place of stress. It might be interesting to examine what happened in your childhood around lying. Were you lied to? My suggestion to you is before you deal with the lying you make sure you are coming from a regulated place and you aren't reacting out of a stressed state. Don't buy into the lie and stay calm. I would never confront him as he is already feeling threatened which will only compound his stress. I would probably have said something like, "I am really sorry you lied to me, but it doesn't stop me or Daddy from loving and caring for you. Then when things are calm, sit down and talk to him about the lying, explain how it hurts you and DH that he lies and acknowledge that we sometimes lie when we are scared. But not to be scared because he is safe and loved, and will always be taken care of, so he can always tell you and Daddy the truth.
 

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Well, in my "ideal" parenting moments, I would have confiscated the Nintendo for the evening (and probably the next day), and required that it be kept in the main part of the house to charge because he's demonstrated that he can't be trusted to keep his word.

I would not have canceled the hike because (a) it's unrelated to the Nintendo (unless ds was too tired to go because he'd been playing too late) and (b) because that kind of connection is really important, especially as they get older.

I'd then have a talk with ds the next day about trust and ask HIM to brainstorm ideas for regaining trust with us. I'd explain that being able to trust him in little things meant that we'd be willing to give him more freedom. Not being able to trust him means that we can't do that.

I'd also think about why he's lying -- is it avoidance of being 'defiant' (my brother was king of that - he didn't want to do something, so he did it, said he did, and got away with it often enough for it to keep happening), is it fear of what will happen?

Honestly, this sounds like a 9 year old who wasn't exercising great impulse control because the lure of his Nintendo DS was too great, but who then felt guilty because he knew he wasn't supposed to be doing this. I suspect the fact that he felt guilty is a good sign.

I'd ask him to brainstorm 1-2 good ideas for regaining trust and give him the Nintendo back today (with the caveat that he can't bring it into his bedroom on school nights).
 

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I do sometimes use punishment, but only for violent behavior. I would not have doled out a punishment in this case.

What I would do...

I would tell dc what I expected ("I expect you to tell the truth....I expect you to go to bed" that kind of thing). I would take the DS for the night, and return it in the morning. I would take the DS each evening at bedtime and return it each morning (restrict access at bedtime, as he has shown it is too tempting).

Try not to take it personally when a child lies about something like this. The temptation was too strong, and he doesn't have the adult cognitive reasoning to understand the impications of breaking a promise. I would just keep reinforcing the importance of telling the truth, and help him keep his word in this case by being the "guardian of the DS" at night.
 

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P.S. I meant to add in my non-ideal moments, I would have yelled at him, confiscated the Nintendo DS and threatened to give it to the Goodwill and generally behaved badly.
: So, I don't think you did too badly, really.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
P.S. I meant to add in my non-ideal moments, I would have yelled at him, confiscated the Nintendo DS and threatened to give it to the Goodwill and generally behaved badly.
: So, I don't think you did too badly, really.
:

Except I may have threatened to throw it away
 

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that's a tough one because lying bothers me too. no advice really because i probably would have reacted poorly instead of really responding to the situation in a positive way. i agree that you should not have cancelled the hike though. that could have been a good opportunity to talk it out. however, i think he'll survive without his DS for 9 days
maybe, you all could just sit down and talk.... express what you've shared here with us. he certainly is old enough to have a heart-to-heart with, ykwim? you could even give the DS back to him after you all have had a good talk together (if you feel it would be appropriate). good luck mama.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, we are discussing the idea of giving back nintendo with caveat that it has to be returned to parent at night and during other times when he shouldn't be playing it. Sort of "Nintendo parole".

Note that DH canceled hike because his feelings were that he couldn't do this with DS and feel good / participate fully. I do think that he has the right to say "I can't do this and be pleasant, so better not to do it at all." Somewhere along the line I think that a child should understand that his actions cause hurt feelings in others, and 9 seems way beyond that point. I would feel differently if he were 3.

So, looking at the lying -- we've talked and talked and talked about it. This isn't new and its escalating in frequency and "severity". We've had him discuss why trust is important. We've listened while he complained about others lying to him and pointed out how he feels and extended that to us. We've also talked about why whatever he was lying to avoid was important. Before this weekend there weren't ever any other consequence for lying. This time he might have been afraid of our reaction, but prior to this there wouldn't be any reason to fear anything. How terrible is being sent to brush your teeth when you didn't, YK?
 

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well, i don't know if this will make you feel any better....but when i was little i lied (and stole
). as an adult though, i'm very honest and wouldn't steal a thumb tack. again, no advice on 'how' to handle the current situation. just wanted to shine a ray of hope
 

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I have 3 sons, two of which are ages 13 and 9. I found myself in similar predicaments. In my opinion...He's not sneaking the Nintendo DS playing because he feels threatened or scared, he's sneaking because he wants to play it, pure and simple. I would first share with my son how I felt when I learned he was playing his game when he said he would not. My words would not be focused on what he did wrong, but rather than on how I felt (betrayed, that out shared trust has been broken). I would also reaffirm with him our family values, which include not lying, cheating or sneaking to get what we want. I would take the game, and tell him that he needs to ask permission to use it in the future. I don't believe that this approach would encourage more lying...at least not with my sons. In my view, it's a gentle, respectful way to let him know that lying is not acceptable in our family. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by elizawill View Post
well, i don't know if this will make you feel any better....but when i was little i lied (and stole
). as an adult though, i'm very honest and wouldn't steal a thumb tack. again, no advice on 'how' to handle the current situation. just wanted to shine a ray of hope

Yeah, I'm not really worried that he will grow up to be a chronic felon or something -- that would be over reacting. But I am worried (and, truthfully, angry) that I can't trust him NOW and a little worried that he's going to get caught in a lie at school, which would invoke a major consequence that I would rather avoid, and I assume he would as well.
 

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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
Yeah, I'm not really worried that he will grow up to be a chronic felon or something -- that would be over reacting. But I am worried (and, truthfully, angry) that I can't trust him NOW and a little worried that he's going to get caught in a lie at school, which would invoke a major consequence that I would rather avoid, and I assume he would as well.
i understand totally. that's why i have no advice really. i've not crossed that bridge yet, and i'm not sure how i would respond. honestly though, maybe a major consequence is what he needs. my best friend's son is 13. they were fighting all.of.the.time about his homework for school. she finally backed off and refused to fight with him about it. he knew he was wrong. she knew he was wrong. so she stopped trying to make him do what was right. the natural consequence of getting in trouble by his teacher is what he needed. maybe your son will learn people don't like to be lied to. it ruins friendships and breaks trust. it has consequences. anyway. it's easier said than done. that's for sure. hugs to you.
 

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Honestly, either of my son's would have been mortified/crushed/ashamed beyond words to be caught in such a situation. Handling my kids when they do something like this is like dancing -- you have to match their incredibly high levels of sensitivity. That is not to say they would never pull something like this! They have, and would. Probably, I would offer to "help" manage the ds by keeping it for him during times he shouldn't have it. And probably, my kid would be terribly grateful at such a suggestion.

I know that not all kids are like mine though.

My only thought about the lying is that 9 is about the age my son started to feel patronized by questions like "Did you brush your teeth?" and truly embarassed to be sent back to do it again. You never hear adults checking up on each other about things like tooth brushing, and he really wasn't happy about being treated like a child. Its difficult, because 9 IS a child still, and you sort of have to make sure they are taking care of their teeth, etc... We just worked at implementing as many routines to help him feel independent as possible. I don't know if this could play into the problem for your kid are not -- I might be totally off the wall.
 

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Is it possible (my kids are not 9 so this may be way off base) if you redo the scenario like this?
you suspect he's in the bathroom playing his game.
you go in (knock whatever) and he hides it...you instead of asking or even acknowledging the game just simply say, "come on now time for bed" Then collect the game and put it away on it's charger elsewhere.
For some reason lying is not a button pusher for me (I know it is for many and I do have my buttons)
I feel like lying is something kids do now and then to "see" how it works and the less opportunity they have to have the less they feel like trying it on.
(I might be back here in a few years with a totally different feeling but this is how I think now with just a 6 and 3 year old
)
If he's too tired to hike..then he can't go and you could simply say, "Next time you'll need more rest if you want to hike"
 

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It's good to also remember that at 9 they are experiencing an inner crisis about good/evil. It's developmental. I think they NEED to misbehave and test limits like they did when they were 2 or 3 to redefine who they are and how they act at this point in their development. I think we should lovingly and firmly hold them with the boundaries that work within our families and communities. A punishment in this situation, like confiscating the coveted item for a brief time, is not the same a punishing a toddler who cannot even come close to linking the punishment to the "crime". We also must hold up to them the person we know they are inside rather than get in twist about how "bad" this particular incident is. We must remind them of how we act within this family and that we know they can meet those expectations and it's our job to do this.
 

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It seems the only thing the Nintendo had to do with this is that it is an addictive thing that is hard to put down. If you were OK with him playing for 4 hours, then the additional time is relatively not that much. You are upset that a) he did not go to bed on time and b) he lied.

For b), I'm totally in agreement that the lies come from not wanting parent disapproval. He knew he shouldn't have done it, so he was covering it up. Coming to a trust over a cup of cocoa may be more effective than taking the device.

For a) again chatting with him about why bed time is important and how communicating with you would be more effective than hiding is key. Talk to him about how he could have said, "I can't stop thinking about it and want to play." and how you could have made a plan to play the next day.

I'm not slamming you for taking the DS because who knows what I would have done, but it is interesting to think of your own motivation for the punishment too.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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Originally Posted by almama View Post
It seems the only thing the Nintendo had to do with this is that it is an addictive thing that is hard to put down. If you were OK with him playing for 4 hours, then the additional time is relatively not that much.
Well, it wouldn't have been much if it hadn't been the middle of the night and the alarm clock was going off at 6!

Interesting to see how people react. To me, taking the nintendo right then was the only way to ensure that he would sleep for the rest of the night. Keeping it is a different matter and one that was probably an over-reaction.
 

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I hate lying. It drives me absolutely batty because I want to be able to trust my kids.

We've made a point to talk about honesty a lot in our house. When daddy promises to play a game later and doesn't, we talk about how it makes them feel, and then we talk to daddy about it and try to resolve it.

I sometimes will have a consequence for lying, depending on the circumstances. Our 'big lies' have been around hitting kids at school. This resulted in taking away privledges for a bit.

I think what your husband did was natural, and I can imagine myself wanting to do the same thing, but I'd make myself go. It would be an opportunity for your dh to talk to your dc about it. This could be a really good lesson for him. He might not understand the issue of trust, and how it makes people feel to be lied to.

Kids are going to lie, because it's easy, because it gets them what they want, and they fear what the consequence could be if the truth is told. . It can be hard to get a moral compass. I expect my kids to lie, and we deal with it as it comes up.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
Honestly, either of my son's would have been mortified/crushed/ashamed beyond words to be caught in such a situation. Handling my kids when they do something like this is like dancing -- you have to match their incredibly high levels of sensitivity. That is not to say they would never pull something like this! They have, and would. Probably, I would offer to "help" manage the ds by keeping it for him during times he shouldn't have it. And probably, my kid would be terribly grateful at such a suggestion.

I know that not all kids are like mine though.

My only thought about the lying is that 9 is about the age my son started to feel patronized by questions like "Did you brush your teeth?" and truly embarassed to be sent back to do it again. You never hear adults checking up on each other about things like tooth brushing, and he really wasn't happy about being treated like a child. Its difficult, because 9 IS a child still, and you sort of have to make sure they are taking care of their teeth, etc... We just worked at implementing as many routines to help him feel independent as possible. I don't know if this could play into the problem for your kid are not -- I might be totally off the wall.
ITA with this, especially the last paragraph. It can be hard to get used to, but not asking questions that you already know the answer to, or know that he's avoiding, etc. can help by not setting him up to lie...give him a checklist for bedtime to check off on his own, instead of having to ask, "did you brush your teeth?" , that kind of thing. Teeth, eye drops, dock Nintendo in yoru bedroom to remove the temptation. He can tick them off on his own once they're done, no double checking by you - so long as they get done within the bedtime routine and checked off, no need to check up on him, KWIM? I'd set him up for success as much as possible, and continue the conversations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
He can tick them off on his own once they're done, no double checking by you - so long as they get done within the bedtime routine and checked off, no need to check up on him, KWIM? I'd set him up for success as much as possible, and continue the conversations.
Yeah, we were pretty good about this. Lately "Have you brushed your teeth?" has probaby become shorthand for "Are you ready for us to read to you" or another way of saying "Hurry up and get ready for bed already!", which probably isn't the best way to approach it.
 
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