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Old 02-20-2009, 03:25 PM   #1
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Unhappy 8yos, lying and not caring

I need some suggestions on what to do about my 8yo DD lying. She will lie about pretty much anything (not compulsively), and when I find out, she says "I forgot." For example last night she asked for a snack before bed, and then said she had to use the bathroom, so I said "remember to wash your hands with soap and water." She was back 20 seconds later, and I asked "did you wash your hands" (yes, she says), then "did you use soap?" (yes, she says), then "do I need to come smell your hands to check?" I know that she didn't wash because she wasn't gone long enough, so I stand up and she replies "I forgot to wash my hands." Then this morning, same thing happened when I sent her to brush her teeth before school.

I tried talking to her about responsibilities last night (ie. what would happen if I "forgot" to pay the bills and they turned the power off? or if I "forgot" to put my glasses on and decided to go for a drive?), and I know she understands what I am saying. But nothing changes. And lying about things is driving me nuts, because regardless of whether she's lying about washing her hands or something bigger, it's still lying.

When I was little, I got soap in my mouth for lying, and I swore I'd never do that to my kids (the soap thread got me to post this thread), but I am out of options for what to do when she lies. She has lost every toy in her room already, has been permanently banned from the television, I can ground her from going outside to play, ground her to her room, send her to bed early, make her write lines - I don't know what else I can try. Nothing works. She truly just doesn't care, and has an apathetic attitude towards her school work and anything that requires any effort, and the same goes for pretty much everything else.

I realize that my post has gone all over the place, from lying to forgetting, to not caring, to discipline in general, but I'm at my wits end with her. I've got an appointment to meet with a counselor at her school (she had to get a referral from the Principal because our schools don't have guidance counselors anymore, so someone has to come in especially for her), because she's got social issues and doesn't seem to care that none of the kids in her class/on the bus want to play with her (she annoys them and bugs them to the point of them walking away from her and refusing to sit with her on the bus or play with her at recess). She is in grade 3 and is reading at a Grade 1 level, and when we try to read together, she guesses at words and then says "it's too hard." She has been evaluated for learning disabilities and has none (not even ADHD). She used to love math and has now decided it's too hard and she hates it.

I feel so lost as a parent and feel like an awful mom because I spend more time being frustrated with her than I do being happy about what she is doing (and I praise the heck out of her when she does good).

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Old 02-20-2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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Re: 8yos, lying and not caring

You cannot control her.


I know, I know, you're probably thinking I can sure as heck try! But, really, deep down think about it. She controls her mind, her responses, and her body. She makes decisions to lie or tell the truth, and it's not something you can control.

However, the bright side is the exact same rules apply to you. She does not control you, your thoughts, your responses...only you make those decisions. I'm going to be brutally honest with you here - I don't understand your train of thought. You know she's lying, you know you can't trust her, and you are still putting her in positions to be trusted. It's the same I feel when I hear a CEO has retained his position after embezzling from the company he runs.

You need to stop trusting her. Give her statements of fact, no questions, and be that helicopter for a while. Don't ask questions you know the answers to and put her in a position to lie to you.

"You need to brush your teeth" - simple, direct, and effective as you steer her back to the bathroom and you watch.

It's the same as when you first trained her to work alone - hover for as long as necessary, and then slowly start backing away; steer her to the bathroom and wait until she runs the water and gets the soap, then leave to go to another room, coming back as she's drying. Then let her do it on her own one day.

They find out real quick that they don't like having to report back every detail/have a warden watching. A lack of freedom because of a lack of trust is a powerful consequence. It's real and logical. Taking her toys is just mom being mom. It's no big deal. This is big.

-------------------------------------------

The schoolwork is a different story. It's easier to catch up when we're motivated by a reason to learn or the right tools. For some kids, it's computer games and comic books. For others it's being read to every night an exciting story (without pressure to read). Others need an inbetween person - a mentor/tutor to bridge between the demands of the grown up world and the kid one. And still others respond to taking a step back, going with the easy material to build confidence, and then working back up to grade level.

Take heart mama. And do yourself a favor; next time you get really frustrated, write down a list of good things about your daughter. Sometimes, we lose perspective when the problems seem huge. We forget that the good things are just as big.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:46 PM   #3
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Re: 8yos, lying and not caring

I appreciate your candid response! For months last year, I followed her to the bathroom (waiting outside) to make sure she washed her hands, and same with brushing her teeth. DH and I did this for months, and she was consistently doing it, and as soon as we stopped following her around holding her accountable, she quit doing it and started lying about doing it. I just don't know at when enough is enough. She will be 9 this summer, and almost every other 8-9yo I know can consistently remember to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. My 2 year old remembers every time that we wash hands before/after we eat.

I know when I look at each little thing, they are just that - little things. It's just when they are compounded over and over, day after day, that I just want to rip my hair out. It makes me incredibly sad that my DD has no friends, never gets invited over to other peoples' houses, that no one wants to play or work with her at school and no one wants to sit with her on the bus. She knows exactly why things are the way they are (she can articulate exactly what she does to make her friends react the way they do), yet nothing changes.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:29 AM   #4
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Re: 8yos, lying and not caring

Sounds like a lot if going on there. I am glad you are getting some expert advice soon. Social issues can easily carry over to hygiene and the reverse... Hygiene can become an issue for social out casting and teasing. I used to teach 3rd grade and I had a student that was way worse than what you are describing. It was tough, but I made it my project to help her. She had long given up on having friends and just had a "don't care" or "oops I forgot" way of responding to everything. I had a unique position as her teacher to help her through using my high status in the social order of our class. Soon she began to care what I thought and we bonded. From there I could coach her and the others on getting along and she began to bond with some of the students. I think in cases like this it is important to praise only where things are actually impressive. She is old enough to know when big praise is being lavished for small mediocre things and it only serves to make her feel pathetic and look so in front of her peers. I had to wait forever to see a true talent that the others would value and then praise with exact language about what I saw that impressed me. Then she actually felt the compliment and began to get real validation that meant something instead of charity praise. Does that make sense? Then they feel true self worth and begin to take pride in them selves. Ok I am rambling...sorry hope you get the help you need mama!!
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