What to do about lying & exaggeration phase of 9 yr old.

L.A. - posted on 04/22/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Finding that my daughter can be untruthful on many things from homework, things around the house, with this single mom & around my friends. Tends to cause problems as well as hurting friendships what to believe & when.

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Lynne - posted on 04/23/2010

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Lisa, It sounds like your daughter has a few issues on her mind One being her absent father. Until she can fully understand why he wanted nothing to do with her she will continue to push people away in any way she can. I was put forcefully in foster care on and off since I was 2 months old. meaning back and forth to my biological mom until I was four when I got put in foster care for good. Anyway I rebelled any which way I could with in reason until I fully understood why i couldn't live with my biological mom any more. I did pretty much the same thing your daughter is doing. All you can do is talk to her and let her know something is bothering her. Maybe even ask her if its her dad not being there? If you can put her in counciling that might help too. I have a friend who takes her daughter to a horse farm who does counciling. it seems to help. You both are in my thoughts and prayers

Kristi - posted on 04/23/2010

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I have an eight year old little girl. She does the same thing! She will lie about anything! She used to lie just to see other people get in trouble, even if she was doin the same thing! It was horrible. I honestly was worried because I am nothing like that. I would rather lie to keep someone from getting in trouble than to get them in trouble and watch them receive the consequences. She didnt care! Very scary! But as she has gotten older now she just lies on silly things, things that she knows I will find out. I am trying to teach her that as she gets older there will be alot of different things that she might want to do. And if I cannot trust what she sayd then she will not be doing any of these things. On a day to day basis though her punishment for lyin is that she will lose priveleges or wont get to do fun things I may have planned for her. Hope this helps. It is hard trying to teach your kids right from wrong when they are stubborn. I KNOW!

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Lisa, if I may be gently bold, I think the underlying issue is that your daughter comes from a broken home. You are a divorced mom? well, children of divorce have so many issues on top of regular kid issues. (I say this as a 38 yold child of divorce myself, spent a LOT of time in counseling to figure out my issues). Now that I am married and my husband helps me to co-parent our kids, wow, I certainly didn't have the same as a kid.

I raised a stepdaughter who is now 18 yold (homeschooled her too). At age 9, she didn't want to talk about nothing; not about her thoughts or feelings, or how she felt about mom's house/dad's house. She was a clam! but I think it's okay if the kids don't always talk to the parents about ALL the thoughts, because they really can't process them to put into words. SO much is going on inside their little brains and it's hard to say what they are feeling. Give her time. Now that my daughter is 18, she is really eloquent. Just takes time and maturity.

Keep up the great work Lisa! Just remember, she needs a mom who will teach her self discipline with rules, not a best buddy girlfriend. (my stepdaughter's biomom made that big mistake of trying to be a friend instead of a parent). I think it is selfish love when we try to be our children's friend, because we want our children to like us and not be mad at us. But love is teaching them boundaries. Love is giving them the rules so they don't hurt themselves.

Rachel - posted on 04/22/2010

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Welkl said Joelle- We did the same if you tell the truth you dont get in trouble or as much but if you lie you get in alot of trouble ;)

have great communication with the teachers, so you always know whats going on. And start taking away things from her. nip it in the bud because they dont outgrow it.. they have to learn there are consequences for lying and like many of us we have to hope they do learn from it.. And parents have to stick with the discipline-you cannot let it slide!

Adrianna - posted on 04/22/2010

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My almost 10 yr old step son Lies about everything taking money from his mom's mom so forth that he actually had him in behavior theripy. and his mother took him outta of so now he loves to play his ds and our wii so he gets grounded form them for lying and stealing and all that fun stuff. we have tried talking to him and well he just trys to claim he didnt do it. i personally thing he needs medical help but i am not his mother so. i am in same boat as u Lisa i am not sure what to do we have a almost 3 yr old and another child due in august and i dont want other kids seeing big brother do this stuff and start doign it too

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L.A. - posted on 04/24/2010

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I am looking into personal counseling for her. Car issues (not one) not close enough to public transport tends to be an issue right now. I know I had a discussion with her teacher, the head of her school that if my daughter needed to vent, talk etc because of some family crisis we were going through at the time to be there for her & they were. However, then my mind went racing to OMG! what if things said were miss interpreted and this back lashes on me. However, the same could happen even talking to a counselor but at the same time the counselor still takes into consideration my side, our life struggles & facts into consideration before pointing fingers. Not that the school does and she is at a great school with a FANTASTIC teacher who helps me to understand that I am not the only parent dealing with this and she also knows some our family struggle issues as well as the head of the school too.

I can't change the fact their is an absent parent. I can't make him be a part of her/our lives. To be honest we are safer not to and prefer it that way. To some degree my daughter understands this. So I try to keep positive good male role models in her life. Difficult when even my daughter seems to help push them away and I sometimes then make things worse by trying so hard to fix it when sometimes just leaving it alone for awhile will correct itself to a degree but still my daughter needs to understand she hurts not only me, herself and peoples view of my parenting, her as a person in character, but others whose lives she affects with lying. Some are kind enough to discuss with her one on one about it & how it hurt them or how they feel about it or her for doing so. Some refuse to and wash their hands of it leaving it as not their responsibility to rectify it with me to help her understand what it was she did when including them in the stories/lies. Saddens me but to some degree I understand, she is my daughter not theirs and yes as her mom, it is my job. Just some things get to be to much to do alone as a single mom all the time.

Thank you for your reply Lynne and advice. Very helpful. Most appreciated. ;-)

L.A. - posted on 04/23/2010

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No divorce and she has never had time with the absent parent but does feel shun from only seeing him once during a moment where the situation could not be helped due to arriving late at court house, no sitter and needing to check in with court clerk first before dropping her off at the family center. She was 4 and to this day remembers everything about it. While standing in line short as it was and finally reaching the court clerk because I was late and just wanting to let them know I was in the building but needed still to go to the 3rd floor to take my child to the family center silence broke the room. Turning to see why I seen my 4 year old standing only 4 ft away from her biological absent party staring at him and said "hello".....(paused) and..."your my daddy". Even though he had never been in our lives since born she does know what he looks like. Again replied "your my daddy". He didn't look at her & quickly turned his back staring at the wall, refusing not only to answer her but not even acknowledging the fact she was there to everyone else in the room. You could hear a pin drop. I quickly called her name and said we needed to go to the family room to play. She turned, pointed in his direction and said "Mom, that's my daddy. That's Greg!" My reply was yes, honey it is and we have to go now to play upstairs. She once again replied, "he won't look at me" as I scooped her up to get to the elevator.

Later after court on our way home she mentioned it again. "I seen my daddy today" My response was, "yes, you did and how do you feel about that?" Her reply, "sad" and "why doesn't he want to be apart of our family?"

Before when asking so many questions because she had already started school at 2 seeing daddy's pick up her friends, confused as to what I should say would just reply with that he was busy, working, out of town. She was so young and I didn't know what to tell her. Eventually at a group play with some other single parents I got some great advice. To start being honest. Problem is how much honest and do I tell her he isn't a nice person and why? The advice I got was a good one & made so much sense. It was: "Some people in this world are not ready to be daddy's. Some might not ever be ready. Your daddy I can not promise that he will ever be ready. Daddy is a titled that is earned as well as father. So from now on it is best not to talk about him and if we need to we will call him Greg because he hasn't earned the right to be called Daddy" Her reply was, "Ok". She did ask who is our family. I made it clear that our friends we spend time with and who are there for us & love us are our family then gave her a list. She smiled, gave me a big hug but I could see she was still hurt. Broke my heart and I was crushed that now for the first time he hurt my daughter.

I was never married, not divorces but did spend 7 yrs with him. In the end he wanted no part of the expected child that I was carrying. Abusive relationship and given a choice "baby or relationship" I chose the my child.

I know still to this day this hurts her heart because it's the one thing she doesn't forget. We have had to move several times due to issues and it wasn't because he wanted to see her/his daughter but to hurt me because of jail time for unpaid support or having to pay more when court deemed he could afford to do so & caught in lies. Furious with me when finding out his hidden finances.

I do what I can to protect her. Sometimes guilt that she doesn't have what I so wanted if ever having a child that I can't give to her. So yes, I know so much of our life & situation I am positive plays a part in this. What she might have overheard or views in seeing things as well as understanding that for some things even I have had not the choice to express some untruthful information to others because of our own safety issues to some degree. This does not help. I haven't asked her to lie but have explained that when people ask or friends about the absent party or questions in general about us that is personal to respond with, "I'm sorry, I can not answer that, it is something that you have to talk to or ask my mom about. It is something I am not allowed to discuss." Seems to work best.

Always being together 24/7 well even though it looks like neither of us have issues of separation anxiety, it is still there to some degree as well as learning to share mom's time with anyone else. Friends or other. Some of this may also stem into why at this time she is doing this. It's affecting friendships we have what few friends we allow close enough to us or know personal things more than others. She has only come clean about a couple of things so far yesterday but I know that there is more. It's hard to be both parents all the time with no weekend, bi-wkly or any breaks often enough for either of us. Stress gets to her as well as knowing when I am stressed as well. I have never called her a liar but have called her on it especially when something within the house is different. So, if it wasn't me, then who was it? The cat?? LOL!

L.A. - posted on 04/22/2010

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Well, well, well, so nice to see I am not alone! LOL! I've tried to explain to a close friend of mine who now refuses to have anything to do with my daughter because some of it has now included him.

To best explain, besides being a full time 24/7 365 day mom with no family and area where we moved to almost 3 yrs ago to start new we have few friends. I've kept our circle of friends small (very small) because there are so many other factors that play into our lives that I need to be careful of what is shared with people we meet. I know this may play a factor in this as well. So I have no real help it's always just my daughter & I most all the time other then the occasional play dates, few & far between. I rarely get a break from being mom at all. You know the saying it takes a village to raise a child? I have no village. ;-) if you get my drift.

This very close friend of mine best-friend now stepped up to give me some much needed break & R&R to get some answers to some things. Moving, job availability etc to help in the financial crisis we are having due to economy. I was extremely thankful. He has no children of his own. Has always been good to my daughter during the times that he has been around her. I trust him. He has spoke up on occasions when seeing my daughter act out, be disrespectful, inconsiderate & well you know ungrateful for things most kids tend to do already from time to time or some more then others. I was pleased he did thinking thank goodness my daughter so needs to hear these things from someone else too.

During the time he watched her all went well but after a few days since knowing him for almost 3 yrs she got in comfortable mode to push some boundaries. For not being a parent himself he surprised me, as well as his friends & family on how well he handled things as if he was a parent.

Now daughter being unhappy I took some time off for me as well as explaining it was something I needed to also do for us acted out saying there were many times while I was away that he didn't make dinner for her, ate dinner in front of her without saying dinner was ready and many nights she went to bed without eating or had to get her own dinner by making a pbj or cereal. She told me this when she knew I was upset about something else and this friend and I were disagreeing about something. Maybe feeling like it was an opportune moment thinking it would make me feel better?? Or just to side with me and add this tale?? I don't know. Either way I said nothing about it for a long time to my friend. I did have a discussion with my daughter saying for all the emails sent to me while gone, for all the phone calls not once did she say a word. She waited 2 wks after my return home to even bring this up. So?? What am I to believe...if it was fact wouldn't she have told me right away? Not waiting until I disagreed with him on something not even related to my trip. Reason I found it hard to believe. I did express to my daughter that if this had happened why would she have waited so long to bring it up? Why would she even think I would be upset? This friend not only did a really nice thing for me but took the time to completely change his schedule to take her to school, pick her up, help her with homework, science fair project/wk I was gone during took her to do things she enjoyed and for a single guy who enjoys hanging with friends put that aside to all during his spring break from school.

Eventually in discussion I told him what Piper had said when discussing some issues I was having still with her that in hopes of my trip being gone would actually appreciate even me a bit more. She has always had the tendency to clam up and not talk or be open. I have never given her the idea she could not be open with me. My Aunt was with me when living with her as a young child. There wasn't anything I couldn't tell her and feel comfortable. I want that with my daughter. Just hard to get her to do so. So she bottles it up, grinds her teeth at night when she sleeps when she is upset, stressed or frustrated.

She has even complained that her closest friends at school are being mean, teasing & not nice. Only to find from the teacher who has only 12 students in her class that they all play well at school every day. I witnessed this myself on a school trip. Who dish cling to the kids she was complaining to me about and saying she didn't want to go to school that day. So was it that she just didn't want to get up, get dressed & go to school so she made it all up about her friends..I watched her laugh, play and share with?

Now this wonderful friend because I told them what my daughter said got upset fears that after all he did to make things good for her & helping me that what next?? She is going to make up even worse stories about him that are even beyond my control? So he doesn't want to be around her anymore and well limiting if not any time at all with me anymore either. Not the first friend to do this as two others have done the same one senior female my daughter expressed many things she said she overheard her say bad mouthing me while in her care. The other a couple who has done a lot for us as well ...neither are close friends anymore. It is hurting my friendships with people because she is my daughter and I am suppose to stick up for her. I am supposed to believe her. I am trying to find the underlying issue here that won't destroy my friendships with people the help they so kindly give & or any relationship if ever having one.

Is it she doesn't like sharing me with anyone else? Is stressed in her own way over things she knows I am dealing with regarding us and bills & home situation. I do discuss some things were her so she understands that we can't have what others have because there is only one parent in the house being responsible for everything and our budget is limited.

I know it is a phase but somewhere if there is more I need to fix it. I know it is normal for kids to exaggerate, tell untruthful things especially if they feel they are going to get in to trouble. I have done the grounding from computer, TV, play dates, DS etc. Doesn't seem to work for long. She is a good kid but this is something now that within months has become even more noticeable & well let's face it in two months time the only friends we have are now staying more distant. Hard enough being the single mom both Mom&Dad/Good guy/bad guy by myself. No one to back me up when there is an issue with her. no one to step in when i say ..that's it I've had enough..your turn to deal with her. There is no every other weekend with her biological father or any family member at all to give the occasional break or step in as the extra parent. Just ME.

So what is it that I am doing wrong? I keep conversations private so she doesn't hear me lose it, cry or well as single mom's you know. Is she over hearing? Maybe. I know as a kid myself I would sit outside the door listening to my single mom's conversations or with friends out of curiosity. It's a kid thing. Same with the stories or lying I did or didn't do as well at that age. Tough being the single mom but even harder when doing it all by yourself and dealing with the drama & issues on top of what we have to now with our kids too. I'm am feeling lost & like a bad mother.

We do a lot of walking. We had a car accident in Feb. No car. We talk about a lot of things but if it is anything about my daughter she clams up thinking the world is against her & so is mom. A Why Me, Poor Me Syndrome. Told her to write a journal then to me if it was difficult for her to talk to me. If she felt better expressing herself in writing. She likes to write. In two days she didn't even fill one page. I expressed an amnesty anything that she hasn't told me, done, or was untruthful about if she told me and was honest that I would forgive her, I wouldn't be mad, I wouldn't promise that I wouldn't be disappointed and that she had to apologize to anyone that were hurt by anything she had done or said. We are still working on this one.

Lynne - posted on 04/22/2010

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I think its a phase all children go through at some point. My daughter and son have been making up stories is what i call it.I don't know what to do either. Sometimes I will say well let me talk to so in so and see what they say. They usually will admit to being wrong or lying. I then just talk to them about what they just did. I even remind them of the the story the boy who cried wolfe. eventually I feel they will get that it is wrong. Oh yeah i put them in time out or take away something special to them as well.

April - posted on 04/22/2010

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It's definitly better to fix this at a young age rather than having a teenager or adult that does nothing but lie. I'm already noticing my three and four year old's trying to lie. So, I ask them trick questions. Instead of, "Did you take my phone?", it's "Where did you put the phone?". They tend to lie better with a yes or no answer. But definitely finding consequences for lying is the best thing. And teaching them how lying can destroy their parents trust and ruin friendships. Give her situational stories of other people's lies and what trouble it caused them. I'm sure you can find some age appropriate books on how important it is to tell the truth. You could also switch from using the label "Do you want to be a liar" and use "Let's be a person who tells the truth". It seems more postitive and that's what some children need.

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My 8 yold girl was recently caught in a lie. If we catch them in the act, it's one thing. but if we merely suspect a lie and accuse them of lying, you can almost hear them say, "well, mom believes I lied anyways, so I'll just lie." If you know for a fact that the child lied, then you can say, "no matter what you say, you DID do this. you DID lie. now what are you going to do to make it right."
But tread carefully if you just suspect a lie. Children will insist they are telling the truth just to protect themselves. It is important to give them the chance to NOT lie. There shouldn't be any punishment if they come forward with the truth, no matter what they've done. That's my theory. If my child broke something, I ask her about it. "Do you think I believe you right now?" gives her a choice. Then I praise her for being brave to tell the truth.

Laura - posted on 04/22/2010

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our ten year old is in therapy. she lies about EVERYTHING from washing her hair in the shower, to reading ( homework) to what people said/did. we have her in therapy ( for other things) and basically what i was told is that there has to be a consequence, she is 10 so everytime we catch her in a lie she gets a 10 minute time out. we were told by a friendis she is learning how to be manipulative, and everyone does it. they see oh okay this person takes it at face value oh this person knows im lying. i don't understand , she lies about things she can't possibly get away with, like yes, i cleaned my room. she knows im gonna go check, it almost seems like she does it to make me mad sometimes.

Catherine - posted on 04/22/2010

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My 8 y/o son has been doing that too. I try to find a quiet time when my youngest is in bed to talk to my son. We'll go hang outside when it's dark or we'll play a card game or soemthing, just me and him. I don't bring up anything to what I really want to know. I talk about the day he tells me his I tell him mine and usually he tells me stuff he wouldnt normal tell me on a day to day basis. His dad and I are divorced and he has to go back and forth from there to here and it confuses him and I know this but he has to learn that our rules are different from his dads rules.

See if you can find a quiet time and go for a walk or something and start a convo and let her know whats going on with work or whatever. And maybe she'll tell you the same. It also helps to have quiet time when lights are dimmed or outside when its dark so we or they don't feel too vunerable. ya know.

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