Monday, May 25, 2015

Parenting 101: How I deal with my son's lying habit

I sometimes lose my temper when Isaac lies to me. And I get even more frustrated when he continues his lies in spite of our disciplinary efforts. Most of the time, it is habitual lies!

Situation: We just picked him up from school and his last lesson just ended a minute ago.
"Have you done your homework?"

Situation: He just woke up from sleep.
"Have you brushed your teeth?"

Situation: Opening the main door and heard the TV was being off'd and loud foot steps running towards Isaac's room.
"Were you watching TV just now?"
"No, I was sleeping."

Situation: Saw his dirty school shoes laying around the entrance.
"Have you washed your shoes?"

Situation: We found out that he has exam today from a fellow parent.
"Why didn't you tell us that you have exam today?"
"I didn't know. Teachers never told me."

Situation: We haven't seen his exam papers after a few weeks.
"Where is your exam paper?"
"Teachers didn't let us bring home."

Situation: Isaac is asking to join a different co-curriculum club. 
"You were in soccer club last year. Now you want to join badminton club. Cannot, you need to learn how to focus in one thing."
"Everyone else changed to badminton this year. Everyone. I will be alone in soccer club."

Situation: Isaac is asking us to buy football boots.
"No boots for you. Just wear your sports shoes."
"Teacher said I cannot join the team playing if I don't wear football boots."

This lying habit has gotten really bad. It really made all of us frustrated every time we talk to him. Hubby and I desperately want to believe that he isn't lying to us, but chances are, if his lips are moving, he's lying. So we started doing some researches on how to deal with this habit. These are some that seem to work so far.

1. We learn to get comfortable with it
Understand that kids are kids. And you know what kids do sometimes? They stretch the truth a little bit. And sometimes a little more than a little bit.

2. We ask for proof
Instead of calling his bluff immediately, we ask for proof. Show us the homework that you just did. Let me smell your mouth. Bring me the shoes.

3. We create fear
When he exaggerates about how the teachers treat him badly at school, or how a friend calls him names, I use this fear technique from a video I watched on Facebook. I show that I share his disappointments. I pretend to be really angry. And I'd tell him that I will go to the school and make trouble. I tell him that I will make that person who hurt him suffer. He will eventually feel really scared and he'd tell me the truth - which is really not a biggie.

4. We stop asking an open-for lies question
Instead of asking, "Have you done your homework?", we tell him to just go and do his homework. If he still lies, we ask to see the homework done. 

And last but not least,
5. We use the "You are such a good boy nowadays.  I noticed that you don't lie much anymore".
It sometimes works.....

.....And in the effort to combat his lying habit, I know I need to stop lying too. We know we lie everyday. I just told him that he cannot go to this one friend's house this weekend when he asked, because the friend's father just told me that they will be going outstation. The truth is, I don't like him mixing with that friend. 

How do I tell him that his friend's father was checking me out everytime we met and I am not comfortable with that?

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