Reply To: Running out of patience..


I haven’t read all the responses, but I will ask you – have you tried 1-2-3 Magic? It worked great to stop my son from the yelling/bad behavior. It’s limit, for me anyway, was getting him to actually DO things that needed to be done, like homework and chores. He’d start trying to yell just to be sent to his room to avoid them, and there was nothing he cared enough about that taking it away, or letting him earn it, worked. Sadly, at 13, it’s still mostly that way. He’s gotten marginally more responsible as time goes on, and I have mostly stepped out of the homework gig, because for some reason he’ll do it better for other people than for me.

The one thing I did learn is that yelling back just made things worse. I have to stay calm, at all times, even when I’m seething inside. The other thing I’ve learned, from a professional, is that you never, never, NEVER argue about the lies or try to catch them up. You simply have to say, “I don’t believe you” and move on. If they argue about it being the truth, another calm “I don’t believe you” and move on. Sometimes it takes a dozen or more repetitions of this, but eventually it works. The other thing I’ve learned is to not give him a chance to lie. Instead of asking, “Did you brush your teeth”, simply say, “Go brush your teeth again”. Or instead of saying, “Did you do your homework” say, “Let me see your homework”, things like that. It is complicated, because there are some situations that don’t lend themselves that easily to cut and dry ways of avoiding the chance to lie. Sometimes, for instance, you have to ask about something that happened in class or what a teacher said. Ideally, these teachers will be writing down all needed information, but I’ve never found a teacher that is in complete compliance with that. So, in those cases, you have to sometimes go by the crazy things your kid says until you can actually talk to the teacher. In those cases, I’ve decided it’s best to act like I completely believe him until I know otherwise for CERTAIN. If, when I find out for certain, it doesn’t match up with what he told me, I will address it simply. “Yesterday, you told me XYZ. I talked to Ms. K, and it’s really ABC.” I don’t remonstrate for lying, I just let him know with that statement that he didn’t really get away with it. It does help calm down the lying a little bit. It’s not a complete fix, but when lying becomes less of a way to get out of something, or to distract from an undesirable task, it does happen somewhat less frequently. I will also say that between 8 and 10 were the biggest years for lying. I don’t know why.