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fritziefrommn
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09 Feb 2010, 10:20 pm

My son is 14 he has became a habitual liar , and being aspie is not good at it. He lies to me about little things like if he did his chores or if he let the dog out or if he ate yet . little stupid stuff that don't really matter. He also lies about big things like homework , school problems. When at school he lies to other students he makes up things he did or has , tell them what he thinks they want to hear.
We have had talked about it and he said he lies to adults so he don't have to deal with anyone. He lies to other kids to get them to like him better . the biggest problem is he is just making things worse . It is to the point I cannot believe anything that comes out of his mouth. he is also making the friends he did have at school angry with him. I am so frustrated because he lost my trust and I feel nothing I have said or did made any difference. talking to him and punishing him has did nothing because he continues to lie about everything



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10 Feb 2010, 12:02 am

My husband had a friend like this. I couldn't stand the guy. Liars tend to agrivate me. Finnally I got to the point where I just screamed at the guy "Stop lying about all the cool stuff you've never done and actually go do something with your life." Last I heard he joined the Army... so hopefully he now actually has something worth talking about, instead of having to make things up.

I mention that because if punishment doesn't seem to be working then perhaps taking your son out to do something worth telling his friends about would help. Maybe find something he's always wanted to try or something he'd really enjoy doing and use that as a motivator to get him to do things he should be doing... ie "if you don't do your chores and your homework then you can't go *insert fun adventure activity* this weekend". Also fun adventurous brag worthy activities tend to build self esteem which can help with lying problems. If a person is confident in themself they're less likely to have to make things up about themself.

Just an idea, I hope that helps.



ilivinamushroom
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10 Feb 2010, 1:01 am

My almost 8yo AS/NLD son also has begun avoidance lying and is equally bad at it. I describe in detail why the lying will backfire on him , like lying about brushing teeth and homework. Hopefully this changes before he begins lying at public school I am lucky though he has an awesome teacher that understands and appreciates him.



Tracker
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10 Feb 2010, 4:19 am

Well, I can't say that this is anything new. I personally went through a phase when I was younger (about 8 to 13ish) where I lied very often also. I lied for the exact same reasons that your son does. First off, to try and be more popular with my peers, and secondly to get adults to leave me alone. Don't get me wrong, I was a horrible liar, I really had no business doing so because my lies were horribly transparent and easily spotted. But the fact is that from my point of view, I had no other choice. Allow me to explain.

I don't think you really understand what your child is going through at school. Unfortunately most people have memories that only go back a few years at the most. They don't remember what middle school was actually like. I mean they may remember the name of their friends, and a few bits of information, but most people can't even recall the name of their teachers, let alone the complex social structures in play and how they affect everybody.

So let me be honest: Your son is weird. As a result, he is likely treated worse then crap by 90% of the students. You see, in the adult world the worst a person may do is make a snide remark about you at the water cooler, or spread rumors behind your back. In school, the other kids will gladly, and routinely steal your belongings, insult you to your face, call you degrading names, throw things at you when the teacher isn't looking, lie to the teacher to get you in trouble, and much worse. And the sad fact is that it isn't just a few bad apples doing it, when you are weird you become the target for pretty much everybody in the class. Rallying together to make the weird kid miserable is a bonding activity in school.

Trust me when I say that I have been there and it is not fun. And yes, I agree fully that being content with the friends that you have is an important thing. But when 90% of your peers make you miserable for their own entertainment, being content with only a few friends doesn't quiet cut it. So, you do the only reasonable thing, you try to make yourself popular so people stop treating you so poorly. Any analysis shows that those who have great stories are more popular. So, I tried making up extravagant and excessive stories to tell to my peers. I didn't become Mr. Popular, but at least my fellow classmates would listen to me because they thought my stories were funny, which was a small improvement. It doesn't solve the problem and make your peers respect you, but it was the only thing I found that made any improvement whatsoever. My guess is that your son is dealing with the same thing.

You can sit him down and tell him that his lies are only making the situation worse, and that is entirely true. But the problem is that if you tell him that telling lies doesn't work, then what else is he supposed to do? He can't very well ignore the fact that his fellow students are treating him like crap. He has to do something, and even though lying may not be the best option, and unlikely to succeed, it is the only option he sees available. If you want him to stop telling lies in order to be popular, you need to give him an alternative strategy to dealing with his peers.

What I found out to work for me is very simple. I realized that the people who treated me like crap were idiots and not worth my time to listen to or to deal with. If a person wants to be mature, and treat other people with respect, then that is a fine person and I will gladly be their friend. But if my fellow classmates wanted to be immature and idiotic, acting like a bunch of apes who are too blinded by group instincts to actually think or act maturely then I wanted nothing to do with them. And I told them that directly to their face. If somebody bothered me I would look strait at them and tell them that I have no interest in listening to their childish and idiotic words. I then told them to go away and stop bothering me. It wasn't an overnight change, but within a few weeks, the majority of my classmates simply left me alone.

I know that may not seem like the politically correct thing to say. But the fact is that this world is full of immature, selfish people who act mainly on their instincts with no thought as to how that affects things. People say that autistic people lack empathy, and from my experience, this is partial true. But my experience also tells me that normal people (especially children) lack sympathy, which is far worse. If you let the immature and childish people drag you down by trying to blend in with them, impress them, and get in good with them then you are only going to be hurting yourself in the long run. Once I stopped trying to be somebody I wasn't and just acted like myself, I can tell you that I lost some popularity. But the 2 good friends I had left were far better then having more friends based on lies and false personalities.

That is what you need to tell your son. Not that he shouldn't lie, but that there is a better way to deal with those who mock him. And it doesn't involve sinking down to their level and trying to impress them. It is done by telling them to shut up, go away, and stop bothering you. Then you find a few friends who are mature people, and you form a friendship with them which is based on similar interests, and similar morals.

Over time, as I look back, I have come to realize that there isn't a clean line between good (kind) people and bad (abusive) people. The fact is that each and every human being is born being completely selfish, unkind, and uncaring. We don't want to share our toys, and we all enjoy picking on other people because it makes us feel powerful. It is just part of the human condition. But over time we ALL(not just normal or autistic people, but everybody) need to develop our virtues like being kind, helpful, considerate, and respectful to our fellow man. The fact that some people have yet to develop their virtues and continue to be abusive doesn't mean that they are a horrible person, just somebody who hasn't yet matured. However that being said, while I understand this, and thus no longer hold somebody's immaturity against the person himself, I still don't put up with it and allow myself to be abused. If another person is struggling with controlling his base instincts, I can understand and not think less of them, but I am not going to let them ruin my life because of it.


Now then, as for lying to adults:
When I was young I discovered something. When my mother asked me a question, it is always to determine whether or not to punish me. For example: Have you finished your homework. If I say yes then they leave me alone. If I say no, then they yell at me to go finish it. If the adult asks : Have you taken out the trash yet? If I say yes then they leave me alone. If I say no then they yell at me. Just think about the sort of questions you ask your son. If he answers them wrong are you going to yell and nag and punish him? If so, I don't blame him for lying. I lied too when I was his age and I don't regret it. It saved me a lot of problems.

Without further information, I can't say anything for certain, but it seems to me based on what you have posted thus far in your 2 posts is that you are using the 'enforcement' style of parenting. For example, you tell your child to do something. If he complies, you dont bother him, if he doesn't comply you punish him. This is colloquially known as the stick method (as in carrot vs. the stick). This works decently well at coercing young children into acting the way you want them to but it is NOT a viable tactic with teenagers. The only thing enforcement style parenting teaches people is how to lie and hide things more effectively. And it certainly doesn't do anything to foster open parent child communication when the parent is constantly harassing the child to do things.

I am reminded of when I started my freshman year in college, I had many classmates who failed out. You see, the problem is that their parents pushed them, nagged them, and generally used the enforcement style of parenting to get them to do everything. The only reason they did homework is because their parents nagged them to. The only reason they attended classes is because their parents nagged them to. Their parents helped them pick out the college, got them to fill out the paperwork and everything. So once the children were on their own, and independent at college they no longer had their parents to scold or get after them. So guess what they did? They stopped doing homework, they stopped attending classes, and they stopped putting forth any effort because their only reason to do so was fear of reprisal which was no longer the case. And as such a lot of my fellow freshmen failed out of college, not for lack of skill, but for lack of effort.

The point I am trying to make here is that you can't get your child to do the important things in life because you will punish him if he doesn't. That isn't a good long term solution. What you need is for your child to do the important things in life not because he is afraid of reprisal, but because he understands the importance of doing them, and WANTS to do them for his own benefit. For example, if he wants to do the homework because he understands that learning the material will help him do his job, and get into a good college then he wont need you to nag him. Of course there will be days when he doesn't want to do his homework, and you will need to remind him of its importance. But by in large if he is an active and willing participant who is interested in accomplishing the same goals you are for his own reasons then things will go a lot smoother.

Just put yourself in his position for a minute. He has a homework assignment to do. He is having problems doing it because he doesn't understand what is requested of him, or he doesn't know how to answer it, or something prevents him from completing it. So he just gives up and doesn't bother. He cant figure out how to do it, and trying only makes him feel frustrated. So then you ask him if he has done his homework and of course he hasn't. If he tells the truth then you will nag him, bother him, and harass him until he just sits there with his homework out unsure what to do. He will just give up, write down something random and hope its right. He will inevitably get a bad grade, which you then harass him about, which only goes to make him more miserable. At least if he lies to you he can avoid an evening of you harassing him to do homework which will only make him frustrated.

So, I suggest a change in tactics. If he isn't doing something he should, instead of punishing him for it, try working WITH him in a cooperative effort to solve the problem. I would start by asking him why he doesn't do it. Is it a simple matter of him just forgetting to do the task (I.E. take out the garbage) If so, then perhaps setting up a chore schedule with specific times would be helpful. I.E. garbage is taken out Monday when he gets home from school. So he just walks in, puts down his bags, then handles the chore right then and there. Perhaps the problem is a lack of understanding what is really required. In which case I would clearly explain to him what you want. Perhaps the problem is a lack of ability, if this is the case then try getting him some help.

No matter what the problem is I can tell you that getting your child involved cooperatively is much better then trying to force them to do something. Explain to them why it is important, and why it is in their best interest. Then help them to accomplish the goal. Trust me, if punishments worked at fixing the problem, then you wouldn't have the problem your currently having where your son is miserable, and lying to you. Having been there and done that I can tell you that what worked for me was figuring out the solutions to my problems, not my mother harassing me and making me miserable constantly.



DW_a_mom
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10 Feb 2010, 2:01 pm

I don't know how well Tracker has read your home dynamics but, overall, I say listen to him. Some really, really good points in that little book he just posted.

One thing to add: since AS kids are very literal, they can quickly jump to the conclusion that the whole world lies, including parents. Think about it, the times we tell kids to say thank you for a gift they hate, to withhold an opinion they've been asked for because it's negative, and so on. It is a difficult distinction, and there is a good chance that all your child has really absorbed is that lies are an important part of life, regardless of what you claim. Which means they may see you as a hypocrit for calling them out on it, and trying to enforce it away is going to be totally hopeless.


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fritziefrommn
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11 Feb 2010, 12:37 pm

I am doing my best and will try to be more understanding. I just get overwhelmed and worn out. I love my son and wish I did not feel like I am failing him. I am willing to let go a little but feel like we are flying down a rapid river and if I let him go he will be lost. Im hoping for calmer waters ahead.
wish me strength to keep our heads above water.



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11 Feb 2010, 2:30 pm

fritziefrommn wrote:
I am doing my best and will try to be more understanding. I just get overwhelmed and worn out. I love my son and wish I did not feel like I am failing him. I am willing to let go a little but feel like we are flying down a rapid river and if I let him go he will be lost. Im hoping for calmer waters ahead.
wish me strength to keep our heads above water.


Wishing you strength .....

I know it is hard. It sounds like you are at a turning point, and at risk of him shutting down and giving up. That process needs to be stopped, and his needs met, so that he comes to realize he can succeed. I am not going to claim making such a change is easy, or that there is one path to acheive it. You need to get inside your son's head best you can, give him all of you possible, and pray for the best. And give yourself some breaks - see your friends, recharge. Take care of you. The old, "work hard, play hard" translated into "be there for him with everything, and separate out time to be there just for yourself with everything." Or something like ;)


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planobunnybob
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16 Feb 2010, 3:22 am

It is very frustrating to have a child who lies to you, but I'm glad to hear that you took the time to figure out why he's doing it. My 15 year old daughter lies a lot about brushing her teeth, and we've talked to her about the consequences of poor dental hygiene and those of telling lies (and yes, she's a terrible liar!) Now, if we catch her lying about this (ie her toothbrush is dry, her breath still smells like dinner) she is denied access to the computer for the rest of the day. She loves the computer, so this is a big motivator to brush her teeth and not try to pull the wool over us. We don't relent if she pouts, stomps her foot, promises never to do it again. We are trying to teach her to be responsible for her actions; after all, it won't be too much longer before she's going to be an adult and will have to cope with a lot more interactions with people who will hold her accountable.

We believe that she is trying to just get us off her back, typical teenager! We also will have a treat for her if she does brush her teeth regularly all week without a hassle...popcorn night, or going to buy a new decoration for her fish tank, something that she really likes. We don't offer that as a motivator, however, because we want her to understand that brushing teeth is something everyone does and for good reasons and she shouldn't expect rewards for doing everyday things. I think that if parents take a firm approach to lying, and let their children know that honesty is expected between them, but don't let the lying "push your buttons", it'll be easier on you. Good luck!



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16 Feb 2010, 12:33 pm

planobunnybob wrote:
It is very frustrating to have a child who lies to you, but I'm glad to hear that you took the time to figure out why he's doing it. My 15 year old daughter lies a lot about brushing her teeth, and we've talked to her about the consequences of poor dental hygiene and those of telling lies (and yes, she's a terrible liar!) Now, if we catch her lying about this (ie her toothbrush is dry, her breath still smells like dinner) she is denied access to the computer for the rest of the day. She loves the computer, so this is a big motivator to brush her teeth and not try to pull the wool over us. We don't relent if she pouts, stomps her foot, promises never to do it again. We are trying to teach her to be responsible for her actions; after all, it won't be too much longer before she's going to be an adult and will have to cope with a lot more interactions with people who will hold her accountable.

We believe that she is trying to just get us off her back, typical teenager! We also will have a treat for her if she does brush her teeth regularly all week without a hassle...popcorn night, or going to buy a new decoration for her fish tank, something that she really likes. We don't offer that as a motivator, however, because we want her to understand that brushing teeth is something everyone does and for good reasons and she shouldn't expect rewards for doing everyday things. I think that if parents take a firm approach to lying, and let their children know that honesty is expected between them, but don't let the lying "push your buttons", it'll be easier on you. Good luck!


Watch out for the "I brushed my teeth" fake out - wet tooth brush, enters the mouth long enough to create foam to spit on the sink ... Or just passing the brush over a couple teeth quickly so that using the literal thing it isn't a lie.

My answer to the fake out was to supervise his teeth brushing for a while, until it became closer to habit. Remember that this can be a strong sensory issue, really unpleasant to them, but it really has to be done. They'll literally loose their teeth ... not tomorrow, but down the road. And one child has DIED from poor dental hygiene. My son is already fighting gingivitis.


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17 Feb 2010, 9:05 pm

fritziefrommn wrote:
My son is 14 he has became a habitual liar , and being aspie is not good at it. He lies to me about little things like if he did his chores or if he let the dog out or if he ate yet . little stupid stuff that don't really matter. He also lies about big things like homework , school problems. When at school he lies to other students he makes up things he did or has , tell them what he thinks they want to hear.
We have had talked about it and he said he lies to adults so he don't have to deal with anyone. He lies to other kids to get them to like him better . the biggest problem is he is just making things worse . It is to the point I cannot believe anything that comes out of his mouth. he is also making the friends he did have at school angry with him. I am so frustrated because he lost my trust and I feel nothing I have said or did made any difference. talking to him and punishing him has did nothing because he continues to lie about everything


This sounds very familiar; I was on the other side of this my first semester of college (ended up being for the best, I got my AS diagnosis and this semester I can get back above a 3.0 GPA). I can't tell you why he is, but I can tell you why I did, and I have a feeling it's the same for him. I did it out of a combination of laziness and caring. I didn't want my mom to worry about things, but at the same time I didn't want to deal with her getting frustrated with me.

Sit down and talk with him about it, but make sure that he knows that you are not angry with him and that you are not going to get emotional about it. My mother's way of thinking is so different from mine that I had no idea what would make her angry, so I became very wary of saying anything that might have a chance of doing so.

Try very hard to stay level with him when he does tell you bad news. Instead of getting angry, say "Thank you for telling me, now let's figure out what to do about it." I'll still lie about small stuff (like if I did my laundry if I'm planning on doing it later because the end result is the same with less nagging), but I no longer do it with the big stuff.

Remember, the things you get annoyed at may be completely invisible to him, and so may the signs that you're getting annoyed, so it may appear that you get frustrated with him at random times over nothing. If you want him to do something, don't drop hints: just tell him. If he isn't, and you are getting annoyed, say "I'm started to get annoyed..." I hope this helps!


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18 Feb 2010, 4:33 pm

I used to lie to my parents, as a teenager. I did it, because I was afraid that I'd get in trouble if I told them the truth. I was protecting myself.


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