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Hayley
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09 Jan 2011, 12:55 pm

I am at wits end and it may be because I feel lately that I am constantly having to manage one child all the time and (Sorry this is going to not sound very nice) it feels like the rest of us have to dance around him. He's constantly telling us lies to get what he wants and he's so manipulative! I just want to cry from pure frustration! Why does he lie all the time!



daedal
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09 Jan 2011, 2:04 pm

Lying is very frustrating. But it's a phase kids grow out of.

I told lies for a while. Actually, it's Aspie related. For about four years I didn't eat lunch at school because I had 'issues' with the sandwich my dad made for me. It felt awful in my mouth, it was either throw it away or throw up. So I threw it away and told my parents I'd eaten it. When they found it there was a massive fuss about it, and I never lied again, because it really upset my dad. Plus I can't do it that well, and I don't want to do it. So if you make a big enough fuss, maybe he'll just suddenly stop. I never did it to be manipulative though. Don't think I would have known how to do that.



Mama_to_Grace
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09 Jan 2011, 2:05 pm

Hayley wrote:
Why does he lie all the time!


I understand your frustration. Your question is a valid one: Why does he lie all the time? I would suggest that you focus on this question.

Children usually act in a way to try and get what they need. What is it that your child needs that he is not getting?

Is he mad at the world? Is he mad at you? Does he feel unsafe to tell the truth? Does he feel as though it's useless to the truth? Does he feel that telling the truth gets him nothing?

These are all questions you should be asking and trying to analyze the situation at home to find out what he is getting by "telling lies". Try giving him attention when he tells the truth, be a model of telling the truth yourself, and stop giving him anything when he tells lies (including punishment).

The change does not happen overnight but it starts with you! Stop focusing on what he is doing and let the change begin with you. What can you do differently? Are there needs of his that aren't being met? Try to do what you can to release the need for him to be different and let go of your anger and hostility of your situation. Let the change begin with you.



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09 Jan 2011, 2:09 pm

I don't know this child, so I can only speculate from my own experience.

To put that into perspective, I only figured out last September that AS was the answer to most of the mysteries in my life. And then, in October, I was finally diagnosed with ocular albinism, the eye condition I was born with. When I was diagnosed with OA, the eye doctor made it plain he considered it reasonable that my eyes were severely light sensitive. This was not news to me - I've always hated bright lights, flashbulbs, etc. But, the pain caused by bright lights was literally lost among all the other - worse - sensory issues, all of which were brushed aside by a society insistent on forcing me, along with everyone else, to abide by normal standards.

It is only in the past few years that I have begun to understand that my own reality was so crushed by that pressure to be normal that I grew up with the belief that everyone simply did whatever they had to do to force their own perspective on everyone else. I didn't reason this out; I learned it instinctively, far too young to reason it out. That was the world I lived in. No one cared about my perspective, and the only way I could gain any space for it was by snatching at any advantage I could.

I am not saying that made everything I did right. What I am saying is that the intolerable pressure of being so different yet trapped in a world that insists on conformity taught me some very bad lessons, and taught them to me so young that it took years and a lot of maturity to even understand that I'd learned those lessons. They were so ingrained, so much a part of my "basic OS", that I didn't even think about them.


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PatrickNeville
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09 Jan 2011, 3:59 pm

I used to have a very poor understanding of the world, so since I was was left out of most conversations, i would often lie to create something to speak about and for the attention. Sometimes I think I would do it a lot to get things i wanted as well, mostly because i did not know how to approach things properly.

I'd say i was a compulsive liar for yeas to be honest.

Don't know if any of this can relate to your situation at all, but i thought i'd mention it.


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DW_a_mom
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10 Jan 2011, 5:06 pm

Since age makes a huge difference in how I respond to this question, I checked your other posts and discovered that your son is 10. And got a few glimpses into how you describe him and his experience outside of this issue. All of which I think are very important in discerning possible motives.

My guess is going to be that for your unique child lying has become a coping mechanism. It doesn't sound like he's ever had it easy or really found his groove, so in some ways he may be allowing his imagination to start inventing a world that he wants, rather than the one he has. A friend of my son's did that. Instead of calling him out for lying, the adults around him started harvesting the lies for clues about what he needed, and what he wanted. The more school and other adults started to meet those needs, the fewer tall tales we started to hear, and the easier it was to talk to him about trust and honesty. But that conversation - trust and honesty - is a hard conversation to have with a child that wants nothing more than to escape reality. You have to deal with the core of it first: why reality is so hard to cope with.

You should also be aware that a couple of traits natural to AS kids can make it more difficult to understand the rules about lying. One is that AS kids are literal. The rest of us are not. Whenever we speak imprecisely and rely on others to inherently understand us by getting the gist, the AS child has the potential to see a lie. They don't understand that you misspoke. They understand that you said one thing but apparently meant something else, and that can be interpreted under logic to be a lie. Why is that important to know? Because children model their parents, and if they are misunderstanding what they are seeing, then they will model the wrong thing. The flip side to the literalness is that we often expect them to understand all the angles to a question without specifying them. The classic example I give is when I ask my son if he has washed his hands. A literal and correct answer will always be "yes," because sometime in his life he did wash his hands. But that, of course, isn't what I meant to ask. What I meant to ask, and should specifically ask, is if he has washed his hands in the last five minutes, or if he washed his hands before leaving the restroom this most recent time. You have to look at every question you ask to see if you phrased it precisely enough to elicit the answer you are looking for when the question is taken 100% literally. With an AS child, there is no, "you know what I meant" because odds are they really don't. If you want to know if they've washed their hands in the last five minutes, they expect you to ask exactly that, without skipping the clarifying words.

Next, because your son has trouble reading social cues, he may have totally misinterpreted the rules. By this age he has probably given up asking when he's confused, because people too often have failed to believe he really is confused, and have reacted negatively. So, he's been left to sort through it and try to figure out what is expected of him while having extremely poor tools for doing so. Odds are, then, that he has reached quite a few wrong conclusions, and those wrong conclusions are affecting his behavior. As I've dug through some of those with my son, I've been really surprised. We're still uncovering them, and I've known about his AS since he was 7! But, well, like anyone; if my son seems to accept something, I tend to assume he's understood it. Apparently not. He just got tired of asking. Having your child echo things back and explain the world and it's rules as he sees it will help you start to sort some of this out. It may seem unconnected to the specific issue of lying, but one will feed the other, so you have to dig into it.

When older kids start to lie, I analyze it a little differently, and the pattern is more difficult to break, because it tends to come from a complete loss of trust in the world presenting or wanting the truth. At 10 I don't think your son is in that place. I think he's coping amid confusion. So ... don't get mad at him. Help him sort through the web and then see where he's at and what he does.


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keiko
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14 Jan 2011, 5:23 pm

I just wanted to tell you Hayley that I know exactly what you mean. My son is constantly telling lies, which we call tall tales. He also lies sometimes when you ask him a question but not always. For him its like a way to get attention. He says he wants his stories to be more interesting. He clearly doesn't realize how obvious it is that the story he is telling isn't true. He gets really bummed out when we call him on it. I hate to demoralize him when he is just trying to make conversation. He is 9. Each story starts with "can i tell you something..." But, I feel like I have to call him on it because if he keeps doing it the kids in his class will hate him. It is annoying. He already lost one best friend because the child didn't like being lied to. Anyway....hang in there.



SarenaTeir
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18 Jan 2011, 10:58 pm

I know exactly what you're saying. Not because I am the parent of a child who lies and manipulates but because I am one. I am now 21 years old and have apparently manipulating people since I was young but I have only recognized this trait in myself recently and with the help of my mother. Perhaps your child is the same, perhaps he doesn't realise what he is doing as far as manipulation is concerned. I wish I could say that being made aware of this trait has made me stop trying to manipulate my family but it hasn't, I still feel compelled to have everyone dancing to my tune. My parents and even siblings however outright refuse to and have always been very strong on this point. Perhaps this is what you need to do with your child, it will not be easy and they may not ever stop but someday they may come to understand as I have after years of being told so that they simply can not have things the way they want them all the time. I hope this helps you.