Monday, May 10, 2010

Honesty . . .

So, I was reading over at Kelly's blog about her frustration with a child's lying. I started writing a big, long comment and decided it morphed into a blog post.

Now, I am well aware that my world may be a different than most, but here's what our life is like with regards to lying. . .

I have a thing about truth. I do not lie. I am honest to a fault. I also have very little tact, but perhaps that is a post for another day! I detest lying. I would rather be irritated you did something stupid than not be able to trust you because you are a liar. I am a pretty good judge of truth-sayers and liars. I can usually ferret out a lie a mile away. Maybe it is 20 years in daycare, but kids can rarely get away with a lie from me . . . my husband is a horrid liar so he doesn't even try!

Dustin is a liar. It is compulsive. He will have pudding on his face and in his hair: he could have the spoon in his hand and the lid could be stuck on his forehead and he would swear he DID NOT have pudding. He will see me watch him hit the dog and look at my face and say, "What? I didn't touch the dog." His favorite thing to say is, "I did not do it, I was at school". He will say this even if it is Saturday. He is a blatant liar and a sneaky liar too. He refuses to tell the truth even when I say "I know what you did, I saw you" and even when I tell him the truth. He will lie till his toes curl up and die!

In my opinion the problem is two fold. One part is definitely brain damage. He has no object permanence, he cannot fathom how I would know he ate pudding if I did not see him do it. Here is an example from this weekend. Robert sent him downstairs for a cup of 7Up Saturday night. He took forever to come back upstairs. We knew he was getting into something. We did not know what. We were tired and did not care to fight about getting the truth. Sunday morning I cam downstairs to a HUGE sticky spot on the floor. A spot the size of 3/4 of a 2 liter of 7Up. When he came downstairs I asked him about it and he said, "I didn't do it." I said, "Dustin I know you spilled the 2 liter and you are not in trouble. It was an accident. I just want to tell you next time to let us know so we can clean it up before it gets sticky." He still refuses to 'fess up. I let it go. He knows. He knows I know. That is enough. Later, he said to me, "I thought it was disappear before you saw it."

It took me years to decide in my own mind that that is enough. I very rarely punish or give consequences for lying anymore. It wasn't working so why was I doing it?? It went against every grain in my body, but I had to give it up. It was doing nothing more than making me irritated and it was simply proving to his warped sense of fairness that I could not be trusted.

That is the second part in my opinion . . . TRUST. You cannot have honesty until you have trust. These kiddos are so broken and damaged to varying extents. If the child cannot trust how that adult will react, how can they bring themselves to be honest? Honesty tends to open them up for disappointment. Trust takes a LONG time.

Many of you will have varying degrees of success with squelching the lying. I am not sure that Dustin will ever trust us enough to tell the truth. I have decided that I need to accept where he is and it has to be enough for me.

What's your experience with lying? Any success?


Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I've always identified that sort of obvious, ridiculous, pudding in the hair sort of lying as a major factor in FAS. In fact I used to pick out the kids at "Juvie" that way, without looking at their diagnosis.
Is there something that can be done about it? I always thought it was one of those things, not much can be done about it?
Anyway, I do have an idea that is sort of, well, crazy. What would he do if you called him down and said, Dustin I spilled soda on the floor last night and did not feel like cleaning it up, would you help me?
Just a thought! I don't know much about FAS, and my kids still lie, so take that for what it's worth!

marythemom said...

I don't ask anymore. Not,"Did you do it?" Never, "Why?" I just politely ask the child to fix it/ clean it up... If they get all defensive and yell, "I didn't do it!!!" I merely (calmly) reply, "I didn't say you did," and politely repeat my request. I know they will not/ cannot admit to it, so it takes the pressure off.

If it turns out the child really didn't do it (I have 4 kids so this is always possible although I'm rarely mistaken), everything is still OK, because I didn't falsely accuse anyone (and I'm sure the "innocent" child "owed" restitution for something!).

Mary in TX

MomInTheTrench said...

Same here. Butterfly will lie the same way and take it to her grave. I used to feel like putting her there when it was happening, but I gave up too. Punishing it doesn't help, getting upset doesn't help. . .it is what it is.

I agree completely with marythemom. I don't ever ask. I know if she's answering a question, she's lying, or at best, manipulating the asker in some way.

I definitely think this is part of FASD. And with five kids with that diagnosis, I have to say that I think the lack of emotional intelligence that I see go along with it is a big factor. They really cannot fathom that anyone else is smart enough to tell that they are lying. And they cannot imagine that lying to someone else hurts them. In fact, many of mine will lie to try to make sure I don't feel sad. It's messed up.

marythemom said...

Mine don't have FASD, but they do have RAD which is also brain damage. It prevents them from understanding how I could possibly know they are lying (has to do with the lack of understanding object permanance).

As to "fixing" the problem, I don't know. I do know the brain is pretty amazing and you can teach it to use different pathways that "get around" the damaged part, but it's hard work that requires conscious effort and the kid has to want to do it.

Mary in TX

msnkrey said...

My kids are all grown but when they were small and lied to me I had a very simple easy way to find out. I told them to open their mouth as I had to look inside to see if there was a white dot on the roof of their mouth. If there was a dot it meant they lied to me, if there was not one they were telling the truth. I explained this to them and made sure they understood it. Well if they were lying, yep you guessed it, they would not open their mouth. easy peasy as Sheri would say. This may or may not help you with your child but it sure worked for me.

marythemom said...

That reminds me! Lisa at Grateful House has a Lie Detector Test that she uses. It didn't work for my kids, but that could be for a myriad of other reasons. Check it out!

Mary in TX

Sheri said...

Mary, The Lie Dectector test works for my littles, not for Dustin.

GB's Mom said...

Hi! This is my first visit. Thanks for the support- not only was it appreciated, but I found your blog. People that have raised NT kids have it harder than those who haven't had a lot of experience raising NT kids. They are always caught unaware of just how different it is and the different skill set you need for our kids.