Hey Rosie!
September 10, 2010
I can’t trust my 8-year-old!

Hey Rosie,

I am a single parent of an 8-year-old son. His father died shortly after he was born. I chose not to remarry and dedicated my all to the rearing of my son. He is a lovely child with one big problem that I don’t know how to solve.{{more}}

He tells a lot of lies. Rosie, I am at a loss as to how to get this out of him. I can punish him for doing something wrong because that is evident, but how will I know when he is lying?

I wanted to blame myself at first, because I used to make up bedtime stories for him, but I am sure that he is of age to know truth from fiction. When I find him in a lie, I will express how disappointed and hurt I am and explain that God hates a lying tongue. But later he will be caught in another lie again. I want to be able to trust what he says, Rosie. What else can I do?

Single Mom

Dear Single Mom,

Please do not beat yourself up. You are doing a great job by your son. In fact, before I address our young friend, I would like to strongly suggest that Mommy also take some time to pursue other interests. You cannot effectively give to your son and then deprive yourself, especially if most of your energies are spent on your son. Our children must learn that all of our attention will not be spent on them. They will have to learn to share the spotlight at some point. Just something to think about.

I agree with you 100% with regard to him knowing right from wrong. I feel some of these lies come from the void of his father not being there, coupled with a very vivid imagination. So he just likes to make up stories in order to make the story bigger and more exciting. However, when we lie, it then becomes so easy to continue doing so for the little things.

This is where I feel that he may need a strong role model (in his eyes); someone he respects to help you here. Maybe an uncle, grandpa, godfather, older cousin etc. Someone who can co-sign off with you with regard to his lying and it not being the right thing to do. Maybe you can even use examples (ones that he can understand) of famous people who have lied and had to pay the price.

Then the punishment must be in the form of something that is very precious to him. Whatever the object or activity is, take it away. Not forever, but for a couple of days. Then do not discuss it again – he’s smart enough to know why his video game isn’t plugged into the TV. This will take help from others, a strong resolve, less guilt and the faith to know that your son hears you and will eventually get it. Just stick to the plan. He sounds like a wonderful and “creative” child who only needs strong guidance. Good job, Mommy, and remember, carve some time to take care of you as well.

Rosie

Send questions to Rosie at: [email protected] or P.O Box 152,
Kingstown, St. Vincent & the Grenadines.