I have a manipulative 8 year old. He also has ADHD, and he is very smart. Yesterday he got in trouble on the bus for getting off at the wrong stop. It just so happens that was same stop where his girlfriend gets off (whatever “girlfriend” means at 8 years old… This is the same kid who has posters of Justin Bieber up in his room). So I ask him why he didn’t get off the bus at his stop and he says “I got distracted”. I am not sure how to respond to that. He is “distracted” easily with ADHD, and he well knows I am aware of this. Is he using his “label” as an excuse? Is he lying? Because I am thinking he wanted to sneak over to visit with Little Miss “girlfriend” for a few minutes before snarking home. Does he really think I am buying this? And what if there was a slim chance he is telling the truth?
Not a huge offense I guess, so I am letting that slide, but not the fact that he is using “I got distracted” as an excuse, nor the fact that I think he is not telling me the truth. Yet I do not want to not trust him. So this is how I handle it.
“Just because you get distracted easily does not give you the green light to get out of trouble when you make a mistake”.
“And do not ever let me catch you telling me a lie, ever.”
……… Was I wrong or was I right? In my own critique I should not have said “don’t let me catch you”… because I think that just encourages him to get better at lying, and he is good at it already. He looks at me dead in the face with those big blue eyes tells a boldface lie without blinking once, fully expecting me to believe it wholeheartedly. It’s a good thing I love him so much. I think I’m going to have a lie-o-meter installed on his forehead.
That was a relatively low key issue, but what about adults who lie? I have a problem with a couple of friends who lie constantly (or at the very least they stretch the truth as far as possible) in order to get people (me) to feel sorry for them. I have one friend who has “cancer” again, for like the 4th time. If she were telling the truth about each of them she would be a walking miracle. Another friend is always complaining of being mistreated, but never wants to give me the details. Yet another likes to make a mountain out of every little issue, painting herself to be a perpetual victim. This type of deception is very tough to deal with, because I feel obligated to at least pretend to be concerned, just in case they are telling the truth “this time”. I have to admit, I find myself avoiding these “friends” some of the time, just because of this very issue. I do care about and enjoy being around them, except for this constant deception and overblown victim-ness. Does that make me a bad person?
Then there is this: My family is on a very tight budget, but our income is just over the threshold to qualify for state assisted medical insurance for my son. So I pay twice as much to insure my kid as people who make a couple hundred dollars a year less than me. I was discussing this with a fellow Cub Scout mom a few months back and she said she had the same problem, so she “just fudged a little” on her income. I was so livid I wanted to scream! Then the other day I heard about how this “fudging” is very common, even encouraged by government workers in some programs. Encouraged! What have we come to, people?
…… and now I see my own error in full blown billboard size - haunting me, shaming me --- ”don’t ever let me catch you telling me a lie, ever”
Son, we need to talk!