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Advice with lying

Hello all.  My husband and I have had our 4 year old son (waiting for adoption to finalize) for 8 months now.  Parental rights were terminated at the 3rd month and ever since then, has not seen his BM or BGM.  He has continued to lie to us about little things, that have no significance and it’s even silly to lie about (ex. we asked him if he had finished his banana snack and he said ‘no’, we went to the table and it wasn’t there…we asked him where it was and he said that now he only ate half and threw it away….we checked…and of course he had finished i….why?) to making up stories.  We understand why he does it but are frustrated on how we can help him understand that he doesn’t have to lie anymore.  We don’t lie in our household and we are very honest with him in regards to what is going on around him.  We have modeled this behavior for him but it doesn’t seem to be sinking in….please, does anyone have any advice on how we can make him understand that he doesn’t have to lie.


Hello.  smile  I am the Mom of 9….5 of whom were adopted from hurting places like your young son.

8 months is a drop in the bucket of the time it may take for your son to feel safe enough not to lie.  You would be wise to concentrate on the reasons behind each lie and fix THOSE.  Until that is done, no progress will be made on the lying.  Ignore the lying, as much as that sounds contrary to “good child raising” and concentrate on the why. 

You can expect a child from a hurting place to be roughly emotionally 1/2 half their chronological age so your son is likely around 2 years old emotionally.  Does that make you view his lying a little differently?  Also, you can expect about twice the time it took to “mess him up” for him to even out.  If he came to you at 4…you are looking at roughly 12.  That is NOT to say that it will take that long for all of his issue to subside but it may take that long for him to catch up emotionally.  Just relax and be patient and focus on the progress he makes.

Bond, bond, bond and build trust!!!  Concentrate on those things and not on the negative behaviors.

Best wishes!

Posted by preparedforrain on Dec 06, 2011 at 8:15am

Thank you for your responses.  I could see how emotionally he is 2 years old…..and that is also a normal part of growing up.  It did take 2 years to “mess him up” and with God’s help we know that he will be just fine.  It’s just frustrating to see how in such a little boy so much could be going on in his little head.  Normal everyday things that I did with my biological daughter are foreign to him and sometimes what I did with her, doesn’t work for him. Our biological daughter is 6 months older than him and she is so mature for her age….but girls do mature faster right smile  It hurts me to see how much he struggles with things and how it’s difficult for him to trust.  His bonding has gone much faster because he learns from our daughter…..but yet it is so different and challenging.  I think it’s time to start ignoring the small stuff and focus on the big picture…..Thanks again.

Posted by Mollybear on Dec 06, 2011 at 12:11pm

GO back and do all those things he is missing. If you go to there is a child’s head. click on it. You can then click on a part of the brain (this is not real like a cartoon) such as touch, emotions put in an age like 3-6 months and they will give you what the child should have learned and ways to help him learn it. That might help.
In our book Parenting The Hurt Child (Keck and Kupecky) we have loads of ideas on how to build attachment as well as explaining why what works with an attached child does not work with a child struggling to attach. Also what might work.
It sounds like you are figuring him out.

Posted by Regina on Dec 06, 2011 at 9:26pm

One thing I have been told is to give him less chances to lie. So instead of asking him if he finished his banana, go see that he did and say ” Thank you for finishing your snack” that sort of thing.

Posted by on Dec 06, 2011 at 11:28pm

Reactive attachment Disorder see blog at on this

Posted by Adopt Inform on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:17pm

as a general overview i really appreciated the book “20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed” She has a lot of great in sight and goods ideas how to talk to adoptive children at many stages of life. Hope it helps.

Posted by on Dec 27, 2011 at 12:44pm

My husband and I are in the family assessment stage of the foster/adoption process, having already gone through a training program at the agency. We are doing a lot of reading and I just finished “Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control” by Forbes and Post. It’s a really interesting perspective on behavioral challenges and there are chapters that address specific behaviors, including lying. The Keck and Kupecky book referenced above is also good, albeit a slightly different perspective. Both made me realize that “normal” parenting styles I’ve seen my sisters engage in won’t necessarily directly translate in our situation, AND that this is OK. I can’t offer practical advice (yet!) but I wish you and your family the best!

Posted by CHart on Feb 06, 2012 at 12:24am

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