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megan0071234
megan0071234 asks:
Q:

My second grader is lying, doesn't do his work, and doesn't follow directions.  I'd love any suggestions

My second grade son Gabriel is going to drive me to an early grave. Since preschool, we have had issues with following directions & doing work when it is work time; throw in a nasty lying habit about his behavior, and you have my son. Gabriel is very smart & can easily do the work assigned to him. The teacher has no problems with his work whatsoever except that he doesn't always finish because he is fooling around or playing with his school supplies. Gabriel has been tested for ADD more than once, and no one believes this is his problem. He simply is bored with the schoolwork & doesnt want to do it.
My biggest problem with him is his constant lying about everything. For two weeks straight he told us he had green cards; come to find out that was most certainly not the case. Lying comes so easily to him- I can't trust anything he says.
I need to know what I can do to help him become better. He needs some kind of help. We have tried both punishing for bad behavior & rewarding for good, but during the day he never thinks about the consequences of his actions.
I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 16, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Your question contains several important topics related to dealing with your son's behaviors.  First, in relation to his schoolwork--communication with the teacher, organization skills and structure will be very beneficial in helping him.  Talk to the teacher on a weekly basis to see how he is doing with completing his work.  If your son knows that you all are on the "same page" each week, it will be more difficult for him to not be honest.  Also find out where your son is sitting in the classroom, if he is in the front of the room he will be less likely to get distracted by others. You could also consider a structured study time at home, free from distractions and where you are able to monitor him if you feel that would help.  

Second, kids often have difficulty telling the truth.  They usually are attempting to avoid conflict, punishment, or embarrassment.  This may also mean that they do not tell you the whole story in order to avoid information that may get them in trouble.  It is often easier for them to tell a lie than to admit responsibility for their behavior.

Something to keep in mind when talking to your son is to keep your questioning neutral, don’t make accusations or interrogate him as this can back him into a corner and he may resort to lying in order to avoid punishment. Set him up for success to tell the truth by not trying to trap him in a lie.

Often parents want to confront their children right away. Sometimes it is helpful to wait until you've thought through how to best address your suspicions.  You may also want to let your son know that the consequence will be much less if he is honest about what he did wrong.

As a parent, role model apologizing for your mistakes and admitting faults.  This helps them to see that it is OK to make mistakes and that it is often easier to just to “own up” than lie or make excuses.

Hopefully some of these ideas can help you to get your son on track. Always remember that praising kids for being good can be more effective than negative consequences-so try to catch him being honest and getting schoolwork done. It is great that you are looking for ways to help your son, we wish you the best!

Boys Town National Hotline an Education.com partner
– 1-800-448-3000 / www.boystown.org


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Additional Answers (8)

kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hi Megan,

This sounds like such a frustrating situation.  The good news / bad news is - you're not alone!  Lots of parents have to deal with their kids being dishonest.  We have a couple of articles that I hope will help give you some good ideas about how to help change your son's behavior.

 http://www.education.com/magazine/column/entry/Lying/

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Power_Struggles_Kindergarten/

Good luck and please let us know how you're both doing.  Hang in there!

Kat
Education.com Community Team
> 60 days ago

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jgoff30344
jgoff30344 writes:
I bet you are at your wits end...  Below are some questions and suggestions.  Hope they are helpful.

1. Has Gabriel's teacher filled out a Vanderbilt scale?  If not, it can be a very valuable tool for you.  There's a teacher form for observations and one for parents, too.  You can both have a conference and compare notes.  I would suggest finding a doctor who realizes that a child's behavior is quite different in the classroom w/other kids than when he's in the doctor's office for an half hour.
You can find this scale online if you decide  to take a look.(Vanderbilt Behavior Scale)  Doctors are very familiar with these scales and may be able to give you some advice.
We , as teachers, often talk with children who say they're bored.  I've offered project ideas and other creative outlets to these students but only AFTER they have done the work that is required.  Everyone is different.  I have told my kids that is no such thing as being bored because there are great books to read, doing research on the computer or designing a new board game to teach the class. Maybe the teacher and your child can brainstorm some ideas.

It's really hard for kids to understand they have to do work they aren't excited about.  This is just "life" in general and can't be avoided.

Lots of luck to you-  Joan   Teacher - going strong after 29 years of teaching.



> 60 days ago

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trintristansma
trintristan... writes:
Oh my gosh, This sounds exactly like my son! He hates homework, it is more of a struggle than any kind of learning process at all. He is now getting in trouble in class for not wanting to do his work, he is very smart I just dont understand!
> 60 days ago

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mbowling10
mbowling10 writes:
I'm a student at Baldwin-Wallace, currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program. In my experience with children, one of the biggest factors in lying is a child's fear of disappointing someone, whether it be a parent, friend, or teacher. Also, as far as ADD tests go, doctors typically don't like to diagnose that so young, because of the recent trend of it being over-diagnosed.
> 60 days ago

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Ellithea
Ellithea writes:
Well Megan, what i would do is talk to him about what could happen
if he doesn't do his work or give him at least 1 or 2 days of not
having any electronics.
> 60 days ago

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NannaHelen
NannaHelen writes:
I would advise that, in the short term, you help your child organise himself. Keep in communication with his teacher so that you know what needs to be done. Sit with him and help him with his schoolwork. Don't complain or blame him: just do it with good grace.  Also, help him remember all he needs to take to school each day.

In addition, for the long term, spend some time with him each evening, reading to him or playing a game. Have fun and reconnect. At the same time, he is learning to sit still awhile and concentrate with his favourite person. (This won't work when he is a teenager so work on it now)

A fellow teacher did this with her son and he really changed becoming more organised and capable. Good Luck.
> 60 days ago

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Lauradiazallen
Lauradiazal... writes:
My children were going in this direction when I discovered a curriculum called "Love and Logic". I've been following it for a year and my life has gotten much easier. It's all based on giving children choices without any coercion and responding to their actions with compassion. I told them I was trying something new that would help us all stay calmer and avoid spanking. The gist of it is that you give children choices that give them back good control and you're ok with: would you like to do your homework now or after snack? (usually choose after snack). Do you want me to tell you when it's time or do you want to set the timer? When they're done with snack/it's time, you say it's time. Do you want to get your homework out by yourself or do you need help? Do you need me to read your the questions out loud or would you like to try? The idea is you give them choices ad nauseum. If none of this works and they throw a tantrum, you calmly say: I see that you're not ready to do this. Feel free to go express yourself in your room. When you're ready to be a big boy/be calm/be sweet, you can find me in the kitchen. I'll be happy to take  you to your basketball practice when all the homework is done.
This is a general idea. Please google them. Super helpful. Caveat: in order to do this you really do need to give up total control and be calm. I gave up coffee and went back to yoga just to be able to carry this out. HUGE pay off though! Good luck.
> 60 days ago

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HeatherPeterson124
HeatherPete... writes:
I think it would be better if you can supervise your child in whatever he does. A matter of communication will also help your child. Tell him what you feel if he cheated or lies on you.

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