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eddy7726
eddy7726 asks:
Q:

My son the teller of tall tales.

My son a 7 yr old 1st grader has been telling tall tales at school.  He insists on the truth of these tales and gets into arguments with other kids when challenged regarding the validity of his stories.  He is a funny, bright, charming, intelligent, high energy kid.  Last night he was extremely emotional and sad b'cause he said one of the boys is telling others not to play with him or be his friend.  He wants to be liked so badly.  We spoke about the qualities of being a good friend and about truthfulness - at one point he just ranted on and on about how ashamed of himself he was and how he was a liar.  He has friends but not the "cool" ones.  He mentions one older child over and over, about that boy's control over the other boys, and has implied bullying.  Guidance truly appreciated.
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 5, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out for some help with your parenting issue. It sounds like your son is going through a really difficult time at school; you mention that he is being picked on and ignored by other kids at school. Perhaps this has caused your son to feel a lack of acceptance, which has led him to create these tall tales in an attempt to impress the other kids, look "cool", or to be accepted. Young children (and even us adults) crave acceptance, and when they don't get it there is often a tendency to do some strange things in order to get it.

If you have a hint that your son is experiencing bullying at school it is important to remember that you can act as his biggest advocate to the school faculty. Most schools have an anti-bullying policy which needs to be enforced. Advocating your son's situation to the faculty would be a good way to shed some light on the situation and to draw attention to it. The more eyes and ears there are watching and listening for this bullying would significantly increase the odds that it is discovered and stopped.

You are absolutely correct about wanting your son to put an end to his dishonest statements; you certainly don't want this to become a pattern of lying which continues for some time to come. Speaking with your son about the qualities of a good friend and truthfulness was an amazing step to take. Continue having conversations like this. Also, make sure to praise honest behavior. You want him to know that he is perfectly fine the way he is, he doesn't need to create tall tales in an attempt to impress others. Hopefully you will be able to tell him that attention to the situation will be paid by the school faculty. Less fears of bullying may lead to a decrease in his desire to create stories in an attempt to gain acceptance.

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