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Lying, stealing, and broken computers...

Dear me, it's been a long time since I blogged and this is mainly because the things I have to blog about are not necessarily things I want to have to think about too much...

In the Weekend Australian Magasine last weekend there was an article titled, "Why children lie, and why it might be a good sign" - or something like that, I'm far to self-involved at the moment to go rifled through Dave's study to find the exact title.

Now Dave doesn't usually by The Australian, as he's a confirmed The Age reader. However, lying is something we deal with a lot in our house, and so he thought it might be a helpful read.

In a way it was helpful.

It wasn't really about small kids, though it started with small kids, and with how, in our society these days, there is a tendency to want to put an innocent face on lying in 3 and 4 year olds. We want to say, "The child doesn't understand what lying is, or that it is harmful."

It's funny, I've often said to other parents of small children who lie that what the child is doing is creating the reality they WOULD LIKE to have. Ok, so while this might be true for a child who hasn't developed "Theory of Mind", it can't said to be true for a child who is quite obviously using lying as a tool to gain the outcome they desire (a child with theory of mind).

Erik showed very early signs of theory of mind. He was only about 18 months of age. He managed to convince Dave and I, who were in another room, that he was stuck somehow and needed us to come and free him. The goal of this exercise was to get us to come spend time with him in the bedroom, when we'd previously been engaged in a conversation in the loungeroom and had dismissed previous attempts to draw us into the bedroom.

I was THRILLED to see Erik had started to develop theory of mind so early. It was a strong sign that he was indeed very intelligent, which was something I had hoped for my child...

Well, the Weekend Australian Magasine concurs. Children who lie convincingly and early, who are able to concoct tales to back up their lie, are indeed intelligent...

HMMPH!

Ok, so the article went on to say that if lying is not dealt with immediately and the child is still relying on lying at the age of 6 or 7, to manipulate their environment, then chances are, they've formed a long term habit that might be very difficult to break.

Well, isn't that delightful. Our nearly NINE year old is still lying every day, several times a day.

So, WHY do kids lie... Because...

- they want to avoid punishment.

- they want to have an easy relationship with their parents, which means making their parents feel good about them and their choices.

These seemed to be the main reasons. One deceptive, and one altruistic (in the child's mind).

The article said that research had shown that teens typically lie about around 15 topic, ranging from who they spend their free time with, to using drugs and driving in cars with drunken friends...

It seems to be completely irrelevant what the child's socio-economic or cultural or religious background is. Bored children and overscheduled children lie as much as each other...

Once differentiator seemed to be that children of parents who tried to "understand" the child's need to lie, and so let it go, "because all kids do this stuff", were MORE likely to lie than children of parents who set boundaries and enforced those boundaries. About three times more likely. So, the article said having a few firm rules that were consistently enforced was better than just accepting that children will break rules, so why have them.

They said that children don't mind arguing with their parents as much as their parents mind it. About 46% of mothers believe arguing is detrimental to the relationship, whereas only 23% of teens believe this. Teens who argue with their parents are MORE LIKELY to be telling the truth than those who do not argue (and are therefore more likely to just be telling the parents what they want to hear)...

Bugger, bugger, bugger... This parenting gig is soooooo hard!

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Ok, so how does all this relate to me? Well, we've been struggling for years with the Erik stealing (mostly food stuffs) and then lying to cover up the stealing. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING we do or say seems to have any sort of impact. I'll just add here, to save face, that Luey and Bryn don't seem to have this issue at all... Therefore I'm inclined to believe that it isn't actually something we DONE or NOT DONE to/with Erik... I won't buy that we're just incompetent parents... But it does FEEL like we are a lot of the time.

Erik doesn't lie or steal at school, at least not that the teachers are aware of (but again, he's is a very convincing liar, and it's usually only my instinct that tells me he's lying, not anything outrageous that he tries to tell me, or any other evidence I have)...

We've taken him to the Behavioural clinic at the RCH, and they seem to think he's a lovely little boy (not that he isn't) who is charming, socially well adjusted and bright. Oh, and we're doing a good job with him. Last week's appointment with the school counsellor pretty much showed us that she feels the same way...

So, essentially, we're making a mountain out of a molehill.

Yet every day he steals and lies here at home. He ate all of Bryn's breakfast on Wednesday, and also stole $3.20 from my purse to spend on lollies at school (even though he is black banned from the canteen for doing exactly that), he was going to see if his teacher could lift the ban...

I've got an appointment with a specialist paed. the week after next to see if he steals because he has anxiety - and I'm going to ask them to check blood sugar and thyroid because he mostly only (about 99%) steals food - so I'm wondering if there is a biological impetus for this...

My instinct says, don't let this go. But the professionals are saying, hey, it's normal, it's all good...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On top of all that, my laptop has had a tanty and packed up shop. I know what the problem is, but because it's going to cost at least $200 to fix it, I can't even look at getting it fixed for another 2.5 weeks. I'm sneaking time on Dave's computer (he knows I'm on here, but I have to limit the time I'm on here because his computer is in the study and poor Bryn isn't really allowed in here.

I'm a little depressed atm. Partially because I'm not dealing with the stuff with Erik very well, and I feel this space developing between us (mostly because I feel so angry and hurt). Partially because I'm addicted to the net, and not having free access is depressing me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We got a last minute appt. with RCH to analyse Erik's allergies - thanks to a cancellation... This should have been a 10 month wait, minimum, and ended up only being about 1 month, so very happy with that!

And lo and behold! Erik doesn't seem to be allergic to peanuts afterall!!! They tested him twice (the lady doing the testing said he was the best patient she'd had in 6 months, no squirming or crying) for it, but only the mildest mildest reaction, which they said is nothing basically. We have a program for slowly reintroducing peanuts over a 6 day period, just to be sure though.

Turns out he IS allergic to dust mites and two kinds of grasses. So, where we previously haven't been treating him for shortness of breath when running around at school - because we just thought he was being a silly bugger and running past the pont of reason, we now have to make sure he takes some ventolin when that happens in future because he is probably reacting to the grasses on the oval (where he runs around the most)...

So no epipen, but he has to have ventolin...

We have to go back to RCH in three weeks time if the peanuts were not successfully reintroduced.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pregnancy wise, I'm coming up to 17 weeks on Saturday. I have a midwife appointment next Wednesday morning. My big scan is the following Monday, so if bubs feels like being co-operative then I might be put out of my misery on that day...

Comments

Stitch Sista said…
Have noticed your absence on AB!!

Just wanted to say that being a good parent doesn't mean it isn't HARD, and hard EVERY SINGLE DAY .

It is so hard when you base your feedback solely on what your child is doing at any given moment. Mine has spent about 90 mins so far this morning griping, whining and crying over every little thing (and this is the 4 yo!) and it's impossible not to feel on some level 'what have I done?' And this is something I have dealt with every single day for months and months it seems with no let up. What to do? Keep trying to be the best parent I can I guess...hold on until it stops...I wish I had some answers but maybe I'm already doing it yk? It's just I'm not getting results as quickly as I'd like!

Good to know Erik isn't allergic to peanuts! That will save at least a few headaches I imagine!
Mary said…
Hey Sif, great news about the peanut allergy, but so sorry you're having such a tough time with E.
HipbubbyMama said…
Sorry about the stealing stuff. No idea what to say so just *hugs*. Yay on no nut allergy!! Hey, his asthma sounds very much like L's. Liam has to have a puffer in his bag, because he is prone to asthma only if he's run around a lot.I haven't deduced whether it's related to pollens of cold-perhaps it's both. Crap re your lappie, hope it's fixed very soon!!

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