Posted by: J | 2008/07/15

13 year old son

I have a serious problem with my 13 year old son. He is becoming a compulsive liar and also has no interest in his school work. He will tell any story to avoid doing homework. Normally it is that he does not have any homework, but then his teachers will give him demerit point for failing to do homework. He average around 50% in his schoolwork, however he can do much better.

Last night we had an appointment which he did not want to go to. So when I pick him up from school, he told me that he had a lot of homework to do. So I cancelled the appointment to give him time to do his homework. After we were finished with dinner, I told him that he must go and do his homework. Then he told me that he was only joking and had no homework. By now it was too late for the appointment. I was furious.

What can I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageTeen expert

Hi J,

given what you describe here you have to ask yourself who is in control here? It sounds like you are being heavily manipulated as well as being lied to and that there is a need for strong consistent boundaries. In the early teens there is a great deal of boundary testing and when those boundaries collapse when tested then further pushing will take place.

With homework I suggest you contact the school, and ideally the school counsellor if there is one to come up with a schedule to monitor what homework is set so that he cannot lie to you. As for other boundaries it is about no meaning no, and when there need to be consequences that these are realistic and that you as the parent feel able to stick to them and see them through.

You need to take the control back and make it very clear who the parent is - from this point relationships can improve. Having no boundaries despite how attractive it may look is a very unsettling place for a young person.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Amelie | 2008/07/28

Hi there

I also have a 13 year old son. We use a method of accountability and honesty to encourage the truth. In the past 8 months my son has turned around comletely, stopped lying and started telling the truth. It doesn' t always work but most of the time its pretty cool.

We encourage the truth, and give no punishment when the thruth has been told. At the same time, he is is not protected from taking the consequences of his choice. See, then he starts to make the right choice for himself and not for the parents.

An example would be something he did wrong and got into trouble for. By being honest, he won' t be punished but will still have to face whatever the consequence is. When there is no clearly defined conesquence, he gets to choose a make up task that he does for a period to ' make up' .

When it comes to taking control back, I let him take the consequences of his actions. If a say lunch at 13hoo and he is late - he gets no lunch. If we' re going to the moives and his homework needs to be finished, no movies for him (we still go) if he is late. Same with gym. On any other fun thing.

I met with all his teachers one morning befroe school. he was in on the meeting too. it was an open forum. They showed where he was slacking off, and with his co-operation we put measures in pleace to prevent him from getting away with it in future. Now he plays along, does his share and gets the rewards of doing fun stuff and being a apart of outings, etc.

By giving him by-in he started feeling as if he was responsible for his life and not just being ordered around. By not sheilding him from the consequences, he has learnt that his actions can have a pretty glum effect on his life - while ours still goes on. He now does things for himself, and not for me.

Its been quite remarkable.

Reply to Amelie
Posted by: Xiao97 | 2008/07/21

I' m only 14 years old but I have a suggestion.

Before I also never use to do my homework at all and I was extremely unorganized and lazy. So what my mom did... she phoned the school and asked them to phone her whenever I never did my homework.

So than the next time my mom recieved a call she would punish me by like not letting me go out with my friends, taking my Ipod or playstation away.... anything like that

Since than I' ve always been doing my homework.... I' m just telling you what worked with me but you could maybe try it too.

Reply to Xiao97

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