Posted by: J | 2008/07/18

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:
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I agree with Lin. You and your husband need to devise and clarify a relatively short list of home and family rules, so as to be consistent about them ; if the boy consistently keeps to those rules. let there be a modest scale of benefits or rewards ; and a plan of specific penalties and loss of privileges when he breaks the rules. Such rules would include not lying, and doing whatever homework is prescribed / required. And as Lin says, concentrate on praise and good feelings whenever he tells the truth and DOES do what's needed, so he learns to feel good about behaving well.
And I like aNNa's point about choosing the questions --- not "Do you have homework?" but "Show me what homework you have today".

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Our users say:
Posted by: aNNa | 2008/07/18

Maybe don' t give him so much room to lie - he will always have homework so don' t ASK him - simply tell him to show you what he has to do today.

When he says: " I don' t have any homework" , smile and say " I know that you have, so let' s get started, okay? Do you want a sandwich before we begin?"  Regarding the appointment, make a new one as soon as possible and simply take him - even if there' s an eclipse of the sun!

Reply to aNNa
Posted by: Lin | 2008/07/18

Normally teenage boys goe through something like this.
But, do take away some of is previlages every time he gets demerited. But, also praise him when he does something right/good.
The praising (positive) must outweigh the negative. Also try to spend some time with him to see if you can figure out what' s going on in his head.

Reply to Lin

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