(Closed) Daughter might be a pathological liar. Help

posted 8 years ago in Parenting
Post # 92
Member
1344 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Just a thought, and I’m not sure if a pp has already said it, because I haven’t read all the responses:

With the merit system, where she chooses a treat once weekly if she behaves, do you think maybe it would work better with instant gratification? I’m just thinking that if she does something good, she waits a week to get the reward, but if she lies then she instantly gets negative attention.

It’s probably not, but would home schooling be an option? It would allow you to very closely monitor her behaviour, while not having to worry about her costing a teacher their job. It would also be a lot easier than having the school do investigations (where she is getting attention), whereas you could just say ‘I know you are lying’.

When she lies, do you ever ignore her? I know it may be tough to tell when she’s lying, but if the attention really is what she wants then I would ignore her any time she says something that could get someone else in trouble (that seems to be a pattern). Just say ‘really? That’s an interesting lie’, then shut her out for a while. She’ll probably argue, just don’t answer. Ignore. She will get no positive feelings from telling the lies if nobody believes her and at the same time you’re letting her know that you no longer trust her and you cannot be manipulated. You will have given her no reward (attention) and will also have punished her (by denying her attention, but also by calling her on it and letting her know that she is not trustworthy).

I am definitely not against spanking, but she is probably too old for that. I think once uou get to 8+ you just don’t take it seriously. As a small child it’s mostly the shock that scares a child. My mum would sometimes hold her hand to my sisters but and then smack her own hand, which worked just as well. I seem to recall getting a smack at age ten and thinking ‘why was that ever scary? It doesn’t even hurt’! So at 11 I think it’s a bad idea. Plus, she’ll probably fight back after a short time and the last thing you want is to get into a Ihysical fight with her.

Post # 93
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4369 posts
Honey bee

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@KoiKove:  yeah, I was also thinking along the lines of BPD. 

Post # 95
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1344 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

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@KoiKove:  

point number 3 is really good advice!

Post # 97
Member
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Is she able to identify and communicate her emotions, like, at all? It sounds like she has a LOT of unprocessed trauma over the abandonment and I wonder if lying is the only way in which she is able to gain some sense of control both over her scary emotions and over her life.

I STRONGLY concur with the bees who are recommending that she changes therapists. She really needs to see someone who will help her get in touch with the emotions that she’s feeling. I also think it would be a really, really good idea for you and your husband to see individual therapists (if you aren’t already), because you need an outlet, too. I’m wondering if your disgust and frustration at her actions isn’t changing (even in subtle ways) how you’re communicating with her differently from, say, your other daughter. Kids really pick up on the subtlest of things and if you resent her at all, I’m sure she’s well aware of it. Not to blame you for feeling frustrated (any human would), but to point out that even if you think you are the picture of placidity, she is probably well aware that you treat her differently than her siblings and could be playing into the role that she feels that she’s been assigned (and, indeed, the role that she’s signed up for).

My heart truly goes out to your family, this is a horrible situation to deal with.

Post # 98
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1744 posts
Bumble bee

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@TexasSpringBride:  I’m sure it must be emotionally draining for your DH as well.  But maybe he could think about how not giving her a treat (that others get) is any different than taking something away from her?   I mean it is different, that’s the point, but the taking away from her approach hasn’t worked.  At it’s base, as a punishment,  she’s not getting something that the others have.  

 

Post # 99
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5892 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

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@TexasSpringBride:  How would #3 be any meaner that taking away her stuff or spanking her. And quite frankly, punishement is suppposed to “hurt”. She has already told you that her current punishement doesnt hurt any more, so she doesnt care if you do it to her. Yeah, she is going to bitch and moan (and throw temper tantrums and things will get worse before they get better), but how else will you know that the punishment is working. I wouldnt just spring this on her. I would talk to her and tell her what you are planning. I would be clear the X behavior would lead to Y reward for someone else. Write it down and have her sign it. 

Even if she cant be officially diagnoised with BPD, she is showing some signs. I would find a therapist that is well versed in  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It seems to work really well for disorder like BPD and Bipolar. 

http://bpd.about.com/od/treatments/a/IntroDBT.htm

http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/borderline-personality-disorder-in-teenagers/

Post # 100
Member
1006 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I came back to check up… and I really think that rewarding the other children might work. I think she would hate it SO MUCH that it might stop her from lying the next time.

I would also couple that with doing something positive later… I like the instant rewarding or on a day when everything seems clam, out of the blue grab her and so something special (so then she still knows she is loved and you wont be worried about her thinking you didnt treat her right, in the future)

Post # 101
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5892 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

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@TexasSpringBride:  Oh yeah, DH needs to read up on Tough Love. In his attempt to be loving, he is giving her all the ammunition she needs to manipulate him. She knows that any punishement she gets will hurt him more than it hurts her. The more you feel sorry for her, the worse off she is. It reminds me of the Dog Whisper (not that I think DD is a dog). But he takes on cases where the owner is so caught up in the dogs past, they cant help it with what it needs now. (By the way, it’s Discipline first, then Exercise, then last Affection)

 

Post # 102
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4369 posts
Honey bee

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@TexasSpringBride:  I think your DH need to not use the argument that you shouldn’t be “mean” to her. Sometimes, parents do things that might seem mean. What you’ve been doing is not working. The meanest thing you can do is continue and let her get worse and, as you’ve said before, let her lying lead to someone or herself in jail. 

I don’t know much about child psychiatry but do remember as a child that I had friends on antipsychotic drugs. Also, KoiKove’s idea about the reverse rewarding of others for her bad behavior seems like an interesting theory. Perhaps a correlary to that where she can also be rewarded is to have a “bank” where the kids earn points for good behavior and gets them deducted for bad behavior. You can make a chart so she can see what is in her bank, and she can trade certain points in for things she would like, sort of like saving money. This way, she is faced with her own progress everyday. 

Post # 103
Member
4369 posts
Honey bee

That way, if the other kids have earned rewards through their good behavior, and she hasn’t, it’s not so connected to you, but to her own behavior and what she has banked. 

Post # 104
Member
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Also, I know that there may well be brain chemistry factors going on here, but I am in general extremely wary of children being medicated, especially children who have gone through some (pardon my french) very fucked up shit in their lives. I’m also highly skeptical of terms like “normal” and “abnormal” when discussing a child’s reaction to trauma. There are certainly constructive & destructive ways to react to trauma, as well as disruptive and not disruptive ways. But frankly, despite what society has conditioned us to believe, a “normal” reaction to one’s parent abandoning them suddenly at a young age is NOT to act “normally,” if that makes any sense at all. I was very much the “normal” one in a messed-up family, and I am just now unpacking the trauma that my brothers were able to explore much earlier in their lives because they were not suppressing their emotions for the sake of “normalcy.” Anyway, this is not to say that your child doesn’t need some serious help and I hope I’m not downplaying the gravity of the situation.

I’m guessing that your daughter never trusted that an adult would actually listen to or meet her emotional needs, so she can’t even recognize them in herself and acts on impulse instead of grappling with what she wants and needs. I don’t think punishing her for this process will accomplish anything (clearly), nor will rewarding her for not misbehaving (since if this is true, she’s only behaving because she hasn’t been confronted with a strong emotion in any given day), though that seems less harmful than constantly punishing her. I wonder if her lies aren’t all triggered by some unspoken emotion that she’s having but doesn’t know how to name or deal with. Maybe she felt wronged by the sub in some way and took back power in the situation in the only way that she knew how.

What if, instead of either acknowledging or ignoring her lies, you viewed them as little arrows that were pointing you to things to explore more fully with her. An example of how to approach this is trying, even in miniscule ways, to try to make her more aware of her emotions at any given moment. You can try in a controlled environment (at home, if you’re playing with her, ask her how she feels and what she wants or needs in that moment. If she seems upset, coax her into talking to you about what upset her, etc.)

Just a thought!

Post # 105
Member
1074 posts
Bumble bee

I know very little about kids in this situation, but my heart goes out to you. It must be incredibly exhausting.

 

The one thing I thought of was a change to the merit system. She seems to seek control over people, whether through lying or throwing a fit. It seems like a discordant message to reward her with control over others (allowing her to pick the last game and set the rules for it, picking dinner, etc.). Perhaps changing the reward to a dessert or a new book would help show her that control is not something desirable?

 

I apologize if someone has suggested this already, I only read the OP’s comments after the first few. I do agree with other PP’s about changing therapists though, if you’ve been diligent with this program for a month+ and there hasn’t been any change and the therapist doesn’t have any new ideas it sounds like a fresh perspective might be a good thing.

 

Post # 106
Member
5658 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@TexasSpringBride:  just a though, and I’m not a parent but as far as school goes is there a chance she’s bored? I really dont have any advise but i do know that kids can act out when they are bored or not being challenged at school. Doesn’t explain or offer anything regarding the behavior outside of school of course :/ I’m sorry you are having this issue and that she seems so troubled!

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