Pants On Fire

I have a son.  He’s a great son.  He’s kind and considerate.  He’s creative and imaginative.  He’s daring and likes to take chances.  He’s 14 and I’m ready to hand him over to someone else to raise.  My son, my beautiful ginger boy, has a problem with lying.  He tells whopper stories that never happened or that have so little truth left you’ve no idea where it started.  He fibs if he gets caught doing something stupid.  He lies outright if he’s caught with something he shouldn’t have.  I can stand many personality traits in this world, but lying just isn’t one of them.  He puts the liar, liar in pants on fire and I’m tired of putting his butt out.  In fact yesterday, he was advised that should this behaviour continue, it would not be under this roof.

I’ve read the books and attended classes.  I’ve listened to other mothers and talked to my own mom.  I’ve tried discipline, consequences, problem solving and rewarding.  I’ve tried embarrassing him, praising him and shouting at him.  He’s been grounded so many times I’m surprised he’s not got roots growing out of his feet in to his bedroom floor.  This is not a modelled behaviour.  This is not something we condone nor encourage in this home.  In fact, it drives my husband nuts how honest I am.  Why then, for crying out loud on a cracker, does my son feel the need to bend the truth so badly it looks like some crazy strand of DNA having a seizure ?

This behaviour has been noted by teachers and they’ve tried to work with him.  It’s been noted by his friends but I’m not sure what they do about it.  Not that I expect them to fix it, but sometimes peer pressure can be more effective.  Except – oh yes, my Aspergers son doesn’t get the whole social thing.  He doesn’t pick up the cues that he’s ticking his friends off and as they don’t yell at him sometimes the impact of his actions goes without notice.  For me ? He has “tells”. Things that instantly give away he’s trying to get away with something again.  And I’m REALLY good at yelling.

Part of the trouble with handling this is that my tea-cup is full.  My husband explained my stress level to the kids with this lovely little story: how many drops does it take to fill up a tea-cup ? Will one do it ? Will one hundred ? Will one thousand ?  Your mom is at one thousand and too many.  With years of trying to correct my son’s behaviour, my tea-cup runneth over and so my patience is in short supply.  Therefore when I should be calm and have perspective about the severity of the situation, I do not.  I have explosions that make Mount Vesuvius look like a child’s toy.  My son is the lone resident of Pompeii running for his dear life when he sees “the look”.  The ash falls in the form of not very nice words that do nothing to correct the behaviour, add to my tea-cup and leave both of us feeling trampled and burned.

So it’s time to call in the professionals.  While I’d LOVE to fulfil my threat of finding him new accommodations, I know I’m too chicken to do it.  However, I’m completely happy to have him talk to a counsellor or some other mental health professional who may be able to help him correct this impulsive, nasty little habit.  As I told my son, I love lots of things about him.  I love all the things I listed above about my son, except the one thing that I can’t stand in anybody.  Honesty requires a strength of character that I’d like to think I’ve instilled in my children.  It takes courage to live an honest life and be able to accept responsibility for your actions and to speak your mind with an honest voice.  If that voice speaks less than the truth, who is going to listen ? Who is going to hear you when it matters ? When the time comes, and you need help to put out the fire, who is going to stand beside you ? Or will you finally get burned.

2 thoughts on “Pants On Fire

  1. Elizabeth this is such an honest and thought provoking post. I hesitated about leaving a comment but then I thought what the hell, I don’t have a mum’s manual either and I can identify with stuff in this post. Firstly, for what it’s worth, I think you’re right to look to others for support and guidance. Our kids are all unique and therefore so are their issues. I’ve been chipping away at this particular issue with my son for a while. In that space of time I have been quite surprised to discover (and slightly ashamed) at how loud and how often I can shout. But hey I’m human, and I don’t have a manual – I’m just trying to wade through this like everyone else. I would be the first person to say I am NOT a perfect mum. I am still a mum in training and I make mistakes. So does my son, but like you lying is not something I can easily accept without steam coming out of my ears. The last time we had an incident that uncovered his lack of honesty instead of shouting I turned to my son and said, “what do you need when you feel like this?” That’s it, that’s all I said. He told me he needed not to be in trouble. He told me that he didn’t want to feel he had let me down. We went for a walk and I told him that in this life when you have done something wrong you need to admit it, take it on the chin and move on. We’re not there yet but gradually he is beginning to understand that it is less painful and exhausting to tell the truth and move on. I know this might not work for everyone but I thought I would just pass it on – one frazzled mam to another. You are a smart, creative and sensitive lady. I have no doubt you will find your way through this. You go girl!

    • This comment brought tears to my eyes 🙂 Thank you for taking the chance to post it ! You are right – no mom is an island and I’m sure thousands have walked in our shoes. However, my loafers are killing me and I’d like this particular part of our journey with my son to come to an end. He wants help with it, which is great, so hopefully we can have less shouting and more talking. Thanks again Jacqueline !

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