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17 year old can't stop lying

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Old 12-14-2004, 12:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1
mariagonzales HB User
17 year old can't stop lying

My 17 year old son has had problems with lying since he was in 6th grade.
Mostly it has beenconcerning his avoidance of schoolwork.
When he was younger he was an exceptional student, was in the Gifted program.
I think his problem might have started when his teachers started letting him slide, because he is an amiable kid and very pleasant. When we were at his 8th grade conference his teacher told us again he was failing math because he doesn't turn in work ( he tells us does) but it was O K and we shouldn't worry.
We pulled him out of that school the next day and homeschooled him for 2 years, in which we also took college courses.
He is very involved in music so whan a charter school started that focused on the performing arts, we sent him, at great expense in time for us. He continued to be a poor student, and would avoid work and study. He would lie when asked about work.
When he gets caught in his lies, we take priveledges away from him, but this seems to have no effect. I think if we took everything away from him he would gladly sit in his room and stare at the walls.
Last month he had a gig with his band that they had worked long and hard preparing for. A week before his gig, he violated a big rule and then lied about it. When we found out, we took the gig away from him. This caused great hardship with his band. He seemed remorseful and realized that he was risking so much by his deceitful behavior. We thought he might have finally learned a lesson.
This semester he has been attending college classes; he gets dropped off in the morning by his father, and I pick him up after class at noon. He had added incentive of a cell phone if he could get a B or above.
Everyday when I picked him up, I would ask about class, and he wopuld tell me what they did, what they were studying.
Last week, which was finals week, we got a call from his professor wondering if everything was alright. It turned out not only had he missed at least 6 classes, but also the final.

He now has no priveledges. We took practically everything away from him. He has no band, not allowed to leave the house, cannot see friends. And he still won't back down , we still see no change now after a week of this that he is willing to change. All we get when we ask why does he continue to make such poor choices and risk everything he has and his relationship with us is " I don't know".
He hasn't apologized, and he has no plan for the future. At this point he thinks that working at a job with no skills for minimum wage is his future.
He thinks that 40 hours a week is easier than the 4 hours of schoolwork that he had to do. He doesn't seem to care at all for our feelings or what we expect of him.

His father and I are at a complete loss.
Please help us. This is tearing our family apart.

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Old 12-14-2004, 01:54 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: North Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 814
valleygurl HB User
Re: 17 year old can't stop lying

Hi There, I have a 17 yr old son also who has ADHD, OCD, and ODD. So i know what it is like to have all the problems with school. My son is a senior this year in a private school and he may not graduate because he is behind on his work. I talk to him (at least i try, but getting him to sit, listen and understand what i am saying is very hard. He is very outspoken) about working harder and bringing his work home, but like your son, he NEVER brings any work home. Ever since he was little he always said, " i sit in school and try to work all day. Why should i have to come home and work on it too. After school is my time."
Let me ask you, what is you and your husbands expectations of him?
If he were in public school, would he be a senior?
Is there an close older friend or relative that he feels close to and confides in?
If not, have you considered finding him a counselor that he feels totally confortable with so he has someone to open up to and talk about what may be making him act out with the lies?
Heres another thought. My sister has 2 children and her and her husband have very very high expectations of them. If their children get a grade less than a 91 they are reprimanded and punished. Their 16 yr old daughter has to maintain her high honor status or else! So what i am getting at is this, the 16 yr old daughter (my neice) confides in me. She feels that her parents just have to high expectations of her and she feels that she is so afraid of not doing good enough for her parents and disappointing them. She is stressed all the time. Maybe your son is feeling the same way. Just a thought, I know you are having a hard time right now. If you can figure out the root of his problems and better yet, what he is feeling, things could be straightened out and get alot better. Talk to ya son, ValleyGurl

Old 12-14-2004, 02:43 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Titusville,FL USA
Posts: 496
Blue2U HB User
Re: 17 year old can't stop lying

Maria -

I'm having the same problems, only my son is 14, please see my post "what else to do" .....He also lies about school work, tells me he has no homework, etc. Everytime he gets into trouble, when asked "why" his response is always "I don't know".

My son is also heavy into music, at 14, he is a master at the guitar, he has 6. I've taken all his guitars, amps, tv, stereo, phone, etc. everything away from him.

He was expelled from school for use of another students prescription drug and when asked why, his response was "I don't know" and that "Other kids were doing it"

My son has been an angel until this past year and I am at a loss. He doesn't seem to care about anything except making poor choices / decisions and doing what he wants.

It's honestly as if he doesn't think he'll have consequences or that anything will happen. When something does happen, it's always "I don't know why" or "Well, I knew a girl that did this in school last year and she didn't get into trouble"

I have sought a therapist, and upon a few visits .........honestly, there is nothing wrong with him. There is nothing disturbing him. He doesn't have underlying issues of his father not being here, nothing drastic / disturbing as happened to him. He's really NOT a candidate for therapy as NOTHING is wrong with him.

He continues to make bad choices and step over boundaries. The therapist pretty much told me, this is MY fault. I have not kept up with my boundaries or punishments in place. My son gets in trouble, he's on restricition for a week or two, big deal. Taking his stuff away has not been enough to get his attention, because he KNOWS or THINKS I will relent in the end.

I don't know what else to do, besides remain strong, love him, continue on with the punishments and not give in, not relent in a couple of weeks, not say "what the heck" because he seems not to care anyway, etc.

It's been 5 days since my son was expelled from school and sent to an "alternative school". Today was his first day and he was already suspended for defiance. The principal told him no earrings, however, when he saw other kids in the school wearing them, he decided he could also. WRONG. He was suspended for 3 days. When asked why's because "everyone was wearing them" .......When I questioned the principal, he stated, yes, but he didn't tell everyone to take them out, he told my son to take them out. And that my son needed to learn WHO he was to listen to ....which was not his peers and that these are the consequences when listening to peers. A little harsh .........YES. But maybe he needs all the consequences for his actions until he finally realizes.

I feel like such a failure, like this is all my fault. I've yelled, screamed, cried I'm just sort of numb.

I probably haven't been a help .........just wanted you to know that you're not alone.

Old 12-15-2004, 06:28 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 496
Mica09 HB User
Re: 17 year old can't stop lying

Maria, I think your son's problem needs more attention than just punishing him. There is something going on that needs you to seek professional help. There IS a reason why he's sabotaging his life and you need to find out what it is. It could be soooo many things (fear of failure, drugs, depression, sexual orientation (happened to one of my friends - fear of parent's reaction) etc., another person that I know had trouble with her daughter and found out that she had been sexually molested from someone outside the family - took therapy to get it out).

Maria, J, there is a book I recommend very strongly (that you can read with your teens): "Strategies of Life for Teens" by Jay McGraw (Dr. Phil's son). It is written in a way that teenagers can relate to. Very common sense book.

Old 12-18-2004, 05:02 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 110
Fallen2love HB User
Re: 17 year old can't stop lying

I'm not going to read all the replies...but this is my feelings!
I'm 18 so i'm not to much older than your son.

My mom would punish me in elementary through HS, I would be grounded for a week if I forgot my agenda -- but I knew what my homework was and did it. If I got below a C in any class I was grounded. I got no reward for the good grades, so I had no incentive to make the good grades.

I have just recently realized what I want for my life isn't want my family wants for me. My family wants me to go to a 4 yr university, majoring in something that makes big bucks. What I want to do is work with children. I would be perfect content, working at an average job, doing something average. I just want to work with children!

The only reason I went to a university vs my local community college was my family and now I regret that. because I just waasted almost $2,000, in schooling costs. When I can spend apx $1,000 and be out of school, with a normal paying job, working regualar hours [40 hrs a week], etc.

Your son may also be going through the phase of finding out who he is, not what others want him to be. One big thing my mom did wrong, is talking AT me not TO me. There is so much I wish I could talk to her about, yet I can't because she wont listen.

Old 12-19-2004, 03:19 PM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Jacksonville, AL USA
Posts: 997
siren1024 HB User
Re: 17 year old can't stop lying

As I read that post, I could've thought you were talking about me. I was the gifted child who breezed through school and skipped a grade in elementary school. Then in high school I began neglecting my school work and lying to my parents, never doing homework, procrastinating.... in college it got even worse. I have taken a break from school since we moved and I got PG, but I have ALOT of catching up to do when I go back.

I made a 32 on my ACT and got a 4 year scholarship to college, which I promptly lost after the first year because I failed to maintain the minimum GPA requirement. In my case, there was no apparent underlying cause.

Except lately I've had the time to reflect on myself and decide what my problem is, and one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. FEAR OF FAILURE. As long as I breezed through school, I was fine. My teachers let me slide too. By the time I was challenged enough in high school to need to study, I had no idea how. I still to this day don't know how to study effectively. That led to me making a C in math. I had never even made a B before!!! I cried my eyes out. And from that day forward, I took a carefree attitude towards school. I feared trying and failing, so I just didn't try at all. I became the class clown, the talkative all around kid, and I made no secret about the fact that I never did my homework. I managed to graduate in the top 20 just on my brains, but then college did me in. I was scared to death to fail at something, so I didn't try, that way I could be in control of the outcome. It's so much better to squeak by with a C than to work my tail off and not be "perfect." Know what I'm saying? I was always expected by everyone to bring home the A's. So rather than not be able to meet expectations, I purposely shot below them. This was so subconcious with me at the time. I didn't even realize it until the last year. I'm also a musician, a vocal/choral major in college. That's my first love. But I still didn't do very well because of the devestation I would've felt if I had worked hard, sung my heart out, and still been criticized or recieved a lower grade.

Other than giving you some possible insight, I have no advice. I'm 24 now and still wishing I had made different decisions. My parents grounded me in high school for my grades. It didn't do any good. They offered me rewards, nothing. I feel like I've wasted opportunities, but I'm happy with my husband and children. I have no idea what to tell you to do with your son, but I hopefully gave you some insight.
Married 09/28/2002
DS born 07/05/2003
DD born 3/24/2005

Last edited by siren1024; 12-19-2004 at 03:22 PM.

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