DS "feigns" illness to avoid school!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
DS "feigns" illness to avoid school!
5
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 11:58pm
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to these boards, but I have a situation that I'd like some feedback on.

This morning my DS woke up "doubled over" with a stomach ache and moaning like a coyote. A dose of Pepto Bismol and a shower didn't seem to cure his ailment. When I mentioned that he probably wouldn't be able to attend a sleep-over/birthday party he was invited to this evening, he insisted that if he stayed home from school, he'd feel better by the afternoon.

After telling him several times that he wouldn't be able to go to the party if he didn't go to school, he came to me a few minutes later and confessed that he wasn't sick, but that he didn't want to go to school because he was supposed to do a memorized poetry reading in front of his class and he didn't want to do it. He assumed that if he stayed home from school...he'd get out of it.

I'm obviously unhappy that he lied, even though he did "fess up." I'm afraid that he'll start concocting more elaborate lies over time and I won't ever be able to trust him. He's 10 and in the fourth grade. I told my DH (who's away on business for a few days) and he said we'll discuss it with DS when he returns, but I want to make sure I handle this correctly.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Sharon in NJ

Avatar for cl_janetlh
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 9:18am
Welcome, Sharon! I'm glad you found us and got some quick replies, and hope to see you here often!

I have a dd who tends to get stomach aches due to anxiety. I'm not sure if this feedback will help you or not, but when she's worried about something at school, she can sometimes get a *real* stomach ache. I acknowledge that the stomach ache is real, and then ask if there's something she's worried about at school. After having her do several "feel better" things like pepto bismol, a shower, lying down with her knees up, whatever, I ask her again if she's worried about something. I let her know that I can only help her if she confides in me. When she eventually tells me what is going on, I brainstorm ideas with her on how to cope with the situation. I then send her to school, acknowledging that the stomach ache is real, but that she has to go to school. She has learned that our brainstorming helps, and that I can help her come up with coping strategies for stress. I hope that she'll continue confiding in me in the future so that I can help her! So, I stress the "helping her" rather than the "lying". (In Rachel's case, she's not lying, it's just anxiety, not a virus, causing the stomach ache.) Not sure if this gives you ideas or not, just wanted to present another perspective in case it will help you or someone else.

My son doesn't get stomach aches, but I can tell something is wrong, and then I use the same strategies with him. It takes a little more coaxing to get it out of him, becuase he's "afraid you'll get mad", but I try to stay patient and get to the truth behind whatever behavior is going on.

Janet

co-cl

Janet


Jewish Family Life

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 1:10pm
Thanks everyone for your responses! I did start to say something to my son about "the boy who cried wolf" and he basically blew it off like "yea, yea...heard it before!" He's rarely sick and I'm the type of mother who doesn't run to the doctor very easily (you've got to have a large gash, a body part dangling or a 105 fever! LOL.) - yet I'm afraid that someday I'll think it's a joke, but it will be something serious.

I'm realizing that my son is very secretive about things. My friends' son (my sons' best friend) tells her all sorts of things - stuff going on at school, emotional things, situations with friends, etc. When I ask my son about some of these things (after hearing about them from a "third-party") he barely acknowledges them. "Yea, that happened, but it was no big deal" is his main answer. So between the lying and the "secret things I don't know about" - it makes me very nervous. I work at home, but I'm still a very involved mom - I spend a lot of time at school on various committees, etc., I know his teacher really well; I know all of his friends, as well as their parents; he's involved in a bunch of after school activities - sports; cub scouts, etc. - but I'm worried about him getting older when I'm not able to keep on top of everything like I do now. He's got one more year of elementary before middle school and then things really change!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 8:45am
We have a 10 yr ds who lies alot as well, we are dealing with it with punishments for the lying and beyond that i hope he gives it up when he finally realizes that no one ever believes him for anything!! As far as the faking sick that has not been a problem with any of our kids because we have a strict rule that if you miss school because you are sick you miss EVERYTHING for that day. So far this has worked for us.

~Dawn~

Avatar for digger30
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 7:44am
Been there, done that over and over and over! I've had serious problems with DS on the past with lying. He embarrassed me in front of his teacher in 3rd grade with it. Came home with a band-aid on his arm saying that the teacher dropped the stapler on the floor and a staple stuck him in the arm. I didn't believe that it could happen but he swore that's what happened. Had a whole story about it, even had 2 small holes in his arm where it went in. I mentioned it to his teacher saying how strange it was that it could happen. She had no idea what I was talking about!!! He had scratched it at recess!!!! We had a serious discussion about it and punishment but the lies still continued. I ended up talking to his school counselor about it and she had several sessions with him and it got better but I still occasionally catch him in a lie. He is always punished for it.

I think you did the right thing by really questioning the symptoms. Any caring parent would do the same. I would follow Sherri's advice about the boy who cried wolf. We continually stress that we won't know when to believe him and also that no one likes someone who lies, that they can't be trusted and such. Good luck! Believe me, it will become a habit if you don't nip it now!

Dawn

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 3:58am
Welcome to the board! Lying is one of those things that I just can't tolerate! I think I would point out that I knew he was lying about it and that is why I kept mentioning the sleepover. That I was hoping he would confess and go on about his business. Give him the old "boy who cried wolf" story(what if he pretends to be sick so much and lies so much that he really is sick, noone believes him) and a good talking to about being trustworthy. I'd also throw in a little about how lies always come out and Mom's always know or find out. Then he'd get a punishment with a warning that next time the punishment would be even more strict.

I have two nephews who lie constantly and it drives me insane. The oldest one has been telling kids on the bus that he owns a german shepard dog who is mean and has bitten his baby brother, etc. and the only dog they own is a beagle LOL. You wouldn't believe some of the things that come out of the mouths of those two!

Sherri