Possible Reasons Behind The Behavior And Ways To Manage It
While not every child with ADHD is inclined to tell lies, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and lying go hand in hand together often to the chagrin of every parent. To make matters more complicated, with kids in this condition, confronting the behavior like how we do with regular children doesn’t always work. According to psychotherapist Amy Morin, LCSW, “A few simple changes to your parenting strategies could give your child the tools he needs to manage his behavior more effectively.” So how do we discipline our ADHD kids who frequently lie?
Determine What Caused The Behavior
There are three possible reasons why kids with ADHD don’t tell the truth.
- Firstly, they have trouble expressing themselves. ADHD kids have difficulty with their processing and communication abilities. They might tell a lie thinking that they’re just communicating themselves with what they believe is an honest way. They might have forgotten and tell lies to cover it up. Or they just may be struggling to honestly convey what’s on their minds or what they exactly feel.
It’s not that ADHD causes kids to lie. For some who have the condition, the opposite even happens – they just can’t help from blurting out the honest truth!
- Secondly, compulsive lying in some ADHD kids might be a sign that they’re suffering from low self-esteem.
- Thirdly, lying could be an ADHD child’s way of dealing with the things around him. Aside from suffering from low self-esteem, maybe he doesn’t want to be perceived as a failure for failing too much or being too forgetful.
Addressing Both The Condition And The Behavior
Know and understand what caused the behavior.
To gain parental control over your child’s lying tendencies, try to understand every circumstance wherein he felt compelled to tell lies. Example, if he lies because he’s struggling with a particular activity, check on him from time to time, give him ideas on what to do and support him until your child reaches the point where he’s not afraid to fail anymore. “ADHD is a challenge, not necessarily an excuse for kids,” says Steven L. Pastyrnak, PhD, of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Michigan.
Don’t call them names.
What your child needs from you is compassion and understanding, not judgment and punishment.Lying might be something they don’t intend on doing, so don’t label them as such.
Point out the behavior to them.
Not punishing your ADHD child doesn’t mean you sweep up his lies under the rug. On the contrary, point out that lying is not acceptable and that they are dishonest not just to you but themselves as well. Teach them to be more honest in the future by pointing out gently but firmly their behavior the moment they do it.
Avoid situations wherein lying could be an option.
If you see your child watching TV during a time where he’s supposed to do his school work, don’t ask him if he’s finished with the latter before opening up the TV because you’re giving him the opportunity to lie to you by answering “Yes” even if he hasn’t. Check his notebooks yourself. If you find his assignments undone, tell him to turn off the TV and do them. Carla Counts Allan, PhD, of the ADHD Specialty Clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, MO, suggests “these tips for time out, whether or not the child has ADHD.”
As a parent, guiding your child to do what is right and explaining to him why a certain way, behavior or character is wrong is part of your responsibility. Help your child overcome his lying tendencies by building up his self-esteem, reinforcing in him the belief that he is not a failure by pointing out his strengths and by purely supporting him in his journey towards adulthood and independence.