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I believe my 12-year-old daughter is a compulsive liar

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I believe my 12-year-old daughter is a compulsive liar

Postby wunderhill » Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:18 pm

Okay, I'm new here, but I'm distraught over these problems with our daughter. She is 12 years old and has always told a lot of lies very easily, many times when not necessary. There have always been harsh consequences for lying, but she continues and says she doesn't know why. They just come out before she is able to process that they are lies. I am once again very embarrassed because of a disciplinary issue that arose at school that stemmed from a lie she told. Once again, we're punishing her at home, but it just never seems to work.

I should note that she is my adopted daughter from my husband's previous marriage. Her birth mother was in her life until she was 6, the last two years of which she only had every other weekend visitation and my husband had full custody. So, I started out as her step-mother, and she had to deal with feeling like she was thrown away by her birth mother. Needless to say, it's been very difficult dealing with her issues, and sometimes I'm acutely aware that our handling of her often annoying ways can be adding to her lack of self esteem. But we've always tried to be a normal family and not treat her special, which is one piece of advice we got from a counselor when the adoption took place. She has two little brothers, 7 and 4, who are my natural children, and she is a great big sister most of the time. She did not skip a beat or have any issues with the birth of the first when she was 5 1/2, and likewise with the second when she was almost 8. That we know of, anyway.

Any advice on how to "cure" the compulsive lying? It's kind of a viscious cycle we're stuck in. I know she probably lies because she has low self esteem and craves attention no matter what kind of attention it is, but she's been behaving so badly lately, we can't turn on positive attention and reward her for the bad behavior.

We are a Christian family, and all three children attend a local Christian Academy. So, of course, scripture plays a part in our discussions with her. However, we are not over-the-top Bible thumpers either, so please don't take the angle that she's rebelling against an over-zealous, Christianity-shoved-down-the-throat situation.
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Postby bereft » Sat Sep 15, 2007 3:14 pm

Hi Wunderhill and welcome to the forum,

I am a mother of three grown children, 1 son and 2 daughters. My biggest regret with rearing my children is that I didn't become pro-active with my middle daughter when I realized that she lied compulsively. I think with her it was a manifestation of many other issues that are still wrecking her life today.

If I had it to do over again, I would ignore those who told me she would grow out of it. I would take her to a good child therapist and make sure she received the best treatment earlier rather than later.

Your daughter has experienced many issues beyond her control during her short life. Having a neutral party with whom she can be completely honest without fear of any type of repercussions or judgment would be very beneficial to her.

I am not saying that you or your husband are judgmental people, or bad parents, but some children perceive that their feelings will be or are misconstrued by their parents. Sometimes they just want to please so much that they are less than honest in their behavior and answers. When their deception is later revealed, they feel guilty, and they try even harder to please leading to more deception.

Good luck to you, your daughter, and your family,

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