Help! SS keeps telling lies (Maybe OT, maybe not)
Hi everyone, I'm so hoping that some of the experienced parents/step-parents can give me some advice. SS8 is, overall, a really good kid but in the last few months he has started not doing things and then lying about it. For example, he has repeatedly skipped brushing his teeth, but when asked he will say that he did; he'll say he washed his hair in the shower but his hair (like his toothbrush) will be bone-dry, and last night after he said he had eaten his dinner I found that he had thrown it into the garbage (I didn't think my cooking was that bad!)
It's not that what he is lying about is such a big deal; but DH and I are concerned because, for one thing, they all seem to be regressive behavior, if that makes sense. Brushing teeth, washing hair, etc. were all things that he had been doing on his own (and should, at age eight). And the lying is completely new and is really troublesome. When confronted that he lied, he doesn't deny that he did; when asked why, he'll say that he didn't think he'd get caught!
This seems to have started at the beginning of the summer, during which three different things happened - First, I am working from home so that he didn't have to go to day care. I set aside break times during the day to do things with him, and we do special things one day each week. His friends are mostly home in the neighborhood so he's not sitting in his room alone or anything, but it is something different. Secondly, he is now on the every third weekend visitation - BM has been keeping this up so far and it's been miserable because he comes home in tears complaining about it each weekend. BM is a complete liar and has lied to SS repeatedly (and to everyone else). The last thing is an issue with one of his friends - the friend used to be a good kid but is rapidly going downhill fast. Friend's parents either ignore/spoil him, he is totally undisciplined and disrespectful, and wouldn't know the truth if it bit him in the nose. And there are never any consequences to his friend for his lying - in fact, his mother has been known to call adults liars for saying that her son did something! (It's very sad.)
So we don't know if any/all of those things are contributing to SS' behavior. DH and I are at our wit's end. SS started with timeouts for lying but it had progressed to day-long "groundings"; last night DH decided that SS was not going to be allowed to attend a sleepover this weekend because of the latest. SS seems to weigh the punishment vs. the crime, so to speak, and decide whether he wants to risk it. But he doesn't seem to really understand that lying is wrong for its own sake.
The thing that really worries me is that I'm starting to wonder if it's intentional - that he thinks he's a bad kid and deserves to be punished or something. We keep telling him that he is good but this behavior is not acceptable, but this is negated by BM telling him every third weekend that he is a troublesome, spoiled brat. Sorry for the long post, but any advice would be appreciated.