lovehadleyNovember 18, 2010

SS (8) struggles in school. I can't really put it much more plainly than that.

He had a Science Test this past Tuesday that he'd been studying for for a week; this was the first Science test of the year and a fairly comprehensive one. A study guide came home a week ago, and we spent 10-15 minutes on Wed and Thurs. nights reviewing it. Then DH reviewed with him again on Sunday afternoon, and when he talked to SS on Monday night (he was at BM's) he reminded him to review for the test.

So yesterday I picked SS up from school and I asked him how his test had gone. He acted completely confused and said "What test?" I said the Science test, and he said, "I don't know what you're talking about."

Hmmm. He seemed so sincere---genuinely confused, like he really didn't remember it. He does seem to have difficulty retaining information, so I didn't push the issue. I was hoping, after all the studying, that he would be proud and excited b/c he'd done well.

Anyway, I dropped the matter, but then when DH got home from work, he also said, "How was your test?"

"What test?"

"Your Science test."

"Oh yeah that. I don't know, we didn't get them back yet."

Again, he seemed totally sincere.

Well, later in the evening, I was putting clothes away in his drawers and---in his sock drawer, I found a crumpled up packet. I picked it up---it's the Science test.

With a 1.

I don't fully understand his grading system but I guess--they get 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. 5 would be equivalent to an A, I think.

I told DH privately and he confronted SS. He wasn't MAD or ANGRY, but just said, "Why did you hide this? Were you afraid we'd be mad?"

After assuring him that no one will EVER be angry at him for a bad grade, so long as he's trying his best, then dH dropped the matter.

I personally am less concerned with THAT and more concerned with the continued dishonesty. I understand WHY he did that, but IMO, at 8. 5 yrs old, he needs to have a consequence for being deceitful.

Don't get me wrong, I empathize with him, and I do hope he understands now that he does NOT have to be shamed or feel like he'll be in trouble for a bad grade. DH assured him that we know he studied really hard for the test, and he is NOT in trouble; as long as he tries, that's what matters.

But still. I don't know. I think the fact that he lied a) to me b) to DH and c) went so far as to HIDE the test is not good.

I feel like little things lead to bigger things.

But DH does not think it's a big deal.

And please---no suggestions about tutoring or LD testing, DH and BM think he's fine. I am mum on the subject. Not my decision.

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Not really what you're asking thoughts on, but may I ask why he felt he should lie? I'm going to assume that it's not the first and only time he has recieved a poor grade ...has he lied before and/or tried to hide the grade/paper?

I get that it's the lying/hiding the concerns you, but is it something new? What has happened or the discussion been when he has recieved other poor grades and presented the paper to you/Dh?

I'm trying to remember, has he been lying about other things to of late? Simple things, not brushing teeth, washing hair ect (sorry if I've mixed him up with another poster/child)? I'm thinking if so, this needs to come with a 'lesson' just like any other lies he's been spilling.

I, too, would be just as concerned as you seem to be about the deciet and sneakiness than just the grade. He's 8 1/2, I'd not want a pattern to be set and continued that it's no biggie to lie especially when there is no reason to lie as in this case, you know he studied and tried. I don't think DH should just let this go at least without a serious talk about trust and's not the grade, it's the lying/hiding of it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:16PM
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I don't know if he's lied before or not--this is the first I've been aware of it in regards to school.

He has never gotten *in trouble* (ie---yelled at, grounded, or anything that he would perceive as negative) at our house. DH has reprimanded him for not completing work and then saying "it doesn't matter."

But he's never been given a consequence for anything.

He also does not have many tests. This year (3rd grade) is the first year his district actually gives grades on report cards and tests. So until this quarter, I do not think SS has been aware of his grades persay.

I just don't know. I was asking thoughts on my opinion vs. DH's opinion; I felt something more *drastic* should have happened.

"SS, I love you and as long as you study and try your best, I will never be angry at you for a grade. What I am upset is the fact that you lied about the test and because you lied, that makes me not trust you as much as I would like to. Therefore, I am taking away your ____ privileges for X amount of time. "

That is what I personally think should have happened.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:23PM
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"I feel like little things lead to bigger things."

I agree. I don't have much in the way of advice, 'cause if I did, I'd use it myself to help SD. But, I can say that his behavior is very similar to how SD started out a few years ago... lying that there was no homework/test, hiding it by leaving it her desk or at school until the day she went to BM & then take it there, never to be seen at our house, & I agree it's more about the behavior than the grades. Personally, I thought (and still do to some extent) that it is done to gain attention... more time focused on the 'problem' equals attention. (negative of course).

My only suggestion would be to once again tell DH to get his head out of the sand so he can see that it IS a problem that needs to be addressed & in my opinion, the best way to address this problem is to pay less attention to the 'problem' and give lots of attention when he does the right thing... is honest, does his work, etc. (ie. don't give him any negative attention)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:31PM
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"SS, I love you and as long as you study and try your best, I will never be angry at you for a grade. What I am upset is the fact that you lied about the test and because you lied, that makes me not trust you as much as I would like to. Therefore, I am taking away your ____ privileges for X amount of time. "

That is what I personally think should have happened."

I'd also agree to the extent that there should be some consequence, but we took TV, Radio, etc. from SD because of the problem & she just decided she didn't care about those things (if she did, she refused to show it)... but I'll tell you what really works better with her now: When she WANTS and the answer is "sorry, we'd love to let you __________, but you did this/that & until you do what we want (tell the truth/clean her room/etc), we can't do what you want." Of course, she is pre-teen so that might be more effective but it has worked better than taking things away from her.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:41PM
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justmetoo, I think you're thinking of my SS, who is eight also. Fortunately he has been doing very well with not lying; we've talked to him about how lying hurts others and himself, and also about personal responsibility.

Love, SS hid a test from us as well. He didn't lie about it; he just hid it away. It was a math quiz with only five questions; missing three gave him a failing grade. When we talked to him about it apparently he was so upset with himself that he'd "flunked" that he just hid it away like an ostrich with his head in the sand. He's always gotten A's with one or two B's before; I don't know what happened with this one but suspect he was distracted because it was taken on a Friday afternoon when he was going to BM's that evening.

We talked to him, as you and your DH did, and assured him that we just wanted him to do his best, that we knew he might have a few difficulties with certain subjects since he'd started a different school this year (we'd already talked to him about that), reminded him that he's been improving in handwriting (the only grade he's ever gotten below an A before), etc. etc.

I don't know; I might be inclined to let it go this one time if I were you. I think your SS may be like mine to the extent that the poor kids are never quite sure what might set off their BM's, and I think that fear sometimes carries over when they are with their Dads too. If your SS is usually truthful it might have just been because of the shock to him and the "shame" of having done badly on a test that he'd anticipated he'd do better on.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 1:05PM
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This may not be the case, but my daughter 10 started in a new class last year. She has always done well in school and I had no idea she had been struggling because this school doesnt send tests home. However after studying her little butt off and literally throwing up all weekend (i thought she was sick) she took a social studies test. She came home in tears!! I then found a letter from her to me in the bag. It said. Dear mom, Im sorry to tell you I failed my test (no grade written) Im sure you are very disappointed in me, but were both to blame. Instead of helping me study, you let me play all weekend. So I was not prepared! Maybe in the future you can take my grades more seriously. Love BD

After visiting the school and meeting with principal (wouldnt let me talk to teacher) I found out that half of her class failed and were told to write these letters to their parents. The teacher wrote on the board and the whole class watched her and the Kids who failed write these letters.

I demanded the teacher allow her to take this test over in the office, the very next day (no extra studying) I wantd to see if she knew her stuff or if it was anxiety. well she got everything right but 1 question.

My bd came a long way in school, she could not retain the information in class, this teacher (they wouldnt let her change) had a very organized routine of teaching and read out of books and taught in a old fashioned way. Bd was spacing off and couldnt follow along with half of of the class. This may not be the same issue but I have some tips that helped me make up for what teacher was lacking.

Bd was given study cards and I made matching games for social studies. I replaced monopoly game pieces with question cards. So to buy a property she had to get the answer right. if she landed on chance she had to answer a question until she got it right. All questions were in her study guide along with stuff she already did. This worked for her and made it really fun. For math I let her go on and her math grade went up by 25% again she was having fun. For spelling I did word finds and scramblers. Just some ideas that may help school wise.

As far as lying maybe hes ashamed because he did study but doesnt feel smart. Maybe he just has a teacher who pulls him up to the front to go over it until he answers right (i dealt with this too) Some teachers have students correct eachothers papers. The other students might have made fun of him.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 8:45AM
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My niece struggles in math, she otherwise is a bright girl, we think she started school too early. She just turned 9 and she is already in 4th grade.

Last spring my brother went to see a principal and ask to retain her (my niece herself said "dad i think I want to repeat 3rd grade because I don't get multiplication"). Anyways principal said "no", she struggles but it is not bad enough to retain. So my brother got her a private tutor over the summer, and she is doing much much better.

I don't think his lying is a big issue here at all (it is his defensive mechanism), him doing poorly is a big deal. I know you said not to advice anything on tutoring (whats wrong with tutoring) but if mom and dad think he is fine (fine failing at 8?), then what do you think we could suggest?

I think both parents know that there is a big issue with him struggling but it is much easier to focus on his lying about his grades rather on the real issue here: SS has difficulty with school work. I wonder if both parents are not very scholarly type and did not do well in school themselves? I have met parents who said "I did poorly in school myself, so i am not surprised", so they do nothing about it.

It is not nice that he is lying but that's not the real issue here, why aren't mom and dad addressing real issues here?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:07PM
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I'm wondering if he has a learning disability? If he studied for the test and failed, I can see why that would be very discouraging for him and why he tried to just forget about it.

When you helped him study, did he seem to retain the information? Just wondering why he did so poorly when you and your DH took time to help him with it.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 2:17PM
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lovehadley said not to suggest tutoring and testing because parents think he is fine. ???? I find it rather strange because what else is there to suggest besides actually doing something to help him?

If my child studied for that long and failed, I would be extremely alarmed and lying would be the least of my problems. I think if I studied for something for that long and failed, I would lie to people out of embarrassment too, I would probably tell everyone that test was canceled. It must be a huge blow to child's self-esteem and huge embarrassment.

Yet the focus is on him lying and how he should be punished, not him unable to perform at grade level. I feel horrible for a kid. But again let's not suggest testing or tutoring.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 3:05PM
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Parent, I too feel bad for SS---I said not to suggest tutoring/LD testing becuase I KNOW THIS. I've talked to DH until I'm blue in the face about it.

But I am *just* the SM and there is nothing I can do aside from talk to DH, WHICH I have already done.

I did NOT mean that tutoring wouldn't be beneficial, I simply meant that it's one of those things I've already brought up with DH, and my hands are tied.

I think SS is in trouble academically; if he were my son, I would be doing more but he's not, and it's not my *business.* BM makes that ultra clear and DH treats me like an unpaid nanny, as well.

I DO think the lying is a concern---I agree the BIGGER concern is the academic issue but, again, that is out of my hands. I think there are TWO issues here and I think that addressing the lying---multiple times---WAS something that needed to be done.

An EXPLANATION for why he lied (which I DO understand and empathize with) is NOT an excuse.

Feeling empathy for SS's situation does not mean condoning the reactive behavior.

BM struggled in school very much and was even held back a year---in 4th grade, I think.

Anyway, this post is a couple weeks old, so...;)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 3:15PM
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I guess we differ here. I spent over 20 years educating struggling teens, he might not have to feel ashamed, but he does. And until they do something about his situation he will continue lying and he will lie more and more until they address the cause. Consequences for lying will not fix anything, he will be more inventive and will hide it better. That's how it works. I am very sorry his parents have their heads in the sand. But you are right, there is nothing you can do.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:18AM
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I agree with those who say that lying is not the issue here. Or, rather, let me put it this way: I certainly agree that lying is a problem. But the circumstances of this lie change things for me. I, too, like blueheron, would be very tempted to lie in this situation.

He's scared to death -- he tried so hard, and he still failed. He's deeply ashamed. Please don't give him something else to be ashamed about -- lying -- right now. There's just no room for it in his poor psyche at the moment, and the poor little guy could get overwhelmed and seriously depressed.

"I'm a failure AND a bad person. I'm not only stupid, I'm dishonest. They SAY they love me no matter what, but how can they? They just say that because they feel sorry for me. I'm no good."

I know you don't want that.

There is just a difference between lying about stealing money out of your pocketbook, or even about snitching a cookie before dinner, and lies like hiding urine-soaked sheets, or this. Some lies are just about not wanting to get caught; some are about not even wanting to think or talk about something that is very painful.

But even if he is developing a pattern of lying about all kinds of things, not just covering up that of which he's ashamed, I would deal with it later on. Sometimes, like picking battles, you have to pick your ... I don't know, "projects" or "objectives" with kidz. And right now, it's just got to be his inability -- if that's what it is -- to perform adequately in school. I mean, he's in, what, 2nd or 3rd grade? They aren't exactly trying to trip them up at that age. I would let lying issues go for right now; this is too important, and it is causing him too much agony, to be anything but the ONLY thing you are working on with him now.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 5:28PM
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you are right on gelchom...

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:18PM
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I'm a little late in the game but here's my 0.02.

Kids lie. They lie even when it's easier to tell the truth. Our job as parents is to teach them that lying doesn't benefit them.

SS lied three times. To me it's obvious he's feeling badly about the outcome(ashamed/upset/disappointed in himself). He studied and he did not do well.

Well, it happens, right? We've all studied for something or practiced something and had it come out all wrong. It's a horrible feeling.

But lying doesn't work. I would explain to SS that if we don't know what happened we won't be able to figure out how to fix it. Lying about the test will only get you in trouble for being dishonest. It doesn't solve anything. If you tell the truth it may be painful and embarrassing but you will not get in trouble. We all know he tried, he was helped with studying, right?

School is not for getting A's. School is for learning. I don't think he should be punished for this lie if this is the first time he's lied about a test. I think explaining why lying 3x about the test is not effective and not ok; and that if he lies in the future there will be consequences is the best route.

SS, you know lying isn't ok. We're here to help you, but we can't help if we don't know something is wrong. What do you think happened on the test? How can we help you to do better in the future?

Gellchom, they do try to trip them up in 3rd grade. My dd came home with a test that was horribly convoluted and when I spoke to the teacher she told me nearly every child in the class got that question wrong. DD's always coming home and saying "they trick me" about questions. It's really hard to take.

PO1, if he keeps lying about tests and the parents do nothing to help him do better on tests yet punish him for his bad grade and for lying then yes, there will probably be continued lies.

But I don't think that's what's going on here. There needs to be a clear explanation that bad grades do not automatically equal punishment; they are just an indicator of where we need to work harder. But lying WILL lead to consequences.

Because that's how it works in real life, too.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 11:30AM
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"I would explain to SS that if we don't know what happened we won't be able to figure out how to fix it. Lying about the test will only get you in trouble for being dishonest. It doesn't solve anything. If you tell the truth it may be painful and embarrassing but you will not get in trouble."

I think this is really accurate. It kind of reminds me of parents saying---as mine actually did----when I was a teenager, "You can call us, no questions asked, at ANY time, does not matter if you are drunk or at a party, whatever, if you are in a bad situation and need help (a ride, etc.) CALL. We would rather you call and ask for help than anything terrible happen. You will NOT be in trouble.)

It's sort of along those lines.

Yes, with SS the underlying issue--struggling academically---is the ISSUE at hand.

But lying doesn't solve anything and only makes problems worse. :(

It doesn't make it worse for US but for him. Kind of like----getting a speeding ticket and then tucking it away, pretending it didn't happen makes the outcome WORSE.

Now, SS is only 8, and it's a little different, but I do think little lies lead to bigger lies.

I am NOT unempathetic (is that a word?) to his struggles AT ALL. I helped him study for that test; it's typically ME who quizzes him on Thurs. nights before his spelling tests, me who does his weekly math packet with him, question by question. I care about him and want him to do well. He ALWAYS gets 100% on his math packets b/c I go over it with him and help him correct the ones he's missed.

I enjoy seeing him do well and am sad when he feels bad because he didn't. :(

And I agree---the struggling in school is the BIGGER issue.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 11:45AM
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My parents told me the same thing. But if I had said I was over at one friend's house and really gone to another, and LIED about it. I would be in BIG trouble. The problem was not the disobeying or the bad behavior. The problem was not owning up to the truth.

The thing is, most things in life can be fixed. I backed the car into another car. Ok, that takes money and maybe a driving lesson. I stole from a store. Ok, community service or restitution. The only thing that really, really cannot be fixed is physically injuring another person.

Here's an example. In my city recently a girl was drinking at a bar. Driving home she ran into a guy who was changing his tire on the side of the road. She left him there, literally a block from her house. When she got home the neighbor heard her calling her dad and saying "Dad, it's not my fault it's not my fault". She then walked back to the scene and observed the cops trying to help the guy, who was by that time dead.

Ok. This was a great example for my daughter because everyone was talking about what kind of person would go off and leave someone on the side of the road. Well, she didn't want to get caught!!! She knew she had done wrong. She was scared, right? After all, she was ONLY 19 years old.

I told DD that drinking and driving is very wrong. Never drink and drive. We will always come to pick you up. Or get a cab to the house and I will pay for it. ETC.

1. So the girl made the first bad choice; to get in the car and drive, drunk.

2. Then she hit the guy. If she had stayed with him she would have been in trouble. Yep. She would have gone to court and gotten in big trouble. It would cost a lot of money. People would be mad at her. But he would still be alive.

3. So she made her next bad choice. She kept driving home and left him there.

4. Then, once she was home, she could have called the police to help him. She didn't.

5. She made her last bad choice, and IMO, the worst one:

She called her dad and said "IT'S NOT MY FAULT".

To me, this is inexcusable. This is what makes me think her parents failed. This is what made me feel like breaking something.

I told DD that she made choices:

1) to drink and drive
2) to not stop and help someone she hurt
3) to not call police to get help for the person she hurt

But the worst choice she made was to not accept responsibility for her choices.

1) A DUI is inconvenient, expensive, and embarrassing not to mention that you or someone else could be hurt.

2) hitting someone with a car and injuring them, combined with a DUI, is serious and will be a memory you will have to carry your entire life. You will get in trouble.

3) Leaving the scene of an accident is really really bad. Really bad. Not helping someone, even to flag down another car to get help, is inhumane and cruel.

Because she made these choices, instead of having to go to court and lose her license for a DUI, or having to pay restitution for hospital bills while the man recovered; this young woman who was going to school to be.....

wait for it....

A FRICKIN' NURSE for goodness sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Will probably not go to college now. Who will trust her to be a nurse? All the college money will go toward her lawyer fees. She will go to jail. Her name is smeared all over the papers. People will probably never trust or respect her. And the worst part is that she killed a man. It was his birthday, and she killed him.

I wouldn't leave a dog on the side of the road.

Bad choices. But the worst one was that she didn't accept responsibility. If she had been the kind of girl who didn't lie, who accepted responsibility for her actions and did the right thing EVEN if she's embarrassed or ashamed or scared she will get in trouble; but she probably would not be going to jail right now. The young man would probably still be alive. Better for him, yes, but better for her too.

The lying definitely needs to be addressed.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 12:20PM
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"PO1, if he keeps lying about tests and the parents do nothing to help him do better on tests yet punish him for his bad grade and for lying then yes, there will probably be continued lies."

But that's what happening, I keep hearing how he struggles in school yet his parents say he is fine, they try to help him their own way which is clearly not working so he keeps struggling and he'll be lying until the real issue will be addressed. They are not addressing it.

Lying is bad however real issue is still not addressed, until it is addressed he will continue lying. If he is punished for lying, he will become more inventive in hiding. I find it very typical that people would much rather address issues of lying rather than true reason for lying, it is easier to address lying.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 4:52PM
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