Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Dishonesty and Asperger's

The latest issue that we have ...

You all have heard that kids on the spectrum can't lie, right?

Well, today's post wants to kick that concept's butt.

Our son has been lying for YEARS.  He doesn't do it to get stuff, or bug us, or much of the typical reasons teenagers lie.  But, in one of the typical teenager ways, he lies to get out of doing homework.  He says he has done it when he hasn't.  He says he doesn't have tests at school that week when he actually does.  Last night, he wrote down the answers from the back of the math book, but DIDN'T show his work -- an obvious ploy to get out of doing the work.

Thing is, he's really good at lying.  He's such a good kid in every other way, that when he does lie, it's like a smack to the face.  A punch in the gut.  A real downer.

This boy is a people-pleaser.  He really wants to make his parents, teachers, and other authority figures happy.  When he lies, he sees it as a means to an end -- make everybody happy.

Trouble is, it never, NEVER works out that way.  Parents now have access to online gradebooks, and if you have to be as fanatical as I do to try and catch the huge variety of ways that my son can slip up, you know when your son is lying.

Last year, when the meds were working phenomenally well, there was a lot less lying.  The meds were working, and the school load was good.  Nothing seemed insurmountable.  THIS YEAR, however, there has been a trial of a new honors class, and that is proving to be difficult... thus, the lying.  Trouble is, he's also lying about the other classes that are NOT difficult.

I am mystified that, when my dear son is caught in a lie, he is so surprised.  He gets very emotional, and I of course get very angry... but no matter how many times we have a big drawn out fight over lying, he continues to do it.  I have tried yelling, I have tried being very controlled and philosophical.  I've tried every different approach there is.  I've especially tried to explain to him that lying isn't even effective -- it doesn't give him the peace he is hoping for.  Thing is, if my son lies, I CAN'T HELP HIM.  You kind of need a baseline of honesty to be able to deal with problems, and if that baseline isn't there, you really can't do anything to improve the situation until the lack of honesty is dealt with.  I try to explain to my son that we can deal with problems he has in math, as long as he tells us WHAT IS GOING ON.  When he hides stuff, we are basically hand-cuffed.

Currently, I have no recommendations or positive experience about how we managed to get our son to stop lying.  It's unfortunate that he is lying AND his meds currently aren't working -- a perfect storm situation that leads to a bad beginning to the semester.  I will, however, talk with his therapist about the situation and see what HER take is on the subject, and write about it in my next post.

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