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Our 8 year old, talks back a lot and started lying! Last night there was an argument over him lying about taking a shower so I said, this isn't the first time this week you lied about taking a shower or brushing your teeth and because of that there will be consequences. He asked what it was? So, I said I am taking away your tablet. He only gets his tablet on the weekends and its limited so I know he loves his screen time. He response with, oh its okay, I have other things like my motorcycle, bike, razor etc. He is not affected by this at all. What would you do? How would you have handled this situation? I feel like I don't know how to parent this kid and its exhausting.

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    "It's OK, I have other tings" is one of my son's stock responses when he's told he can't use a gaming device. It never turns out to be true. Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 11:21

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Let's start by saying it's important not to take things personally.

I think there is some merit to there being a possible loss of trust, feelings of being unheard, or feelings of invalidation coming from your son that he may be experiencing.

Advice I can give is to stay curious: why does your son not want to brush his teeth? Why does your son not like taking showers at the frequency you have established?

Understanding his underlying reasons may lead to compromises instead of threats of punishment. It's not that punishments in and of themselves are always bad, but there is merit to not using punishment as a first resort.

Starting from a place of your son is "good inside" and is "struggling" is better than viewing your son as being "defiant" or "a bad kid". How do you view your son right now?

Your son's feelings are of extreme value and making him feel safe is of top priority when deep connection with your son is your core value and goal.

Remember to stay curious. Get inside his head. Find out and validate his feelings. He may be more receptive to the good habits you are trying to build for him 🙏

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It sounds like your son is struggling with a negative label right now, and your goal is to change that to a positive one.

You want to give your son the feeling that he is trustworthy. And the only way to do that is by showing him that you trust him!

  • Assign him a task to do that requires responsibility
  • Catch him doing something right! When you notice any good act or improvement, no matter how small, praise him and encourage him.
  • Be a storehouse for his outstanding moments. Recall times in the past when he's made you proud. Not in a comparative way - do not compare his past behavior with his present! This is just another way to show him love and approval.
  • Don't call him out for dishonest behavior unless you are 100% sure, without a doubt, of what happened. Give him the benefit of the doubt as much as possible so that he'll see that you trust him.

Additional resources:

"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
"How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk"

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It's exhausting because you're trying to restrict a human being who, like all of us, desires freedom and pushes back accordingly.

Your son has started lying to avoid punishment. Punishment does not teach your son the importance of showering – it only teaches him that he cannot trust you.

How would I handle the situation? I would quit forcing him to take showers; I would get rid of bed times and screen times.

It should be easy to persuade him of the value of taking showers (though it may be harder now that he doesn't trust you as much). I wouldn't try to persuade him of going to bed when he doesn't want to, or of not using his tablet when he wants to use it.

Once your son sees that he can trust you, and once you learn to reason with him, things should get easier.

The only legitimate time to use force is in genuine emergency situations. I go into more detail here in my blog.

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    The rules are outlined here: How to not be a spammer. In short, the answer must be a real standalone answer and not just a means to market a link, all affiliation must be stated clearly and unambiguously.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 5:52
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    No, thank you! My child trusts me just fine. That's not the problem. We have rules and will have rules in this house and he will learn to follow them. Honestly your response is not helpful at all. Children need structure but thanks for your 2 cents.
    – user45190
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 13:18
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    If he trusts you just fine, why does he feel a need to lie to you? Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 13:49

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