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Ask Rene: My Daughter Is Lying About Being Abused!

Creative Commons/karindalziel

Creative Commons/karindalziel

Ask Rene:
My Daughter Is Lying
About Being Abused!

My 11-year-old daughter, has consistently lied about things from an early age. Problem is, I worked more than I was home, and I never really noticed it in the early stages. It came to light when she began accusing my second husband of beating her brothers (his biological children) with a belt, throwing them and kicking them, etc. My second husband is a very passive person and, besides spanking, has never been physical with them. Her accusations came so frequently, though, that I was on a first-name basis with one of the social workers in our county!

Now,  she has accused my new husband of the same thing. She told her therapist yesterday that he beats the boys with a belt consistently. I am a stay-at-home mother for the moment, and I can promise you that this does not happen! There has been one extremely, severe instance where my husband did use a belt, but it was because one of my sons broke into someone else’s home and began going through their stuff. According to my daughter’s account, though, all of the boys get hit multiple times, and it happens quite frequently.

Her lying has got to stop! My husband is active duty military, and these types of charges are dealt with exceptionally harshly, even if it comes to light that nothing is going on. She does not seem to care about the ramifications of her lies, nor does she seem to be overly concerned about how anyone but herself could be affected.

What do I do?! Her therapist has already determined that lying is part of her character, and that she does not think it is important to tell the truth nor be believed when she says something. But the therapist is required to report these types of accusations, so true or not my husband will be investigated. Please help! I don’t want her ruining her life or anyone else’s with this continued negative behavior.

Signed: 

Mom in Misery

Dear MiM:

Wow, I’m sorry to hear you’re in the midst of this. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to work so hard providing a home and opportunity for your kids, only to have them turn around and figuratively poke your eye with a sharp stick. I have my own ideas as to how to handle this but this is going to take a bit more than that so I asked a friend of mine, who works as a life coach, her opinion. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, here’s what I would do if I were you.

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TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER

Creative Commons/Viewminder

Creative Commons/Viewminder

At 11-years-old, your daughter is not a baby and is certainly old enough to understand that what she is doing is wrong. I guess my question is why is she doing it? I’m not sure what kind of answers you’ll get from her but I think you have to sit her down and ask the question.

Read more: Our Story Begins: Of Tampons And Trust

OUTLINE APPROPRIATE
PUNISHMENT

Creative Commons/Foxy Photog

Creative Commons/Foxy Photog

While there may be a deeper reason as to why she’s doing it (to be figured out later) you can at least let her know there are consequences for her actions. What this means is figuring out what she holds near and dear and then using those things as rewards and/or punishments. In the case with my kids, when they don’t do what they are supposed to do, they lose cell phone or going out privileges, which can be akin to severing an arm for a teenager. Find out what your daughter cherishes then tell her she will lose it for a period of time if this continues, then FOLLOW THROUGH!

Read more: The GEM Debate: Rule Breaking: When Should Kids Do It?

TALK TO HER
THERAPIST

Creative Commons/szeberényi adrián

Creative Commons/szeberényi adrián

Now we’re getting to a place that is above my pay grade but I did talk to my life coach friend who offered this advice:

“Her daughter is in therapy and that is the most important thing. The therapist has acknowledged that lying is part of her “character” (I would say it is an “acting out” behavior). Unfortunately, what is being done is what must be done in cases of suspected abuse. Child abuse is taken seriously and mandated reporters must report even suspected abuse. Hitting a child with a belt is considered abuse in California though I am not sure about other states. If you want to spank a child it must be done with an open hand, never on bare skin, you cannot hit so much as to cause bruising (three times at most) never with an object, and never on the face. Basically, a spanking in the bottom with underwear on, an open hand, and three spanks or less.

It is a difficult situation, however, since the daughter is in therapy and the therapist knows about the lying that is a good place for her to start. The mother may want to ask the therapist for a referral for family therapy since it seems to me that her daughter is acting out. Something is making her want to disturb the harmony of the family and it seems like a pattern.”

Read more: The GEM Debate: Should A Mother Have The Right To Take Her Child Even Under These Conditions?

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I think the life coach’s suggestion of family therapy could really help. It might help you to understand more about WHY your daughter is acting out this way and show her that you’re all in this together.

I’m sorry it’s so tough right now. The last thing I would say is this: don’t worry about what has or has not happened or what will or will not. Take this one step at a time, one day at a time. It’s all you can do.

Good luck mom!

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Our Story Begins: The Mommy Montage.. A Dad’s Perspective

 

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