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Jun
16

I have been following the Casey Anthony trial currently going on in Florida. As everyone probably knows by now, Casey Anthony is the young mother charged with the death of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.  In 2008 Caylee was reported missing by Casey’s mother. When speaking with the police, Casey revealed that her daughter had been missing for 31 days. She never told any of her family or friends the child was missing. When anyone asked about her daughter, Casey told them about different people she spent time with.  Every one of those stories was a lie and none of the people she mentioned even existed, but that didn’t stop Casey — she kept on lying.

Casey told police that she left her daughter with her regular nanny, at the regular apartment where she always dropped her off, and went off to work like usual. During the investigation it became clear that there was no nanny, the apartment had been vacant for months, and Casey did not have a job. With even further investigation, the police found video footage of Casey shopping, using checks that were not hers, as well as photos of her in nightclubs during the 31 days her daughter was missing.

For three years she stuck with this story that the child was kidnapped by the nanny. She even gave the name of the nanny, who turned out to be a real person, though she’d never met Casey, never worked as a nanny and never lived in that apartment.  Casey told lie after lie, but stuck to each one no matter how outrageous. Casey has been in jail for the last three years. Even after the body of her daughter was found and the circumstantial evidence against her mounted ever higher, she still maintained her innocence and stuck to the story about the nanny.

Casey’s lawyer stated that when the trial began, he would reveal the truth behind what happened to Caylee and the world would finally understand and empathize with Casey for not reporting her daughter missing for 31 days. He claimed it would all suddenly make sense. True to his word, in his opening statement, he claimed that Casey was sexually abused by her father as a child and since the age of eight has been able to survive in the world by keeping secrets and lying. He then claimed the baby drowned in the pool and Casey’s father helped to hide her body.

The case has been highly publicized and I have been following it from the start. Over the past three years, people following the case have tossed out opinions regarding Casey: Narcissist. Sociopath.  Borderline personality. And now, Abuse. If this is true, it begs the question, “nature or nurture?” Is this Casey’s nature, or was she trained by her circumstances to lie?

The reason I am so fascinated with this case is because there are people who lie habitually in my own world and I have been struggling to make sense of it. My stepson is 11 and the lies roll off of his tongue with no forethought. He doesn’t even have time to plan them!  He lies to cover up something he’s done to avoid a consequence. That kind of lie I can even almost understand. Kids lie and kids with ADHD lie a lot. But his lies are more deliberate, more calculating. He will get in your face and be so angry and belligerent when you’re asking about the something he’s done, as if you have some nerve even asking him! He’ll leave you wondering if maybe you were mistaken.  Then the next day he will “confess.” After a week or so he’ll say he only confessed so people would stop questioning him, but that he was innocent all along.  Again, I can almost “get” when he lies after being accused of something, but he also will tell elaborate stories of things that happened that really never did! That’s what gets to me the most — when he lies when there was no reason to lie!

So is this nature or nurture? He has been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as ADHD and anxiety and depression.  He suffered neglect as a baby and witnessed domestic violence. Many children with this type of history have similar symptoms. They lie, they steal, and they hoard food. If you can remove them from their environment early, they might learn to feel safe and to trust the adults who care for them. Maybe not. These are defense mechanisms and maladaptive behaviors these children have used to cope.

My stepson’s mother also lies. She lies all the time. Mostly her lies are to manipulate you into doing what she wants. My all-time favorite was when she asked my husband if she could pick up J. from school at 3:30 instead of at the house at 4:30. The plan was for her to pick him up every other Friday after the bus dropped him at home. More often than not she cancelled at the last minute or asked my husband to bring him to her on Saturday. My husband tried explaining the importance of consistency to no avail. She begged. She pleaded. She CRIED. “I am the mom of the family! I have other children who need to have dinner! The traffic is terrible at that time of day! If you let me pick him  up it gives me an extra hour with him and we can make dinner together! It will be a special time for us to cook together!” So my husband gave in and we arranged for her to get him. The next day we asked him what he had for dinner. He said he had pizza. We asked if he and mom made pizza together. He looked at us like we had two heads. “Um, no. Mom ALWAYS orders pizza on the Fridays when she gets me. It’s a tradition. We even call it J & K pizza night!”

If you confront my husband’s ex with her lies, she will get very angry; how dare you question her! Sometimes she’ll tell you it didn’t happen the way you remember, or that you were the one who lied. She’ll rewrite history and say you did things you know you didn’t do. Or she’ll finally admit that she lied, but in a twisted way will justify why she did. Let’s face it, I could probably write a book with all of her fabrications and the fantasy world she seems to live in. But what fascinates me and makes me crazy at the same time is that she functions in the world, just as I do. She holds a job. Why isn’t she held accountable for her lies? People tiptoe around her.  Nobody wants to confront her — it’s just not worth going to the mat with her over every lie she tells.

So I ask myself, is it nature or nurture? Did my stepson learn to lie from the master? His older brother, at age 14, has commented on the fact that his mother lies. He seems to have just accepted it and adapted.  So did my stepson become the way he is due to the environment he was living in and adapted to protect himself?

The real question is, can we help him and steer him in the right direction or is this something inborn that cannot be changed?

Emmie is the mom of two boys, ages 13 and 19, both with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. She is remarried and her husband also has two boys, ages 10 and 13. Emmie says, “There is always something happening at our house!”


     

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  • another mother Says:

    I have step childrne,whom I have had very little to do with over 25 years,I mean I cooked anfd stuff when they came at holidays but never anything really to do with them,I never got involved,they tell me they thought i would be the stepmother from hell.but that never happened,I think you need to not ask anything of your stepson at all,let him come to you,be there IF he wants you too,show him you care and are there if he needs you,You cannot compete with his mom or with their life so don’t try,live your lives together when you are and just walk away and do something else if nasty ness starts,Thats what I did and my two step children and we are all good now,my two children and my two step children even though they are almost 20 years apart.

  • Psychmom Says:

    Well, I have a 15 year old who habitually lies, despite the fact that he has been raised in a Christian home, with parents that do not lie. He even lies about insignificant things, like whether he brushed his teeth! We don’t hyper-react when he tells us things, so he isn’t avoiding anything like that. He began by lying to avoid school work, and it generalized from there. The question is, how do I stop it?

  • Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor Says:

    ‘Psychmom’: Lying can be so frustrating and hurtful for parents. You have clear moral values that you surely have modeled and upheld in your home. It’s important to remember, though, that at age 15, your son’s moral development is not yet complete, nor has he learned how to empathize with others and put himself in their shoes. Kids lie to solve problems. Take the teeth brushing for example: he might not have felt like brushing his teeth so he solved that problem by telling you he did when you asked him. It’s important to deal with lying in a calm and businesslike way and focus on the problem solving issue, not the moral issue. What was his reason for lying and what will he do differently next time? Have a standard consequence you use to hold him accountable such as a loss of one of his electronics for a short time. This problem-solving is going to be an on-going process that will take time. Stick with it and be patient. I am including some articles about lying for more information. Take care.
    Why Kids Tell Lies And What To Do About It
    “How Dare You Lie to Me!” How to Deal with a Lying Teen

  • emmie Says:

    Another mother: Thanks for your comments. I am glad to hear you have a good relationship with your step children today. I guess I did not make it clear in my blog that this child lives with us. I am his primary caregiver. I have a very good relationship with his brother who we see on weekends and holidays. The younger one very much resents the fact that I am taking on the mother role that he would like for his mother to be taking, although she chose to ask his dad to take on custody because she could not meet his needs. He is very angry even after 2 years and would like to go live back with his mother. There are younger and older siblings still living there but she sent him to live here and he is having trouble dealing with that. We are working on things as a family in therapy. His mother very recently starting to attend therapy with him every other week.

  • parent52 Says:

    i also have been watching the casey anthony saga because my teen is a pathological liar. i am so concerned for her well being. this problem has been going on for years and has cost the loss of all her friendships. we have been in therapy for many years tried all kinds of meds and nothing ever changes. we are exhausted raising her and fear she will not change before something happens that will alter her life forever.btw she has 2 parents that have been married since she is born and has no abuse history of any kind.

  • bubbawithab Says:

    Candidly, you inaccurately frame the problem in the first instance.

    It is neither “nature” nor “nurture” which are sufficient causes for lying [or, for that matter, any other immoral choice] – they are merely external factors, that reduce to nothing more than “the devil made me do it, no it was my genes, no it was my parenting!”

    Locate and define the problem where it rightly resides and it is 90% solved. But that is the rub – dominant 20th century psychology wanted to find exogenous variables that removed personal responsibility and a very empirical Western data set called “sin.” View Freud, Jeung, Skinner, Maslow, Spock [and before that, Darwin and Dewe]y with this filter, and it jumps off their pages. This is the philosophical bias that was built in to most of these child-rearing issues, originating mostly from turn-of-the-century German schools of humanism, philosophy and psychology, which have been largely adapted by American culture.

    Prior to this advent in self justification Western morality, culture and law stood on the idea of the Will being the master of the machine, the grantor of real choices, rather than letting the physical realm act as the philosophical trump card. [re: Casey Anthony and her attorney's claims, see Leopold and Loeb, Nietzsche, and Darrow's defense]. Thus when GK Chesterton was asked to write an essay on the topic “What is wrong with the world?” his answer was simply “I am.” In that, he recognized our own fininitude and thus our fundamental ability to think/feel/do wrong (i.e., sin), as well as right (i.e., virtue). That is an empowering thought… and risky. Conversely, by removing our potential for sin, we have lost this dignity, and articles like this point the reader in exactly the wrong direction. [Sure, it is arguable some of these choices are exacerbated by propensities, but to give them the power of causation misframes the issue.]

    It ain’t the synapses, it’s the sin.

  • jewel Says:

    I pose this question to all of you parents who have children with a lying problem–I ask you to reflect on how you raised them in their first few years of life. The toddler years. I too agree with most of you that this personality disorder (pathological lying IS a personality disorder, often comormid with borderline personality disorder/sociopathy/narcissism) is NOT caused by abuse. Rather, it is caused by a parent spoiling a child in its first few years of life. This is when the child’s personality is developing, when the tracks are laid so to speak. It is during this time that (ideally) a child learns the basics of right/wrong, personal responsability, logical consequences for behavior, and emotional regulation. I find that some parents “love” their little ones to excess and as a consequence fail to instill boundaries or hold them accountable for inappropriate behavior. Some parents actually do shield their child from any negativity, and that includes reprimanding them for poor behavior (lying, tantrums, demands). So the kid never learns to outgrow this selfish toddler stage of being. Not psycholocially. They remain very self-centered just like a toddler. They LEARNED they never have to face consequences for their behavior, they LEARNED to do whatever it takes to avoid responsability, and think nothing of lying. When questioned about their lie it is always HOW DARE YOU question me! Not, gee my lie got caught, the gig is up, time to face what I’ve done. There is never reflection on what they did. It is always HOW DARE YOU question me! This is the supreme selfishness that most normal people cannot comprehend. It’s because they are still operating from that toddler stage of being where the world revolved around them and their were no consequences. Which of course is a time of pure selfishness. All babies are born that way as a survival instinct. It becomes dysfunctional when a child maintains that psychology throughout childhood and into adulthood. And it happens when parents create an environment where the young one gets the repeated message that they are NOT responsable for their actions; that they do NOT need to regulate their emotions; nothing is their fault; they will do anything in order to evade consequences for their own behavior; HOW DARE YOU try to impose anything other than that upon them! They learnt they are NEVER to face accountability for their actions. Thats what happens when a parent overlooks or ignores bad behavior. I know for some its hard to disipline a cute little toddler, but thats parenting folks.
    It’s analogous to this: You know how some dog owners love their pets to death and can’t bear to disipline them? Inevitably they turn out to be unruly, behavioral nightmares, barking and sniping, reacting to the slightest stimuli? Whereas a dog that was actually treated with love and DISIPLINE would take it in stride? The same thing happens when parents do the same to their children. They are essentially programming them to never outgrow the spoiled, irresponsable, no consquences life of a baby. Don’t get what they want when they want it? Cry, scream, throw a tantrum! Asked why they broke/stole something? Lie! Deny! Caught in the lie? Become enraged! Lie somemore! ANYTHING to avoid responsably accounting for their actions. Their parents programmed them to avoid facing consequences. They didn’t do it by abusing them. But by spoiling them. Its more common than you think and so easy to do. But it has seriously dysfunctional consequences. IE your kid will become a liar. It’s very hard to correct that later on in life. It needed to be instilled when they were very young, when their personalities were actually developing (the toddler years). After that, it is VERY hard to integrate it into ones psyche. One can intellectually know that lying is wrong, that tantrums are wrong, and they may effectively conceal this aspect of themselves from the public, keep in under wraps at times (when it is advantageous for them to do so) but they CAN’T maintain it for long. Their nearest and dearest will have to live with the lies and denials. Because it was never integrated into their developing psyches when it counted. The first few years of life are critical for the human personality. We continue to grow mentally, but the personality’s tracks are laid in those first few years of life. It would help if parents realized they are effectively PROGRAMMING their kids. What they do or don’t do to their child during this time will provide the recipe this kid operates from for the rest of their lives.
    Yes, spoiling a child causes them to develop personality disorders, it creates a pathological liar, and, at worse, a sociopath. I realize “spoiled” is a loaded world. It doesn’t necessarily mean a parent bought them material things. It simply means they trained their child into believing they can do no wrong. Thats what happens when you overlook wrongdoing, or fail to make the child sit with consequences to bad behavior. The child learns they can do no wrong. Therefore, when they actually DO do wrong, that CAN’T be, they aren’t capable of processing that (it was never integrated into their personalities as a possability) Therefore they LIE, they DENY, they BLAME. Bottom line…they will do anything to avoid facing consequences because deep down they were programed to believe nothing is ever their fault. Lying and putting a spin on things is their way of life. Because whatever else happens, the one thing they know for sure…there is no way they are going to be accountable for x,y,z if it shows them in a less than brilliant, perfect light.

  • jewel Says:

    Ah, I’d like to add this as I see some here are struggling with older children and trying to set them straight. It will be very hard to accomplish that now. The time for that was in their early years. After 5 years of age or so, their personality is already well established. If they weren’t consistantly held accountable for lying prior to this, they will only resent you now. Sometimes parents didn’t intent to spoil their children, oftentimes they saw it as being loving or protective. They wanted to shield them from any discomfort. And then there are some parents who just looked the other way, gave in to their child’s wants/little fibs/maladaptive behaviors because, lets face it, nothing is easier to do than indulge a screaming child, give it what it wants, and peace and quite resumes. The problem rears its ugly head though when the child gets older, and it becomes less and less cute. The child gets bigger but the toddler like personality remains the same (lying when its obvious to everyone what they did; angry tantrums when asked to face their behavior). If a child gets the message from its parents that it can do no wrong, it grows up to become an adult who believes he/she is incapable of wrongdoing. If they learned they weren’t responsable for their behavior, they maintain that belief throughout life. Lying is a way of life. They don’t care how it affects anyone else. They are selfish to the tenth degree. Unfortunately, these things (right/wrong/, truth, personal responsablitily) need to be instilled EARLY in life. While the personality is actually developing. It needs to be nibbed in the but during the toddler years. After that, it is too late. You could teach them to tamp down that behavior publically through therapy, but it will have limited success. Because deep down, in their personality, in their subconscious, they are still operating from that toddler-stage of psychology. Thats there personality. It’s deeply rooted. It’s not something one can change. You can teach them to cover it up for everyone elses sake. You can teach them how to tamp down certain behaviors, but you can’t magically transform a new psyche. These people were deeply programmed to evade responsability and believe they have every right to do so. What happens to us in the first few years of life is critical. We are so malable then. Toddlers really are little malable beings, and they are being programmed by their primary caregivers. Every little nuance gets soaked up and integrated into their developing psyches. We come into this world like blank slates. We don’t learn to use the bathroom by osmossis–its trained into us, by consistant, repetitive reinforcement. The same is true of our personalities. It’s all about what gets reinforced (or not). That’s what shapes us. When we get older, we can think for ourselves, we are less shaped by environment. But in the first few years of life, I don’t think people realize how EVERYTHING we receive from parents, all the messages they give us via how they treat us, COMPLETELY SHAPES US. One is totally vulnerable to whatever the parents put on their us in the first few years of life. Lying can be deeply ingrained if one doesn’t parent ie love AND disipline. Consequences need to be endured. Or else lying becomes a way of life, for the rest of their life. It doesn’t matter how much a parent tries to undo that damage later, when they decide a lying 10 year old is inconvenient. They should have been on the ball way before that. If lying doesn’t work for a toddler, guess what? They stop doing it! If their forced to experience consequences at this young age, they learn there are consequences! They learn responsability. They learn lying isn’t acceptable. The key is that these basics need to be taught during toddlerhood. After that, well, good luck! They aren’t simple minded toddlers after that, instruction will become more complicated. They are no longer the blank slates they came into the world as. It will be alot harder to stop the lying at this point. Because you have to somehow undo all the original training you did (unknowingly) which caused them to lie in the first place. And people aren’t as easily trained or shaped as they are during the moldable early years. If it works, let us know.

  • realitycheck Says:

    I agree that very young children are completely shaped by their parents and environment. The first few years of life are critical in forming the personality. We are blank slates, being molded by whatever our parents imprint into us.
    Those early years are when we are most sculptable. Everything we experience shapes us. That said,I would have to say that any sort of parental correction applied after those early toddler years would have much less impact when it comes to lying. We come into this world completely vulnerable and scuptable. But as the years pass, this becomes less and less so. Toddlerhood is when we are most susceptible to being deeply shaped by our parents and environment. Profoundly so. The critical shaping occurs during those early years. After that, I can see how it would be harder to correct and get a handle on a lying child. The older we get, the less sculptable we are on a deep level. The first few years of life we are so completely sculptable. That is when proper consequences should be taught. That is when lying should be nixed, simply be showing it is not rewarding. I see that we comeo into this world unshaped, and totally vulnerable to be imprinted by our environment. Yet, as we get older, this becomes less and less the case. Trying to fix a lying problem once a kid reaches a certain age is practically too late. Or at least I should say, much more difficult. And I have never heard a single documented case of a pathological liar (adult) becoming cured. These things have a way of forming in early childhood and taking root.

  • Florence Says:

    This is a tough one, but I wanted to give you all hope. We kept a friend’s 16-year-old child one summer. She was in trouble all the time and the parents needed a break. She was a habitual liar and more. At the end of the summer we were ready for her to leave! She now is 33 years old, has a good job and is a good mom. It took her a long time to get there but she credits some of the things we tried to instill in her that summer as part of her recovery. Never give up hope!

  • Hopefortomorrow Says:

    To Jewels: i have a 12 year old that lies all the time. His father is the same way to this day. I can not give up hope on my child. Through some of this program i have been able to give tough love and i see his behavior slowly changing for the better. Your comments were depressing and hopeless. I can not be hopeless when it comes to my son.

  • jewel Says:

    Hopefortommorow, Yes tough love is the only answer. My point with the previous posts was that the older the person is, obviously it becomes that much more difficult to change their pattern of lying. Afterall, they’ve been lying their whole life and it has WORKED FOR THEM the whole while. Whether you realize it or not, they’ve actually been rewarded for it (by not making them face a suitable consequence you are in effect making lying a rewarding experience for them…you show them that so long as they lie, they never have to be responsable for their transgressions). If it wasn’t rewarding, they wouldn’t be doing it. No amount of yelling or scolding will deter a pathological liar. Because yelling is not an actual consequence. All it does is prove how frustrated and out of control a parent is. The ONLY thing that will deter them is making them face consequences. Consequences that fit the transgression. And you have to repeat, repeat, repeat and never veer from enforcing consequences. They need to learn that they will face a real life consequces EVERY TIME. Your kid lies about stealing? Don’t argue with him or lose your temper…Simply escort him to the store and make him return it in person. That’s an example of a consequence fitting the behavior. Your kid lies about his excessive time or activity on the computer instead of doing homework…then take away his priveleges. Remove the computer physically for a time, if you have to. Consequences need to fit the behavior, fit the lie. It has absolutely nothing to do with yelling or losing your cool, or expressing your frustration to your kid about their behavior. Umm, because venting your frustrations and disappointments at your child is simply that. Venting. It is NOT DISCIPLINE in the least. NONE of that is discipline. There is nothing about losing your temper or yelling that teaches your kid consequences for poor behavior. It’s not even close to discipline and is quite destructive. All getting frustrated does is teach your kid YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL. This is the type of parent that thinks their child should come into this world pre-raised, automatically knowing the right thing to do. No, you need to teach them. Yelling is the lazy parent’s modus operendi. Discipline is providing an acutal real life consequence that fits the transgression, and it is done swiftly, matter of fact, without anger, without frustration. You should be cool, collected, matter of fact. Consistant. Thats how we learn consequences. By facing them. If parents want to make it harder on themselves, they can wait to enact this sort of discipline until the kid is older. The problems and the lies will be a lot bigger, profoundly, deeply ingrained, and a hell of a lot tougher to fix. But if you diligently apply tough love, it will eventually have an effect. How deep an effect, no one knows. My posts were to new parents, who have not yet let their children grow up to expect zero consequences for their actions by relaxed parenting. This whole headache can be avoided if you start early with discipline. It’s easy for some parents to look the other way at their little one’s transgressions. They’re so cute and tiny, afterall. Some parents are too wrapped up in other affairs to apply consistant consequences. They may be engrossed in drama with their spouse, in the midst of divorce, or too self-involved to notice their little ones behavior untill they are older and the problems much bigger. The point is we know what causes this kind of lying. If you want to avoid dealing with a BIG PROBLEM down the road, pay attention to you children when they are little. Discipline should start from the beginning. Not whenever the parent feels in the mood, or way down the line when the kid is old enough to dress, feed, and talk back. Discipline from the start, be consistant, and you WON’T have a big lying problem on your hands down the road. It should really be called for what it is: an accountability disorder. Unfortunately, we train our children into this disorder. They weren’t born this way. They learned it. Through consistant reinforcement from their parents. Fortunately, you can totally prevent this by consistant parenting. And if you weren’t so consistant in raising and disciplining your child and are now reaping the fruits for that…you can still go a long way by NOW implementing consequences for transgressions. It will be harder, and take longer for an effect, but it will still make an effect. And it is the only card we have to play if you want a healthy, responsable, truthful, ACCOUNTABLE human being. Don’t give up. Just know that it may be quite a bit harder, and require that much more effort on your part. But persistance is key. Just keep drilling it into them with real life consequences…until they start to believe that facing consequences is a part of life and applies to them.

  • jewel Says:

    The irony in this is that parents don’t realize they actively conditioned their kids into the liars they’ve become–then they yell and get frustrated at their child for doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY TRAINED THEM TO DO!

    I know no one intentionally wants to do this to their kid. But being unconscious of your parenting style is no excuse. If you don’t make your child sit with consequences that FIT THE TRANSGRESSION early on, if you’re not consistent in implementing this sort of discipline…then don’t act surprised when your child hasn’t learned how to accept personal responsibility. Don’t blame your children for your own failings as a parent. They are EXACTLY what you trained them to be! If they are out of control…consider the source! I think a lot of parents have no clue how to parent. They just get frustrated and yell and that’s it. They consider that “discipline” and call it a day. What do they expect their kids to learn from that? Parenting requires patience, discipline, and awareness on the PARENT’S part first and foremost. The parents have to possess these traits in order to consistently model and reward good behavior and set PROPER, APPROPRIATE consequences to any misbehavior on their child’s part. “Parents” who just yell and vent at their child in lieu of actual parenting are just lazy and totally unconscious of how they’re raising their kids. In truth, they’re not raising them at all…instead its as if they expected their kids to come into this world already knowing proper behavior, as if it were instinctual or soemthing…and they get angry and frustrated at their kid for having the nerve to come into this world as blank slates..needing guidance. As if they expected them to come into this world pre-raised! So they yell at them!!! Act frustrated and disappointed. Hello! Thats NOT discipline. Its merely venting and getting your angries out because you were too lazy or ignorant to actually parent in the first place. But what do you expect? You get what you put in. Your kids are an exact reflection of how you raised them. They’re not a reflection of your best intentions, or your hopes, or fantasies–They are a reflection of what you actually instilled in them. In reality. The actual real life messages and behaviors YOU’VE given them are the ones that shape them. The messages you drilled into them all their life are reflected right back at you. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can change YOURSELF, and stop injecting the poisionous messages you’ve been drilling into your kids up till now. Replace it with new, healthy, responsible guidance. Once you know better, you do better. And that applies to the parents as well. In fact, its paramount that the parents grasp this concept, because if they don’t, there’s no way in hell their kids will.

  • jewel12 Says:

    Emmie, I read your description of your stepson’s mother. I have to say, she sounds exactly like my mother. And I can tell you with all certainty what caused my mother to become such a selfish liar. My grandparents were the most loving, kind, parents ever. But they did spoil her. They treated her like their little angel. She was never, NEVER disciplined. Not once in her entire life. She brags about never having needed to be disciplined to this day. Perhaps thats why she is an adult who throws tantrums and lies EVERY SINGLE TIME to avoid facing consequences. Its a selfish thing. Deeply ingrained. She can’t process the possability that she might be wrong, or that she might be responsable for something she does. All because her parents doted on her, loved her to excess, to the point where it never occurred to them to instill discipline or correction. Everything about her was indulged. Anything unsavory was overlooked. My grandparents are very loving people. Perhaps they were too soft in many respects. Too non confrontational. They saw only the good and ignored, pretended away, never spoke of anything that was unpleasant or difficult. As a consequence my mother learned she could do no wrong. That was the message her parents instilled in her. She was programmed to believe she is incapable of wrongdoing. HOW DARE anyone question her in any regard (be it her lies, her outrageous behavior). She honestly feels it is her right to say and do whatever without being questioned or challenged. No matter if it hurts others. This is the supreme selfishness of a toddler. It will live on in anyone who is raised the way she was.

  • MotherOfTwins Says:

    Jewel, your theory has a few holes in it. There are other circumstances in the lives of children besides “spoiling” them that teach them inappropriate behaviors. I have 5-year-old twins, and one lies while the other one doesn’t. They are both held accountable, by both parents every day. They are both very intelligent, loving, and in most situations very well behaved. One twin has learned that lying can go undetected at times, and when it does, it gets her what she wants. Do some research on the effects of randomly rewarding a particular behavior. I agree with you that being a good parent to toddlers is very important, but it doesn’t stop there. If monkeys can be taught new behaviors, how much easier is it to teach kids?