On Monday I met with the school counselor. We talked for quite a while and then we had Michelle come in so we could talk with her about her lying. Her teacher has also caught her in lies.
Lying has been an ongoing problem. The incident over the weekend was a huge wake up for all of us. Her lying could have caused trouble for someone if a man matching her description had been around at that time. She put herself in danger going into a home of someone she didn't know. Lied to us, neighbors and police.
Yesterday she went to the police department to retract her false statement. They talked to her for a while about how lies can be harmful.
I asked the school counselor for suggestions for a local therapist. She said I wouldn't find one! I have asked my local friends, no suggestions but I did get one private message from another foster parent telling me that she needs one too so let her know if I find one.
The problem is her lying has become a habit for her. I am at the point where I don't believe her innocent talk about her day anymore. So right now she is only allowed to talk to me about things that she needs. I need a break from the lying.
The thing is, she is still lying. She lied to the orthodontist today. She doesn't even stop and think, it seems like lying is easier then speaking the truth.
I have studied lying for quite a while. Habitual lying, compulsive lying, pathological lying. People lie for many reasons: low self-esteem, to get attention, to make themselves seem more exciting, to get out of trouble, to please others.
I have been reading about adults who lie and it is sad. They lose relationships and jobs. They even move once everyone learns about their lying only to repeat the lying with new people and in new places. They are miserable. Say that they can't stop, that lying is easier than telling the truth. There are many who want to stop but haven't found a way to do so.
I don't want that future for Michelle. Her lying is so bad that if she doesn't make changes now it will become very difficult for her to change. But how do you do that? The thing is, she needs to make that change. She has to decide to stop, think and tell the truth. I already have an "out" in place, if the kids say something that I believe to be a lie I ask them to rethink what they are saying and give them a do-over. All the kids except for Michelle take me up on that.
A big problem is that you can't take away talking. If a kid is raiding the pantry at night you can lock it up. They don't have access so the problem can be stopped or controlled. With lying it is not possible to take away the temptation. Michelle talks with a lot of people during the day and has many opportunities to lie to all of them. Lies that may never be noticed by anyone but her.
This is not something that I can control. However, at this moment I am controlling the lies to me. I will only talk to her about things that I know she has to be truthful to me. I don't know how long I will do this. One site I read say that the way to change is one truth at a time.
I have been talking to Michelle about the long term consequences of lying. I will sit her down and let her read some of the comments made by adults who say they are compulsive liars and hate it. She is the one who has to want the change. She has to understand the damage that her lying is doing.