“My granddaughter has a problem with lying.”
Dear Annie,My granddaughter is 12 and has ADD. She is continually lying to her Mom and Dad. The lying has been going on well over a year. Her Mom and Dad have discussed with her (and so have myself and my husband) the importance of telling the truth many, many times. They could have a conversation with her in the morning and an hour later she tells another lie. They have tried talking to her, punishing her, you name it they have tried it. My granddaughter cries that no one believes her and my daughter has expressed to her the importance of truth and its responsibility, not only for herself personally but also its importance with family and friends. My granddaughter seems to not care at all. It is creating havoc in my daughter's household and she and her husband are at wit's end. We are all so concerned.
The psychiatrist changed her medication and she is still the same but just eats more on the new meds. He has stated that she does know the difference between right and wrong and should accept her responsibilities.
She attends a religious school with high moral values and she is very good in school, but it is a war zone all week to get her to do homework, chores, etc. She even hates to care for herself personally. So, constant arguing all week to get her to do her personal, home and school responsibilities. But, the thing right now driving everyone nuts is the lying.
What can my daughter do?? This is tearing everyone, apart.
Dear Distraught Granny,
I can certainly understand that your granddaughter's behavior is causing problems for the family. Every parent wants their son/daughter to behave in a way that reflects high moral values and good family upbringing. When a child acts out it is common for parents to feel confused. When reprimanding and punishment do not change the child's behavior, then it's extremely frustrating, of course!
You say that the child has ADD and that her psychiatrist has altered her meds. But you don't mention whether in addition to medication the girl is also receiving "talk therapy" from a qualified professional with experience dealing with young adolescents. If not, she absolutely should be! You also don't mention whether your daughter and son-in-law are receiving the benefits of family counseling. I'm not saying this in order to blame them for their daughter's behavior, but it's true that a family is a unit. When one member has a "problem" it affects all. Wouldn't it be a good thing to know what the parents are doing to contribute to the disharmony so that they can change whatever needs changing in their parenting skills?
Without this support and parenting education it's likely that the current stress on the family will continue. This will only exacerbate the tension and likely cause more problems for your granddaughter and her parents.
This girl needs help learning to deal with her ADD (meds alone are not the answer!). Her parents need help as well.
Hopefully, you can suggest that they talk with the psychiatrist about a referral to a family counselor who specializes and works successfully with tweens with ADD and their parents.
I hope this helps.