SD has been faking illness to get attention.
Most recently she started staring off into space in the middle of conversation.
I told her to stop and she did.
She went back to BM’s house and did it there.
BM wanted to take her to the hospital for epilepsy testing.
SD admitted she was doing it for attention from BM.
Not two hours after talking to her about lying she lied to me about having cramps. Her cramps suddenly went away when DH wanted to go out to dinner and I said SD wasn’t filling up to it. We again addressed lying and took away all electronics. Next day SD complains of head ache while we are eating dinner. Her head didn’t hurt too much to laugh at DH jokes but did hurt to much to eat dinner. We sent her to bed early.
We want to ask BM about taking SD to counseling.
However, DH says BM will not react kindly to this.
What else can DH and I do to impress upon SD lying is unacceptable?
Thank you, SG
Dear SG, Thanks for writing in. Seems lying and stepkids is a common behavior. I hope that you have registered on the board so you can get the opinions and suggestions from the many women who have been dealing with this for years.
Lying, a way to get attention, feel powerful, attempt to manipulate, show disdain, etc seems a tangled way for stepkids to get attention, just as you suggested. stepkids and kid are experts at using the negative behavior to connect and get the attention of adults but everyone pays a terrible price for that choice.
I wonder… what if you told her directly the 3,5 10 healthy acceptable things she could do to get everyone’s attention? What if you told her an if/then list of ways to get the attention she needed in ways that are AOK for you all? This is a different approach from trying to counter-control her behaviors but one that has worked in many cases.
What do I mean? Well, what if you asked her if she’d like to have 30 minutes before bed with one on one attention from you, her mom or dad or bio-mom BF? What if you told her that whenever she felt lonely or sad or scared or bored (whatever you think is going on) that she could “make a reservation” to spend some time with you, her Dad, etc? What if you all started a couple of new rituals at your house? Like at meals, everyone gets a few minutes to talk about their day (the indians used to have a talking stick and when the person talking-had the talking stick, no one interrupted). What kinds of new ways can you create her getting attention for doing positive things that are fun for all?
Are you up for some creative new projects that would give her a chance to shift her creativity from lying to some craft or family project. I don’t know how old she is so you’d have to conjure up some age -appropriate ideas.
What about consequences? Can you lay out the consequences of lying (both incident related and more importantly the issue of trust.) Can you explain to her about trust and how her actions are wearing away trust, which is something she is going to want from you as she gets older. Does she know the story of the “Boy who cried wolf”? Losing the trust of the adults in her life, and all that this means as she gets older, could have a greater impact/meaning to her than losing her games. I know it sounds odd, but sometimes children view these punishments as the price they have to pay to get the attention they crave so deeply.
I don’t know if that is what’s going on with your SD, just lots of food for thought.
My favorite book about teenagers may help, if she is a teen or preteen. (Get out of my life, but first can you drive me and Cheryl to the mall? by Anthony Wolf). He also wrote a book about younger kids and I bet it is a good one as well, maybe something to check out and write a review for us, if it is of value.
From a personal perspective, watching stepkids do things, get away with things and not have to do things that we differs from our childhoods can stir up a whole bunch of rage within ourselves-from seemingly nowhere. I know this first hand. If there’s any chance that her actions could be stirring up more anger in you than may seem expected, this could signal a chance for you to free up some feelings fro your past. Did you lie as a child? Did you get in trouble? What would have happened to you if you did whatever she did? Were you punished in ways that were unfair to you as a child? What feelings does the child, you used to be, have about whatever your SD is doing?
Giving your time and attention to your own thoughts and feelings will always be a good use of your time. I hope something here is helpful to you.
Best Wishes, Cathryn