Rebuilding Relationship with a Child in the Habit of Fibbing
Last week’s blog post discussed the internal work parents need to do before working with a child to repair relationship damage that has resulted from lying. Today we’ll consider steps parents can take with their child that can not only rebuild the relationship but also model healthy ways to work though conflict.
- Talk openly and calmly about the ramification of the fib on your relationship. Using language that takes the judgment out of the conversation can change the tenor considerably, opening minds to hear and respond with less defensiveness. Defensiveness breeds dishonesty.
- Separate the fib from the “why” behind it (you will want to cycle back to the consequence later). The “why” is the reason for the fib in the first place. Most often for individuals with ADHD, the “why” is at the point of performance breakdown. The point of performance is that place and time in the natural setting of the person's life where they are failing to use the cognitive assets/strategies they know.
- Talk calmly about support that could help at the “point of performance” breakdown. To be clear, your child may need far more scaffolding than they are currently receiving. This is a major source of academic failure. You may need to employ a tutor or academic ADHD/EF coach to systematically support growth in this area.
- Directly speak to the concept of trust building. It takes two to rebuild trust. While trust is earned, you may have to start with a clear, agreed upon understanding of what trust is and how it is built and sustained.
- Explicitly forgive your child for the fib, and ask for forgiveness for judgment or angry words you may have spoken.
Depending on the amount of time the fibbing behavior has existed, and the damage it has caused in the family relationship, you may need to employ the support of an outside therapist to help manage the intricacies of the issues.
Fibbing left unchecked can lead to many challenges in the life of the individual with ADHD, and in the family dynamic it creates. Making the effort to repair fragile relationships is vital to the emotional and mental health of both family and child.
Blogger Barbara Hunter, MEd, shares her expertise in the use of technology to support learning. If you have questions, please contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.