Blended Families

crying wolf

sorry in advance for typos and poor grammar, my phone isn't the greatest sometimes. ss is 12 and came to live with us full time about 6 weeks ago. i really can't complain. he has been awesome and is a very loving young man. we do however know for sure now that he gets very over-dramatic when it comes to being hurt and or fakes being sick. we have a pretty good understanding of why. just looking for advice or ideas on how to handle this with a child of his age.

 

tia 


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Re: crying wolf

  • I need to know why to better answer you.  The "why" of it definitely determines how you handle it.  If it's to get out of chores, you allow him a short break to take care of things then he's back to it.  If it's for attention, you say 'if you're sick, you need to go lie down in a quiet area until you feel like returning to ____'.  Don't play into it.  If it's to get to watch TV to rest, the area needs to be away from electronics.  If it's for a Scooby Doo bandaid, give him a Dora one.  
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  • WahooWahoo member

    I have a million issues......lol........and being a hypochondriac is one of them.  If I have a stomach ache, I check on WebMD and the next thing you know, I'm convinced I have cancer.  Thank goodness I am super-cheap, or I would be at the doctor's office every other day.

    I would listen to yoru SS.  Take time out and listen to what is his ailment, what he thinks it is.  Heck, you might even keep a notebook.  Then say "well, you can take a short break (from homework, chores, etc.), but you'll have to get back to them."

    Later, tell him a person in his condition shouldn't be eating......rich foods, fatty foods, milk products, chocolate, etc. so you are going to cut those things from his diet for a few days to protect his health.

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  • He comes from a tough background. DH was gone since he was 4 because of the military and being deployed. BM has a Rx drug abuse problem, hepatitis, and lost custody of SS. She also has a 4 yr old little girl and doesnt' know who the father is. (either another drug use or the new bf who has been told by DCF that he cannot be near the children) So SS was practically raised by DH and BM's parents. In the past year DCF even started monitoring her parents. We planned to bring SS out for 7th grade, but another alcohol incident with BM's dad cut his stay short back home. So DH went and picked him up. According to SS, he had to pee in a cup for his mom. He's seen here snort white powder and shoot up.  I'm the one that called DCF when he told us this. Monday DH is going to court 5 states away to terminate the child support order and request a motion to amend the complaint to include full custody. We can offer SS an AWESOME future :) He is excited to be with us. VERY greatful lil guy. I'm SO glad he is with us. Like I said this is the ONLY issue I have and in all honesty this is NOTHING in my opinion. I guess I'd just like to know ways to help him learn that he doesn't have to do that. So this way we really know when he is truly sick. He lied at summer camp - saying he threw up. But he didn't get sick. I have more of a problem with lying then anything.

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  • It's wonderful that he has you guys.  It seems he's doing it for attention.  This may have been the ONLY way he got attention with his BM because of the situation he was in :(

    Start heavily reinforcing when he does things to get attention that are appropriate - asking for help, asking TO help, requesting time with you, etc.  Suggest things he can do to get you guys to spend time with him when he needs that extra love and time.  When he says he's sick (if you know he's not really sick) or hurt (minor things), direct him to take care of it on his own by going to lay down in a dark room for a while or getting his own ointment and bandaid.  By reducing the reinforcement he receives for the unwanted behaviors and increasing the reinforcement he receives for the desired behaviors he'll begin seeking attention in an appropriate manner.  


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  • Ditto to all of the previous advice. My SD has some hypochondriac tendencies that have improved a lot with time in a more stable environment. Hopefully with more time, you SS will improve. By nature, I think she is just going to be one of those people that runs for an aspirin or cough syrup at the slightest provocation. What has helped is just reassuring her she is perfectly fine when she is and keeping a calm response to actual sickness. 
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  • awesome advice! thanks! so do you think if he says he is sick yet isn't really that making him stay inside all weekend is too harsh? last time he played sick, my husband made him go to work with him and sweep. i thought that was an awesome idea.

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  • If you know for a fact that he is lying or just overreacting and isn't sick I would just tell him, "you are fine, go outside and play."  Or just keep doing whatever the daily routine is.  I wouldn't have him sit inside all day or all weekend because I think that sends him the wrong message.  That's kind of what he wants.  He may get bored of it but he will get some reinforcement thinking he was believed and I don't think that's a good idea.

    My son is only 5 but the title of this post kind of made me lol because this past week he has been testing me and crying over the littlest things and acting like he has been hurt.  I ended up telling him that if he keeps crying like that I'm going to stop believing him because he does it so much and then what happens when he really is hurt?  Then FI suggested I read the boy who cried wolf story to him lol.  I think he got the picture.  But he's 5 not 12, I don't have a 12 year old so my suggestion above is just what I think I would do.

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  • kali55kali55 member
    My oldest SD went through a phase like this.  Whenever she would say she was sick, we treated her that way, and what's the best thing when you are ill?  Plenty of fluids and lots of rest.  We would tell her to go lie down and sleep and we would make her chicken noodle soup.  She usually felt a lot better after laying down for 10 minutes since trying to rest when you aren't tired or sick is pretty boring.  In the meantime, I would also give him plenty of positive attention for other things.


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  • imageRickeyandDani:
    awesome advice! thanks! so do you think if he says he is sick yet isn't really that making him stay inside all weekend is too harsh? last time he played sick, my husband made him go to work with him and sweep. i thought that was an awesome idea.

    I wouldn't make him stay in all weekend.  I'd just go with staying inside to get 'rest' and sick foods (like PP suggested with fluids and soup) until he says he feels better.  Then, you provide reinforcement for the other things he does that you want him to do.  IF (and it's a big if since the function isn't 100% clear) he's doing it to get attention, going to work with DH where he get's 1:1 attention may not be the best thing.  Now, if he's doing it to avoid your weekend plans or chores, that's a completely different plan! 

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