Q: “When does the ADHD lying stop — or how can we correct it?” – VA Beach Dad
Hi VA Beach Dad:
I can’t offer an accurate “deadline” for when the lies will end since I don’t know all the circumstances: What specifically does your son lie about? Are the lies significant — cheating? stealing? — or are they more about everyday occurrences such as doing homework or responsibilities around the house? How often does this happen? Instead, I’m going to focus on the best way for you to help your son.
First, please know that children with ADHD may lie more often than other children. Their lying doesn’t typically stem from a place of defiance. It comes from feeling overwhelmed or challenged by what is being asked of them. Let me give you an example: You ask your son to clean his room. A little time goes by, you ask if he cleaned his room, and he says yes. But when you go into the room, it still looks like a complete mess and you’re left standing there completely bewildered why he would lie about something as benign as cleaning a room.
The issue isn’t that he intended to lie, but that the task he was given to do was either too hard, too big, or too complicated — he didn’t know even where to begin, so he froze. And when push comes to shove, some kids would rather lie and face those consequences than try to do what is being asked. Bottom line? For some kids with ADHD, lying is just easier.
Second, know that how you respond to the lying makes all the difference in the world. I know this is going to be hard to hear, but I learned a long time ago not to take the lying personally. Again, I don’t know what your son is lying about, but in my experience, ADHD lies have little to do with disrespect or even hostility. They come from a place of confusion or lack of problem-solving skills.
Here are a few tools to help you help your son.