Problems with Parents/6 year old lying between homes
QUESTION: Hi, I am married with two children. I have a 14 month old with my husband and a 5 (almost 6) year old from a previous relationship. We recently went through an ugly custody battle over my 5 year old. I was awarded physical legal custdoy of him, but must share joint custody regarding any educational and medical issues. My husband gets along great with my son, and he goes out of his way to please him. He honestly treats him as if he were his own. He does great in school and never gets in trouble there. The judge order both of us to take a parenting class within 90 days of our court date, I have taken it, but he has not and his 90 days is past. This wouldn't bother me, except that I have noticed that my son's father has been bad mouthing me and my husband to my son. I have heard him when he is on the phone with my son, and his girlfriend has also confirmed that my is praised by his father when he says something bad about me or my husband. When my son comes back home he lies about things that go on at his father's house. I do not speak bad about his father around my son, because I know that it will only have a negative effect on him, but it is becoming more difficult not to defend myself to him. I have also learned from his girlfriend that he has been hitting her in front of my son...he is also court ordered not to drink any alcohol while my son is in his care, and she has confirmed that he drinks excessively while he is present. I know that I need to go back to court to fix these things but that is a long process even if I start it now, so my question is what should I tell my son? How do I stop him from lying and speaking badly of his family just to get praise. How do I teach and discipline this? I am currently working on the court order but I just need to know what to do in the mean time for my son. Thank you,
ANSWER: Hi Jessica;
So far, you are doing everuthng right=kee[ up the good work! When your son says something, correct him as usual, the same as you normally would do under any other circumstance. It would be nice if you could tape some of your phone conversations with the girlfriend. They aren't admissable in court however, they still can carry a lot of weight. OR if you can tape the recording over the phone would help too or possibly get her to send you an email that you can print out. That would be wonderful!
You can also get a guardian et litem for your son-which is basically a lawyer that goes to court on behalf of your son. It will cost you, but judges take what they say seriously. They also have a way of asking children questions and getting the whole truth....that can be used in court and the guardian has to keep the judge up-to-date throughout the process which would be a benefit to you and your case. You do have the right to request 'supervised visits' because of his dad telling him lies and not disciplining bad verbal behavior--make sure you look into that one immediately.
As for him being court ordered not to drink when your son is around. Here we have a problem because there has to be proof. The girlfriend can be put on the stand but 'is she going to tell the truth'? Then you could get pictures but you would be letting yourself open to abuse from him, you could get a private investigator but they are expensive.....get the picture?
If you don't have a lawyer, you may want to go to the District Attorney and ask some questions. It is possible that by doing it that way, THE STATE may take him to court because he has already violated a court order.....it sure can't hurt to try it and it would save you a ton of money and frustration.
I sure hope this helps. I know too many people (family members) that have gone through this and I know how hard it is to keep your cool. Just remember, he is hopeing that you screw up so he can be the one with a complaint against you. That will help you to keep it together!
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QUESTION: Thank you for the advice, I do have tape recordings of the girlfriend's statements, as well as the phone calls between my son and his father,there is also a police report that was filed by his girlfriend for him hitting her.I also have texts from her stating he was drinking. I do have a lawyer and I plan on getting him to file contempt orders for him not taking the parenting class and drinking and also a motion to modify custody and get supervised visitations...but since this process may take a few months, do you have any advice for me to help me explain to my son why what he is doing is wrong, and how to correct his lying. Thanks again,
Hi again Jessica;
You do have everything taken care of---good job, you have thought of it all! Great Job!
As for your son: 6 year olds are very capable of understanding more than we give them credit for. I have a granddaughter that is 6 years old. If she can get by with something and not get called on it---she thinks she has the upper hand.
Simply sit him down and explain to him that you know what is going on and that people that lie always get themselves in serious trouble when they get caught and that is good for little boys and big people too. Then praise him for the times that he has already told you the truth about something and that you are so glad that you can 'trust' him to be a good boy and not one of those naughty boys that always get in trouble for lying. He will get the idea.
Then when he tells you the truth--like someone fighting and who started it or who ate the last cookie, make sure that he gets that praise that he deserves. If it is a lie, don't holler-use shame, it works faster and makes them think more. Such as: I am soooo disapointed in you, I thought that you and me could always tell each other the truth and trust each other. I really didn't think that you would EVER lie to me....I guess I was really wrong!
Then simply turn around and walk away. Always make him apologize when he does something wrong and re-enforce the fact that 'he wouldn't like it if you lied to him and he couldn't trust you'.
You would be surprised at how easy this will be. You can use kids at school as an example too. Such as he wouldn't like it if his very best friend lied to him and he couldn't trust him. I think you get the idea.
I hope this helps.
Good luck with everything, but I think you will do just fine.