mrcole's picture

A 6 year old's lies and where to draw the line?

I have been dating a divorced mom who has a 6-year-old for a little over a year. Over the past 9 months I've been steadily spending more and more time around her son, whose custody she shares with the dad.

As I spend time around her son, I've noticed that he lies. A lot. She just accepts it as his imagination. My worry is that it's not just limited to things that have to do with imagination. For example, he acts constantly like he just hurt himself (we've largely come to ignore it because we're reinforcing the "boy who cried wolf" scenario and because it's a constant event), he has told his dad on multiple occasions that we all sleep in the same bed together (it has caused more than one confrontation between my girlfriend and the dad), and if we ever try to get him involved with learning new things or reinforcing things he's learned at school, he starts making up things and presenting them as facts, like " invented dynamite. You should know that." A lot of it sounds like attention-getting behavior and it may be the case, but how do you react?

On top of that if I show disapproval or aggravation due to misbehavior my girlfriend tells me that she worries that I'll never like him and that me and her are perfect but when she adds her son it's "not a good fit". She's an amazing, loving mom (and person) and I really do like him, a lot; he reminds me of myself. But anytime I criticize or show disapproval it seems like it's back to the drawing board.

My worries are all over the place. Will he outgrow it or does it need to be stopped? Will his tendency to make up facts create a lack of desire to ACTUALLY learn? Will it progress into lying about more important things?

My biggest concern is that I had a major lying problem as a child and I didn't break it until I was in late high school. I don't want that to happen with him as my parents didn't start to trust me again until I was in my twenties.

What should I (or she) do or not do? I'm completely new to this.

2xstepmom's picture

What you should not do is project your past mistakes or issues onto this child. At his age, the behavior you describle should not be made into a big deal. It is most likely attention getting behavior which seems to be working for him. Do not react and the behavior will most likely lessen.

What you should do is relax, back off and let your g/f parent her own child. There is no reason for you to show your disapproval or aggravation or to criticize your g/f's child's behavior. Your role is only to be supportive of your g/f. You state she is an amazing, loving mom and person and if you want to hold onto her, you need to work at being a "better fit" in her life.