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My son lied about eating his lunch


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Old 29th October 2009, 9:35 AM   #1
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My son lied about eating his lunch

LSers, I need your help please.

This morning I found out that my six year old lied about eating his lunch we pack for him. I spoke to one of the care takers at the school and he caught my son dumping his sandwich in the trash. This incident occured last week.

We ask him everyday if he ate his lunch and he says "yes". Obviously he is lying.

I have no idea how many times he has done this. Once, twice, 10 times ? I feel hurt that he is lying but don't want to explode.

He is a great kid. We talked to him in the past that lying is wrong. He knows.

Here is my take.....I kneel down in front of him, maintain eye contact and then say....

"<my son's name>, I found out from <the person who told me about this> that you lied to me about your eating your lunch. Instead you threw it in the trast. I am very hurt by what you did and that you lied to me. As a consequence, you will not be allowed to play wii or watch TV for the next 3 days".

Suggestions for changes/add/delete ?

Thanks.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:03 AM   #2
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Parent of four kids. And yes, they have brought there lunch home uneaten...or parts of it. And yes, I have gotten mad that they didn't eat it. (Actually, worried that they were starving all day, which is weird because if they were then any food would have tasted good ).

First, WHY does he feel he needs to lie and dump his food? Mine bring it home, and now I try to never get mad when they do. Usually it is part of the main course, or maybe the apple for one, or the cookies for the other. Most of the time it is because they didn't "have time." This means they wanted to get outdoors, or they were less hungry because of stress of a test...or who knows why.

Second, usually I would say punish a lie, but in this case, why? Getting to the bottom of why he dumps his food instead of bringing it home and saying why he did not get time to eat something or did not like something is more appropriate for long term behavior change. Punishing the lie will simply change how he dumps his food. Will it get him to eat his food? Doubt it.

Third, if it is too much food, then give him less.

If it were my kid (and it has been), then I would try to get an answer as to why the need to lie, and why he wants to dump his food. Then I would say that if he cannot eat everything, then bring it home. While I am not saying his lunch should be as he wants it, having him help pack the lunch does help. My kids actually prefer fruits and chips over cookies quite often. And the main course is usually leftovers from the previous nights meal.

IMO punishing the lie in this situation will not solve the problem. It may get him to quit lying about eating the food, but again, it may not. However, in this case, I think a resolution regarding not finishing his lunch is what is needed.

I do know that my kids will give away food once in awhile and probably trade for something else. My opinion is that as long as they eat and are healthy...and don't eat just junk food, then I am fine with it. Putting them in a position that makes lying preferable to bringing food home means another problem exists.

Just mu 2c.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by 65tr6 View Post
LSers, I need your help please.

This morning I found out that my six year old lied about eating his lunch we pack for him. I spoke to one of the care takers at the school and he caught my son dumping his sandwich in the trash. This incident occured last week.

We ask him everyday if he ate his lunch and he says "yes". Obviously he is lying.

I have no idea how many times he has done this. Once, twice, 10 times ? I feel hurt that he is lying but don't want to explode.

He is a great kid. We talked to him in the past that lying is wrong. He knows.

Here is my take.....I kneel down in front of him, maintain eye contact and then say....

"<my son's name>, I found out from <the person who told me about this> that you lied to me about your eating your lunch. Instead you threw it in the trast. I am very hurt by what you did and that you lied to me. As a consequence, you will not be allowed to play wii or watch TV for the next 3 days".

Suggestions for changes/add/delete ?

Thanks.
I think that before you give the consequences find out why he is not eating his lunch. Maybe figure out what is going on there first. He may have felt ill. He may be embarrassed by something you are putting in it. He may have the beginnings of an eating disorder...who knows? One thing is sure...he probably lied because he did not want to disappoint you. So before addressing the lying ask why he did not eat his lunch.
After you work through that issue then you can address the lying.

Depending on why he didn't eat his lunch he should still receive consequences for lying.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:10 AM   #4
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Suggestions for changes/add/delete ?
Thanks.
I would never talk like that to my son.

That is very accusatory and self-righteous.

I'd tell him, the teacher said you threw away the sandwich... what was that about?
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:20 AM   #5
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I agree that the issue should be why he's not eating his lunch. My kids have never lied about it, but have never had to. They also usually brought home what they didn't eat, which meant I had to toss it.

Eating the same sandwich every day gets old, or the same anything for that matter. I'm lucky that my son loves the hot lunches at the school, but we didn't have that option in elementary school. Work with him, lunch doesn't have to be a sandwich. Yogurt, cheese, fruit, veggies and dip, chicken nuggets (which aren't bad room temp) pb with crackers or apples. My kids have never liked sandwiches even at home or during the summer.

I'ld let the lying pass on this one, he probably DID eat some of his lunch. Just find out what sounds good to him and vary it from day to day.

My oldest was on medication that caused her not to be hungry at lunch. It drove the lunch worker (who was a friend of mine) crazy. She had a good breakfast, and usually a hearty snack when she got home and a good dinner. I had to constantly tell them that it was OK if she didn't eat her lunch, not to hound her. She was also more interested in socializing than eating at that time! They WILL eat when they get hungry... I don't force the food issue.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:20 AM   #6
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Kids. You know ...they are like little criminals until we teach them differently. Remember The biting stage - assault. Not sharing ? Theft. Now the lies. I dont have any homework, I ate my lunch, he started it.

The behaviors themselves can be addressed without too much trouble (for most kids). But the moral issues of hurting others, stealing, and lies ..the things that can go unseen...have to be addressed differently.

I told my daughter first and foremost: I am your mother. It is my job to take care of you, teach you, & protect you always whether you are right or wrong. If you lie to me I cannot do any of that. I am your mother. I am the person you never lie to because I'm the person that always cares for you no matter what you have done. Its my job to help you figure stuff out without lying.

She is almost 14 now. So far so good and boy! have we figured out some tough and surprising "stuff" - together. Sometimes I have to swallow my anger & appreciate her honesty so I can help her move forward the right way.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:25 AM   #7
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I agree with the others – there's a time and a place for punishing a lie, but I don't think this is one of them. Instead, find out why he's dumping the food: Is he not hungry? Is it upsetting his stomach? Is it too much packed for that day? has he figured out that he has more time at recess if he jettisons lunch?

I think once you find that out, you'll both figure out a way to correct the behavior. It'll make much more of an impression on him for you to say, "Honey, it's okay to bring your food home if you can't eat it all – I'd rather you do that, or have you share what you don't eat than hear that you've thrown away food."

don't use the guilt card unless absolutely positively necessary ("there are children in China who are starving, and you threw it away?!" was a favorite of my parent, LOL) ... helping him find a suitable solution is what you want to do.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:27 AM   #8
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Btw, if the child lied was for one reason:

1) He didn't like the sandwich and was afraid of the consequences of not eating it.

To punish him for that (or any other reason) is just cruel.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:28 AM   #9
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you might also think of different healthy "treats" to package as a meal fresh vegetables or a salad, a serving of nuts or cheese because kids seem to like the idea of non-traditional meals.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
First, WHY does he feel he needs to lie and dump his food?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
Second, usually I would say punish a lie, but in this case, why? Getting to the bottom of why he dumps his food instead of bringing it home
interesting.... My guess is he does not like the food we pack. But you do bring up a good point. Get to the bottom of the issue first...

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Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
having him help pack the lunch does help. My kids actually prefer fruits and chips over cookies quite often.
Another good thought. Have him help us pack his lunch.

However, it does not change the fact that he lied. No message from us about what he did was wrong/not acceptable ?
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:40 AM   #11
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However, it does not change the fact that he lied. No message from us about what he did was wrong/not acceptable ?
The only message that he sent by his lying is that he is afraid of you.

If you take the measures you mentioned, you are going to make him even more afraid of you and more likely to lie to you the next time.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:47 AM   #12
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65t6,

I'm not sure that it is a complete bold face lie from a 6 year old. Surely, he ate some of his lunch. Lunch occurred. I'd work on modifying the behavior, bringing home what he doesn't eat and deciding what would be good. There will be plenty of instances to drive home the lying point, unfortunately. I would use this time to make the point that he can trust you with his feelings.

I punish for lying. I've got a thread a year ago on here where I lost it when I found out my 6th grader purposely hid a paper when I signed for the weeks tests. I just don't think that's what you're dealing with exactly. Just ask him to bring the food home that he doesn't eat so that the two of you can figure out what, and how much should be sent.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:51 AM   #13
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The behaviors themselves can be addressed without too much trouble (for most kids). But the moral issues of hurting others, stealing, and lies ..the things that can go unseen...have to be addressed differently..
exactly...Ideally I would have wanted to see him bring his lunch back home and said "dad, i dont like the sandwich" or "dad, i dumped the sandwich in the trash can because i didnt like it".

Like I said, I dont know how long this has been going on. One day, two days...last two months ?

ok, punishment is a strong word to use in the case, I want him to know that it is ok for him not to like his sandwich but it is NOT ok to cover it up. Does that make sense ?

For folks who don't know me...I know this may not be relevant here but I am recovering from my wife's affair (happened over an year ago). I am still very sensitive to the issue of lying/deceit a bit. We both love our son. He left a wonderful note for me this morning on his own about something else. Just like that.
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Old 29th October 2009, 10:51 AM   #14
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The only message that he sent by his lying is that he is afraid of you.

If you take the measures you mentioned, you are going to make him even more afraid of you and more likely to lie to you the next time.
A child who will be honest about their actions is only part of the equation. You also want their actions to be of a good intent and productive.
No amount of honesty should make a parent okay with all actions out of a fear of not being able to be their kid's friend . And some actions need a firmer hand than:
"well since you were honest about it we'll let this go"

Seeing as how the kid is only 6, the actions in question are not such a huge deal. He didn't seek to hurt anyone or even lie to a diabolic end.
Remember being 6? He probably just doesn't like what is in his lunch. I distinctly remember pimento loaf becoming an issue in first grade. I thought it looked pretty but it tasted awful. I didn't eat much that week......

I believe in not wasting food. That is why I ask about preferences and let my son choose his portion size.
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Old 29th October 2009, 11:04 AM   #15
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However, it does not change the fact that he lied. No message from us about what he did was wrong/not acceptable ?
Yes, of course. You should tell him that lying is unacceptable. I remember when one of mine came home with most of his lunch, and I was a bit mad. But I told him that it was better to bring it home than to lie and not bring it home.

I think the point is...don't focus on the lying as the only problem. Find out why he isn't eating his lunch.

All of our kids have complete input in what goes in their lunch, but they know that certain things need to be there. For example, it cannot be made up of all cookies. Also, some kids can eat more than others during the day. As parents, we forget that lunchtime is more about connecting with friends than eating food....which is why when they come home, they suddenly are "starving.:

You mentioned the affair and all (which I now remember reading). Could that play into the reason for lying? He may not want to get you mad?

As you find out why the lunch is not eaten, you can reiterate that lying is unacceptable and bringing it home is better. Even if he wants to give something away...this beats lying.

I can say that at least once or twice a week something comes home from the lunches. For 90% of the time, it is that the kid did not have time to eat everything...at least in his or her mind.
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