What to do with my 8yo son, the pretty little liar?

Last week, I took my kids to a museum (you can read more about that amazing place here.)  When we got to the gift shop at the end, there wasn’t anything crying out at us, so we left with only memories.

Or so I thought.

It turns out, someone pilfered a magnet from the Museum of the Moving Image. How do I know? Because it mysteriously ended up on our back door (which for some inexplicable reason is magnetic and holds all the cheesy magnets we normally would attach to our fridge if it had magnetic powers.)

museum of moving image magnet on carpoolcandy.com

I asked my boys (ages 8, 10, and 14) and they each said they didn’t take it and don’t know how it made its way to New Jersey from Queens, New York.


I suspect it was snagged while I was distracted at the gift store, and stashed in a jacket pocket to covertly cross the state border. What surprises me is the audacity of the petty thief to display it prominently in a place I — and everyone else visiting our house– can see it.

museum of moving image magnet on carpoolcandy.com

Can you find the magnet on the door?

I’m quite sure it was 8-year-old Eli. That kid is –for lack of a better term– a big fat liar.

He’s one of those fibbers who actually believes half of his own stories, which can make them more plausible, and confusing to his victims.

He’s the one who pees with the toilet seat down– leaving delightful driplets behind– and neglects to flush.  He does this regularly, mostly in a visible bathroom in our kitchen, so I know it’s him. Yet he looks me straight in the eye and says “It wasn’t me!”

He tells little lies all day long: about washing hands, finishing homework, and eating candy and junk food (leaving wrappers behind is a telltale sign.)  But there are whoppers too, like denying he swiped his brothers’ money or gift cards, even after we find them in his room.

He once told the kids at school that he had two mommies. When I visited the classroom and a little girl asked me about it, I explained he had the much less exotic mommy and daddy setup. But even then, he insisted I was wrong, and he did have two mommies and a daddy, citing our family friend as his second mother.

I wasn’t quite sure his teacher believed me when I assured her there was no second mommy, so I started to stammer and over-explain our family friendship, as Eli sat back grinning. He can be quite convincing.

no lies graphic on carpoolcandy.comSo what to do with my tall tale teller?

I’ve tried to correct him, lecture him on the sanctity of honesty, read him Peter and the Wolf.  But that kid makes Pinocchio look like an amateur.

Every time I look at that magnet, I feel a little sick.

When my oldest, Jacob, was about that age he stole a rock from the Liberty Science Center after I told him I wouldn’t buy it for him. But when he got home, he buried it in the bottom of a drawer. When I found it, he burst into tears and apologized. We had a long talk about how stealing affects many more people than just him. I said that there were lots of good reasons he shouldn’t take things that don’t belong to him, but a powerful one was to prevent how bad he felt after doing it.

As far as I know, he hasn’t stolen again, and he doesn’t lie often or effectively. I chalk that up to his nagging conscience.

But whomever took that magnet is ok with looking at it every day on the back door. Like a prize.

I’m opening it up to you, wise honorable people. What’s your best advice on how to curb the conning? Please tell me the truth in the comments.


5 responses to “What to do with my 8yo son, the pretty little liar?

  1. As a reformed thief-in-making younger child, I had a couple of experiences which helped set me straight. I won’t get into all the details, but what set me straight were a couple of situations where my own mother found out I had stolen (and lied about) some knick-knacks. The first time my mother found out my adventure, and of course without my fessing up, my favorite toy truck went missing. You can imagine my dismay… Because apparently one lesson wasn’t enough for me, I experienced the same situation again not long afterwards but with bigger resulting consequences. Lo and behold, I was cured! Helping me tie the events together, my mother explained a rough version of what we now call karma, and though it was a painful couple of lessons at the time, I would say it’s never too early to teach/exemplify integrity.

    Looking back on it years later as an adult, I came to suspect my mother staged my missing toys, but the lessons came across loud and clear. I don’t believe humiliation works – it could be detrimental to a child and lead them to develop a complex. I also don’t believe in taking away toys/games for a short period of time because the child knows eventually they’ll get their items back.

    Most children understand the difference between right and wrong; they just need some help stepping a bit outside of their selfish selves and getting a glimpse of their actions. I believe getting down to a child’s level and helping them understand tougher lessons at their level, is the most effective way to teach said lessons.

    Anyhow, hope this helps. Hang in there and Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    • Thanks so much for your story and insight! I will definitely try that. I mean, er, we’ll see if any of my son’s favorite objects stay within his reach in the coming weeks! Stop by the blog again soon!

  2. oops, I mean down below ,LOL “)

  3. I agree what the Anonymous up above is saying and I also have an 8,10,14 year old boy’s and they apsolutly no better because mama don’t play that way LOL.

  4. Sounds like you are letting him get away with a lot. You need to reign him in and soon or one of these days the police will end up on your doorstep. Make him take the magnet back to the museum and apologize. He needs a little humiliation and maybe a lot. Take away his prized possession or video games.