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How do you handle lying?
Old 03-31-2012, 07:18 PM
 
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I had a parent very angry with me recently because I have thought that her son has lied to me a few different times this year. At the time, I was sure that he had lied. But now I am doubting myself. What do you do when Johnny says Jimmy hit him and Jimmy insists he didn't? You didn't hear or see anything. What about when other kids say Jimmy did in fact hit Johnny?
One of the lies was about laughing at someone. I heard laughing while a student in the class who has a speech impediment was reciting something. When I heard the laughing, I immediatley thought it was "Sam". As soon as the student with the speech impediment was done he told me that Sam was laughing at him. Sam denied it. What do you do?
Another time he said something unkind to a classmate and claimed he wasn't saying it to her but to a boy who lived on his street-who does not go to our school. What do you do? I feel terrible about all this. There have been so many other times this year that I have just been unsure about who is telling me the truth.


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Lying liars who lie
Old 03-31-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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I have one of those in my class. He is very quick to defend himself, make excuses (ridiculous ones), and/or just downright lie. If I am sure he is lying, I just look at him for a long pause - very long, and finally say, "are you telling me the truth?" followed by another long pause. He will start talking again, and the story will change. He has gotten better, beause I have learned to never just let it go.
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Tough one!
Old 03-31-2012, 10:29 PM
 
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When I run into a situation like that where it is Johnny's word against Jimmy's - I will often ask - "What did you do that made Jimmy hit you?" "I can't imagine he would just hit you out of the blue."

If I am unsure about what happened I will say "Well, Jimmy if you DID hit Johnny - Is that an okay way to handle being mad?" And we talk about what a good choice would be. I make sure that the student knows I am not accusing him/her of anything.

Kids lie. They lie to teachers and to parents about what happened. Or just give half truths. When I realize I messed up about a situation I have said I'm sorry afterward. I am human and I make mistakes.

If it is something really big I will sometimes send all the students involved to the office so they can deal with it.

I had a student lie to me on Thursday about stealing. He told me he didn't take something and then I found him trying to hide the item in his locker.

One thing about kids they often tell on each other and I think after awhile you can tell who you can trust.

Class meetings about being unkind. I did a lesson where I have an outline of a body and I ask students to tell me things people have said to them that made them feel bad. As they tell me I rip off a piece of the body. Then I ask the students to tell me things people have said to them that made them feel good. As they tell me I tape the body back together. Then we talk about how the body is not the same. Before we start we name the body and give him characteristics so the students are able to relate to the character.
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One little guy
Old 04-01-2012, 02:55 AM
 
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in my class is tripped up easily by the question "Why did you hit Jimmy?" instead of "Did you hit Jimmy?" He immediately starts making excuses instead of denying the incident.
Another little one usually confesses if I ask questions and then take a long pause.
Also I work at a religious school so we can say we might not be able to be sure what happened but God knows exactly what happened.
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I read in a book
Old 04-01-2012, 05:19 AM
 
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You go to the person who is lying and say, "What do you think I'm thinking right now?" It said many times the kids aren't expecting it and start tattling on themselves. I haven't had a chance to try it yet though.


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lying
Old 04-01-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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I call students into the hallway one at a time. I usually start with the accuser because they are ones who tell me first. I get his/her side of the story and the names of other students who saw the incident happen. Then I'll get the person accused of lying. I'll ask for his/her side. I don't allow the other student to talk and I usually have him/her step away from the accused's visual field. After the student has explained, I bring the other student into the conversation and calmly say to the accused, "This is what so and so said. Are you calling him/her a liar?" (Long pause.) Usuallly the accused can't look the student in the eye and say it. Sometimes though, they are adamant in their stance, so I'll ask, "Are you sure you want to stick with that because other students saw what happened too. I can call them out here." By then, usually the child confesses and I will have him or her apologize. If the accuser was involved in anything leading up to the incident, I have him/her apologize,too. Everything has usually spilled by this point.

I send the accuser back in and talk to the accused about trust - that it's nothing to be played with because when it's broken it's hard to fix. I talk about reputation and that people will not believe what the student says even when he/she needs them to. Is that worth a 2 second lie that people usually find out about anyway? I also tell them that instead of one thing, they now have two things to be in trouble for. I usually give a consquence if the student has been caught lying more than once. I also go over what would have been more appropriate behavior for the circumstance.

If the child still refuses to tell the truth, I'll call other named students out and quickly tell them to go back and write down exactly what they saw, without giving them any time to collaborate. We all go back in, the students write and I'll continue with class. I collect the papers and usually stories are the same. Then the child goes to the office with the written statements and he/she can take it up with the principal.

Normally all of this stops at "Are you calling him/her" a liar?"
They confess right away, apologize, and we're done. I follow up with the trust talk privately at the end of class.

If kids turn out to be a habitual liars, I'm not very patient. It kind of stinks for them.

I really dislike lying.....
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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This happens all the time at my school. What I do is this. I get everyone involved together. I make them come up with 1 story about what really happened...they know I need to hear the SAME STORY from each person. When they have come up with what happened, I talk to each student who tells me what happens. If I get the same story, I know how to react. If I don't get the same story, I tell the kids, I can't do anything until I get the same story..I can't do anything with 2 completely opposite stories. Normally these things happen during gym, recess, or right after a recess, so they are usually missing something they don't want to miss during this time of figuring it out. It has prevented multiple stories and gotten the truth out fast...they want to go back to playing or the fun thing or whatever, and the quickest way to get one story is to just tell the truth! I hardly ever have to do this with my class anymore...they just know and tell me 1 story. When I have recess duty, I still have to do it with the other grades, but they also are not use to me since I don't teach them and only have recess duty once a week.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:05 AM
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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I phrase my questions in certain ways that doesn't allow the child to deny whatever he or she did. I might say "Why would you hit Johnny?" or "What did Johnny do to you to make you hit him?" I will ask these questions even if I'm not sure. Usually the child will give a reason that tells me he did indeed lie.

I also let the kids know they will get into MORE trouble by lying. When a child does lie, I make sure the consequences are much tougher than if the child did something yet told the truth. That shows the child and anyone else involved that it's better to just tell the truth.

Also, I make it clear that if you lie to me and I know/find out, I will not trust you. So if something happens again, I'm more likely to assume you did it because you have lied in the past.

Also, if I really don't know and two kids are telling me different things, I will say " go talk to each other and get your story straight. When you can tell me the same story, I will talk to both of you." Then I kind of eavesdrop on the conversation.

As far as the parent goes...chances are the child is lying and the parent is siding with the child. I had one that would lie to her mom right in front of me last year. Mother always believed daughter over me. Eventually if I had to call mom or tell her something about her daughter and her behavior, I would say, "do with this information what you'd like but..." and then tell her what happened. I honestly didn't care what she thought of me or who I believed.
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stop second guessing yourself
Old 04-01-2012, 08:14 AM
 
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We have all been in your shoes. Some children are so good at dong what they do and then denying it that it makes us doubt what is being told to us.

I would watch this young child very carefully so I could be certain of what is happening. If I thought this person was fighting with others I would put this person at the end of the line or at the beginning so I could keep close tabs on this child. I have even made this child my "buddy" when walking in the hallway.

I once saw a child do something and spoke to the parent. The parent spoke to the child who denied it and then accused me of mistreating the child. I saw it with my own eyes. I made sure I didn't speak to the parent again since the parent was taking the word of a child over me the adult. I did let the child know that I knew what had happened and was not going to tolerate it happening again.

If I hear any unkind words, whether to a classmate or someone else I deal with that issue. Unkind words are not acceptable.

I also know that once a child has the reputation for getting in trouble the other children will often say that this child did or said something to them, so I have to be careful to make sure that I am sure the child did it before saying anything. When I am unsure I have a class lesson on what just happened. If someone said so and so hit them and I didn't see it and am unsure I have a lesson (even if I had it already) on the school being a no hitting, touching, spitting, biting, kicking, saying mean things zone.

I also read the story about the boy that cried wolf or the one about the sky is falling. If I can't find the book I verbally tell this story and we discuss why no one believed the boy.

It is difficult when this happens. We as teachers do not want to appear that we are "picking" on a child, but we also have to make sure all the children in the class are safe.

I would say I probably believe 1/2 of what I am told in class. Often I take these moments and use them as teachable moments. I also remind myself that I have these students for one year and then they move on so I need to make sure I don't make myself crazy.

I do believe that many of the things you described are happening with this student. He is getting "slicker" at doing what he is doing and what he is saying. I would be watching him carefully and move him closer to where I usually stand/sit to insure that he doesn't have the opportunity to do or say anything to anyone else.
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How would you handle...
Old 04-01-2012, 08:17 AM
 
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Quote:
phrase my questions in certain ways that doesn't allow the child to deny whatever he or she did. I might say "Why would you hit Johnny?" or "What did Johnny do to you to make you hit him?" I will ask these questions even if I'm not sure. Usually the child will give a reason that tells me he did indeed lie.
What grade do you teach? I teach 5th, and I have used this strategy as well. However, the response to a question like "Why would you hit Johnny?" would be "I didn't hit Johnny." It's constant denial no matter how the question is worded.


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Old 04-01-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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everyone.
When I spoke with my principal about this she told me basically all what you are saying: children lie and most parents cannot handle this fact. The same parent may agree that their child talks too much, won't stay in seat, can be disrespectful, etc, but when it comes to lying they turn a blind eye. I will try not to worry about this one and I am going to try some of these strategies in the future. I know as teachers we make mistakes. I think the child may be trying to get mom's attention at home by telling stories. When he tells mom how mean I am and how bad I think he is, etc, she probably gives him lots of attention. Furthermore, she's a single mom and child spends 10+ hours at school, morning care and extended day.
One a sort of funny note, a first grader at my school (the first grade teacher shared this story with me) touched another child's picture that still had wet paint on it. Someone saw her touch it and told the teacher. Teacher talks to her about it. Kid denies it. Teacher says "Let me see your hand." Kid has all three colors of paint that were on the picture on her hand!!! Guess she didn't think to hard before she lied!
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Good ideas
Old 04-01-2012, 01:05 PM
 
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These are all really good ideas. I am also sure to let the kids know that lying will get them in more trouble. Our students earn points for positive or negative behaviors, and lying is an automatic 5,000 negative points (5x that of a typical infraction.)

When we have a child that often lies, especially if they are a kid that makes up stories a lot...a teacher I work with will often just look straight at them and say (this can be done quietly if need be), "You and I both know that isn't true."

When the responsibility is put on them like this, most of the time the child will look down and stop their story, or even nod their head. They may be shocked that they were called out, but oftentimes the lie will stop there. That is just a quick way to handle it, and often works best with kids that have a history of lying and one that you have talked to many times about it.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:33 PM
 
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I have started having my students write up what happened [4th grade]. I than read what is written and ask my questions based on what is written. Usually I will get the truth because they realize something will happen if they have to write it down.

I like what I have learned here, the wording. I will have to remember to ask questions where they cannot deny. THanks for the help
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:54 PM
 
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I always ask both kids to separately tell me what happened, and I often start with the victim first. (Of course the offender immediately wants to tell his side, but I insist both kids will have a chance to talk.) Then I ask them to talk to each other what happened and conclude by saying how could they do such-and-such differently. I won't let them off the hook until they have a solution. This helps because sometimes the instigator is just trying to get attention and bad attention is just as good as any. That's also why I start by asking the victim.

About the kid with the speech impediment: I tell a story about myself as a young kid, singing in front of class. (I'm a terrible singer!) One time, for extra credit, our 5th grade teacher allowed whoever wanted to, to get up and sing. Well, I think I was off-key from that first note. Afterwards, with everyone snickering, the teacher complimented my courage and reminded everyone we all have talents. Mine wasn't singing, but I was terrific at art. After that little story, my students were less inclined to make fun of each other.
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