I’ve been working with this young man Jake for around a month. Jake is a middle school student with ADHD and Executive Functioning concerns. He’s a nice young man but has a tendency of lying and not accepting responsibility for his actions.
Recently, Jake was at a mall and ran into a group of older children. While with his younger brother, he wanted to show off so he gave the group the one-finger salute (flipped them the bird). This obviously didn’t go over very well and things were said by the group that scared his little brother. When confronted with this action by his parents, he denied the whole thing and threw it back on his little brother.
There’s a few things at play here. First, why does Jake lie about things? Second, why is he always trying to throw his misbehaviors on others? Jake is really good at creating diversions from the issue at hand to something else…or as I call it…creating conflict to avoid conflict. By blaming his younger brother for lying he’s now totally pulled himself away from any responsibility related to the incident at hand. Instead of this being about Jake’s impulsive move towards the group of children, it has now become about how his brother told the story. Once his parents establish that Jake is lying, then it becomes about Jake’s parents not believing him. And so on and so forth…
Here is how I advised the family. The first thing they need to do is keep reminding Jake that this is about the incident at hand and nothing else. When Jake tries to engage them in a counterargument, bring it back to the incident with the older children. This frustrates Jake because he’s been using this mechanism for many years to avoid responsibility. It’s very challenging for his parents as well. They’re used to being engaged by Jake, but they’ve got to be the stronger ones in this argument. In my work with Jake, when he knows he is wrong he will interrupt, attempt to change the subject and even question my credentials. Meanwhile, as I’ve explained to him many times, I am very much onto his tactics. He doesn’t like this to say the least.
I am sure many of you experience the same situation as Jake’s parents. My advice is to be the stronger party and not back down from the original issue. While this isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, with practice, you will be able to avoid these confrontations. I discuss this issue on YouTube here as well.
For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit www.adhdefcoach.com. In addition to working with clients in-person, I also work with clients all over the United States and World online, please visit www.onlineadhdcoach.com for more information. To learn more about my other services, please visit www.carrolleducationalgroup.com & www.iepexperts.com. I can be found on Twitter at ADHDGuru. You can also find me on Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr. Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call 877.398.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.