Chronic lying and ADD | ADHD Information


I'm a single mom of a 12-year old daughter who is ADHD-Inattentive type.  Although she still struggles in school, her inattention/distractablity is somewhat under control on Adderall XR. 

Our biggest problem right now is her tendency to lie.  I've read that lying is a hallmark of ADD kids, so I'm trying to be understanding, but I also want to raise an honest daughter.  Many times she lies to avoid punishment, but sometimes, she lies just for the sake of lying.  I want to be able to trust her, but it's gotten to the point that I can't believe most of what she says unless I can independently verify it.  That's difficult to do short of reading her journal, calling her friends, etc. (which I have done when necessary.)

I've talked to her until I'm blue in the face.  I've tried grounding, rewarding, ignoring....Nothing seems to help.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Any advice??

My son has the same issue so I know exactly what you are talking about.  Unfortunately, I don't know what to do either.  We've tried all sorts of things with no success.  He even tells me that he doesn't mean to lie, it just comes out and he can't stop it.  To make matters worse, this is the one significant issue he seems to have with keeping friends.  He knows it because the kids will even tell him they don't like him to exaggerate or lie.  I would have thought that would have been more inspiration than any punishment I could come up with, but still no luck.  sigh.

If you guys use this boards search option & put in the word "lying" several posts come up.  Perhaps one of them has something that will help you.

This thread suggests a book =1

I am thankful my 8 year old has not done this yet.

Good luck



Kts Mom

I just forwarded this response to someone else at this site regarding ADHD kids and truthfulness.  Hope it gives you the insight you were looking for:

We found an excellent solution to lying but before I pass it on please realize that a child with ADHD has a different outlook on life.  Rather than having me explain it, I copied the applicable passages from this very good web site:

 Live at the “mercy of the moment.” (“Johnny is always swept away by whatever is happening to him right then and there.”) ADHD behaviors make sense once we realize that they are based on reactions taking only the present moment into account.  It is not that Johnny doesn’t care about the future; it is that the future and the past don’t even exist. Such is the nature of the disability.  By way of analogy, imagine riding down a river with a leaking canoe.  You would be so overwhelmed by the need to bail out water that you would not see the upcoming cliff.    It's not that you don't "care" about falling over a cliff--it's that you don't even get to consider it.

Life in the next 4 seconds. If you want to make sense out of inexplicable behaviors by someone with ADHD, just ask yourself: “What behavior makes sense if you only had 4 seconds left to live?”  For example, if you only had 4 seconds to live, it would make sense to lie in order to expediently get out of a problem…After all, who cares about a future reputation when there is no future?!”

Now that you have your son's prospective on lying, here's our solution:

We gave our son an allowance .00 a week, payable at the end of the week.  For every lie we caught him in, we deducted 25 cents.  The first couple of weeks neted him less than a dollar, by the third week he was earning between .50 to .00.  Now,  when we hear a lie coming, we merely ask, "is it really worth a quarter?"

By the way, we tried a similar method mention in a previous reply with mustard on the tongue.  We tried a bite of soap for  inappropriate language.  It worked with only one bite for our oldest son (who doesn't have ADHD), but after two bars of soap with our youngest (who does have ADHD) we realized that type of behavior modification didn't fit into our tool box. 

Hope this helps.



I love both the analogy and the idea about an allowance deduction.  My daughter's allowance is precious to her... It would probably be the one privilege she'd work hard not to lose.

Thanks so much for posting!