Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lying Yourself Sick? How You Can Help Your Foster Kids Stay Healthy

by John and Diane. 
Shifting eyes is a sign that someone is lying.

A recent article in US News and World Report talks about a study done at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana about the connection between lying and health.

The study found that adults tell an average of 11 lies a week, about 1 or 2 a day and that all these little white lies can add up to minor health issues like headaches, sore throats, sadness and stress.

Over time, it is theorized, that the cumulative effects could include heart issues, high blood pressure, stomach or digestive disorders and muscular tension.

In the study, they asked participants to stop lying during the designated time period, and found that health complaints decreased, supporting the hypothesis that by telling the truth, your health, as well as your relationships will improve.

What does this mean for foster kids who lie?

Well, once you get to know your foster or adopted children over a period of time, you can usually tell when they are lying. “Tells” like looking away, shifting eyes, mumbling words, crossing the arms in front of the body, or nodding the head to contradict speech  (so, if the child is saying yes, but nodding no) can all mean the child is lying, in which case you can attempt to correct the behavior and cut off the stress of perpetrating and continuing the lie.

If your child starts exhibiting symptoms such as an upset stomach, stress, avoidance behavior such as not wanting to go to school (if it’s a behavior that is out of the ordinary for the child), tearfulness, peeing in his or her room or closet, change in appetite or other physical reaction to stress, this may be a signal to you to communicate with the child to determine if the child is hiding a secret or protecting a lie. Once the root of the problem is discovered, you can point to the physical symptoms the child has suffered from and remind them that the suffering was needless if they had been truthful.

RAD Kids or Kids with Attachment Disorders 

However, some children are more focused and savvy, and are able to tell a lie without showing a guilty conscience. Children with a reactive detachment disorder or significant psychological disorders are able to lie effectively without any feelings of guilt or remorse.

These children, common sense would tell us, would not feel any physical symptoms from telling lies, but more likely may feel stress and other physical ailments when the lies are confronted and their manipulative and lying behavior is exposed. 

Overtime, if exposure is continuous and if the behavior and attachment disorder does not improve, the child may experience effects.  Once the child reaches adulthood however, lies and deception are easier to maintain and the stress level may decrease as the person begins to live independently.

Need help with kids who lie? You can refer to our posts for help in addressing lying behavior with your foster kids. Check out:  White Lies or Story Embellishment: Is there a Difference to a Child Who Lies? and    Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: The Three Kinds of Liars and How to Stop Them


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