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Pamela Fagan Hutchins | Poo Poo on You.

Who, me?

On Sundays, my husband Eric and I assign chores to our kids.  If they get “the minimum” done, they stay in our good graces.  If they contribute at a level above the minimum appropriate to their age and maturity, they get an allowance.

Liz, age 16, reliably keeps her eye on the prize — the money — and does everything we ask her to, with no fuss.  Susanne, 12, makes it a challenge, but we can generally cajole her through the process.  Both girls are “neuro-typical.”

Our ADHD son Clark [age 13 at the time I wrote this post] is another story.  Clark has a long history of deferring future pain for current pleasure in the form of omitting the truth, dodging the questions, and flat-out lying.  While Clark is a charming boy, this is not a charming quality.  We have tried everything we — or our many counselors — could think of, but nothing gets through to him for long.

This Sunday was more of the same.  We gave Clark four tasks: clean his room, clean his bathroom including mopping, change the cat box including clean the area around it, and bag and dispose of the (mountains of) dog poo in our backyard.  Clark did not have the most pleasurable jobs his week, but we do rotate out “poo” week amongst the kids.  As an ADHD kid, obviously Clark has organizational challenges.  We expect those and work with him.  It’s the challenge with truth that causes all of us the most consternation.

Of the three of the four tasks, Clark

·         “didn’t hear me” ask him to mop,

·         “forgot” to put the cat litter into the empty cat box,

·         “didn’t understand” that cleaning up the cat area meant sweep up cat kibbles in addition to sweeping up cat litter, and

·         “thought his room looked great.”

The kicker was the dog poo.

When we discovered the many issues with Clark’s other assigned tasks, Eric looked into our trash bin to see if it contained a bag of poo.

No bag, no poo.

He asked me if poo cleaning had occurred in the back yard.  Surprisingly, it had.  We asked Clark if he did the poo clean up.

“Yes,” Clark said.

“Where’s the bag of poo?”I asked.

“I put it in the bin.”

“Show us.”

“What do you want me to do, dig around in there?”

“Yes.”  Big, big wide brown fast-thinking eyes unblinking…

After we confirmed the absence of the poo bag in the bin — although we smelled plenty of other unpleasant stuff in there — the three of us went around the yard and the house looking for the bag.

“Someone took it, Mom.”

“Clark, we have not had a real problem with dumpster diving in our bin, and, if we had, why would they take only the bag of poo?  No one steals poo, Clark.”

“Well, what if it is just gone, Mom.”

“Clark, it isn’t just gone, it never existed, did it?”

“Well, I didn’t throw it over into the neighbor’s yard.”

Our heads whipped around.

“What was that?  Someone threw poo in the neighbor’s yards?  Who?  When?” Eric asked.

“It wasn’t me, it was like, last summer, and it wasn’t me.”

This was the end for Mr. Clark.  We reminded him of the little boy who cried wolf, and that he had cried wolf one too many times with us.  We did not believe there was ever a bag of poo in the bin.  Moreover, we were getting out the flashlights and doing a little recon in the neighbors’ yards right that second unless he came clean about the poo.

“Wait, guys, wait.  How about we look for the poo bag tomorrow?  Maybe it is under a bush or something in the back yard,” Clark pleaded.

The “poo” was getting deeper.

“OK, Clark; find this bag of poo after school tomorrow.  But know that first we are going to look in all three neighboring yards in daylight.”

So, some of you know Clark very well.  What did we find…poos in the neighbors’ yards?  A bag of poo under a bush in our yard?  Or a bag of poo in the bin???  Let’s just say it didn’t go well for young Clark.

A lack of focus is one thing, and some of his un-completed chores I could chalk up at least partially to focus.  Lying is another thing altogether, and, while a propensity of ADHD, not something we can tolerate.    However, we haven’t been able to stop it, either.

Do you battle lies with your neuro-atypical kids?  How about your neuro-typical offspring?  At what age did they start? Did they get worse with age?  What worked to stop them?

Until next time…


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23 Responses to Poo Poo on You.

  1. Eric Hutchins says:

    The idea of dog poo flying over the 6 foot fence and landing on a neighbors lawn chair still makes me chuckle, in a slightly painful way. But the very best of it was; “I think someone went into the trash can and stole the poo!” this is the words of someone really stumbling on a way out of a mess (which Clark is a master of because he is such a smart kid). Normally when confronted with evidence of lieing he is an expert at fabricating a plausible story and then hanging on to it like a pit bull.
    When it comes to dog poop, its obviously no big deal, as the parent (step-dad) of a teenager what you worry about are things like drugs and alcohol.

    • Pamela says:

      You know it. Lies become more serious. The medicine has helped tremendously, but this is an area of great worry. Even if individual moments can be funny, when you look at it them right way.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PamelaFaganHutchins, PamelaFaganHutchins. PamelaFaganHutchins said: Poo Poo on You: #teenage #adhd, chores, & #lying. Laugh when you feel like crying. […]

  3. My older son was at his worst with the lying between ages 9 and 14 if I recall correctly. We were frustrated parents and didn’t have a lot of formal skills to deal with it (or internet advice or research) so we grounded him. He grew up ok, but not without causing a lot of my gray hairs.

    • Pamela says:

      Yeah, 9-14 seems about worst. And as far as I can tell, girls manipulate, and boys lie. Although I’m not sure if it’s really all that different. :) I know I was BAD as a kid. The difference w/C is that it is about EVERYTHING. Our other kids saved it for the big stuff, ha ha.

  4. Yo-yo Mama says:

    My son lies to us frequently as well with the excuse of he doesn’t want to get into trouble for whatever it is he’s lying about. The “problem” is is he’s a terrible liar. He would give away what happened much like the “it’s not in the neighbor’s yard!” statement. Of course I can’t tell him he’s a terrible liar, it’s my only defense right now.

    I’m trying to read more information on ADHD so I can help our son be a better person; I really hope he doesn’t become a better liar though.

  5. Oh my girl! The poo has certainly hit the fan in your house. Thinking good thoughts for all of you. :)

  6. LBDDiaries says:

    My poor son coudln’t lie even if someone promised him a room full of hot wheels. He had too many tells. I’m thinking he was worse in that middle school age but I still remember a couple of doozies from high school. Overall, he didn’t lie much simply because the whole world knew he was lying when he tried. I am pretty glad he didn’t lie like I did growing up – I was a major liar even knowing if I got caught I’d get it – but I was a darned good one – no tells (not that I told my son that)!! VERY funny post you have here ’cause if you don’t laugh about it…

  7. My son is 13 and those excuses? Cloned in him.

    “Didn’t hear. Forgot. Huh? Didn’t I do that already?”

    But claiming someone stole the poo out of the trash bin simply Takes The Cake!!!

    (Well, actually it makes me lose my appetite because I’m laughing too hard!)

    Love it (sorry) and I’m so glad to know it’s not. just. me.

    Your family is awesome. In every way.

    • Pamela says:

      Dontcha love middle school boys? So transparent.
      Clark is now nearly 16, and wants to drive a car. We backed him up 2 months for another lie, recently. He won’t be able to get his license on his 16th birthday.
      The truth is starting to look more appealing to him 😉

  8. Heidi M says:

    Ah, there but for the grace of God go I, my friend. My “Clark” has what we call a “convenient memory” — you never said that, I already did it but the teacher misplaced it, I didn’t hear, blah blah blah. I call it “wrong and strong”… I think he actually convinces himself of his “truth.”
    So exasperating and unnerving, too. Getting a little better now that we’ve hit 16, but I’m loathe to turn the car keys over to one always looking for an excuse.

    • Pamela says:

      Man, we are right there with you on the “turning over car keys” issue. We intentionally started drivers ed late so he won’t get his license until 3 months after his 16th, at a minimum. Thinking good thoughts for y’all!

  9. Ally says:

    Someone stole it? Maybe they threw it in the neighbor’s yard? Maybe under a bush? Oh my. I realize the difficulties you deal with, but there are times I read your stories and actually feel guilty for laughing. I’m sure it’s not funny. *snort* But… finding humor makes things better, right?

    My son is a terrible liar (and neuro-typical, so once again, I admire you greatly for how well you parent). I’m glad he only really tried it out a couple of times and gave it up. Of course, one of those times was when he drove the car around the block on a dare before having his license… when we weren’t home. The neighbor ratted him out, and when we confronted him, he melted into a puddle of guilt.

  10. Irene says:

    Did he really fling the poo in the neighbor’s yard?!




    Shame on Clark!


  11. We have a son like that. Rather, ummmm, not tell the truth, not work hard in school, won’t do homework. We heard for years how he wasn’t going to college. Guess, what? Last semester of high school? He gets it. Tell the truth? Still struggles with it much to our disappointment. Some kids need real life to adjust. With 5 sons, I decided that some sons would have been more successful 200 years ago, able to be apprenticed out or farm. They needed independence and hard work to align them to reality of consequences, whereas most of my other sons are honest, coachable and do their work – they kind of see the end game. I don’t think our technology culture helps us raise the sons who really need responsibility early – and I mean real responsibility – not the kind where they keep up with their cell phone minutes:)

    Best of luck. I literally feel your pain!

    • Pamela says:

      SO TRUE — in fact, the ones how would have rolled up there sleeves and lifted heavy things would have been MORE successful than our brainy ones 200 years ago. Now they have to go work at Best Buy, and it’s not the same thing.

      Good luck to yours (all 5), especially the late bloomer.

  12. Todd says:

    How are his grades though? No one really wants to pick the poo up, lol. I have to admit that back in my days I have tossed a couple over the fence, we used to call it remembering lost memories. Hopefully he can make up for the lie and get his license on his bday!

  13. Sandy says:

    This is too funny. When TJ’s kids lived with us it was their job to pick up poo too and it got very interesting at times. Little Bill was about 6 and could not work the pooper scooper so I put a plastic glove on him and gave him a plastic grocery bag to put it in. I watched him from inside do a great job of picking up poo. When he was done he began shaking his hand to get the glove off. He shook and shook and it wouldn’t fall off. So, with his teeth! He gripped each finger one by one and pulled it off!!! I was never so grossed out in my life! The logical thing to do would have been to put down the bag and use his other hand, but nooooooo, he used his mouth instead. TJ & I teased him about that clear into adulthood.

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