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Ask Them No Questions, and They Will Tell You No Lies

Question

Hi! My seven year old was trained to fall asleep (8pm) on his own and he knows he’s to stay in bed until 7am. He has been waking up in the night around 2am and often stays up for the rest of the night reading. He tends to have a bad day at school (sitting times, writing lines) after waking and staying up in the night. He’s been starting to lie about sleeping until at least 6am when he’s been awake in the night. He only tells the truth when I catch him at the right moment.

We are very much asleep and I have no intention of setting an alarm to wake up to check on him. So I have two problems: waking up in the morning and lying. Very frustrated over here.

Would love some advice!! Thank you!

Answer

Thank you for reaching out.

In John Rosemond's words, “Ask them no questions and they will tell you no lies.”

If you already know the answer do not ask your child the question. Just tell him what you know. Meaning go from, “Did you wake up at 2am and stay up reading all night?” to your new statement “I know you have been up all night reading.”

The reason you do not ask questions you already know the answer to is to prevent your child from creating drama and being the center of attention. Think about it. You know what your child has done. You ask the question and they don’t give you an answer or correct one. What do you do? You get all bent out of shape. I.E. drama. If you keep up this cycle your child will continue to lie to keep the drama going and being the center of attention. I am sure you don’t want to deal with that when he is a teenager.

My recommendation… stop making a big deal about it. Look on the bright side your son goes to bed at 8pm and doesn’t come out of his room until 7am. That is 11 hours; ELEVEN HOURS; that you get to do you. What is even more amazing, he has found a way to occupy himself in the middle of the night with READING. How awesome is that! Just think he could be coming into your room and waking you in the middle of the night because he can’t sleep. What’s the old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” In your situation “you can provide the opportunity to sleep, but you can’t force the child to sleep.”

So, if you know he woke in the middle of the night and stayed up reading don’t ask him about it. If you know before he goes to school, just message the teacher to give her a heads up so she can better prepare for her day with your son to help ease the ‘bad day’.

Here is to restful sleep.
Reach back out if you have any more questions. We are here to help.

Amy Timberlake
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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