Something else is happening…

Question: I am a high school teacher at an inner-city school in Chicago. I have a bright female student who is an athlete and will most likely play basketball in college. This, her senior year, has seen quite a change in her behavior in general. Last week she confided in me about her problems with school have to do with the pressure of the recruiting process and the upcoming 1-year anniversary of her father’s death. I even spent about an hour on the phone with her mother about this (I have a strong relationship with her mother…I have had this student for a few years now). Well, today she was super late to my class — told me she was with the Dean of students — that was a lie — we called her down to confront her and she claimed that she was with the counselor who is the “Mrs.” with the same last name — the Dean and I gave this student every opportunity to tell the truth — she adjusted the story for what we thought was the “truth” — I walked her back to class and clarified why it’s important to tell the truth and to trust me that I PREFER the truth — later in the day I found out that she was NOT with the counselor. So….why would this student, who I am basically her mentor above and beyond teaching, lie to me in front of the Dean AND to my face when no one else was around? What’s the purpose for this habitual lying? She is/was such a good kid and now she is constantly lying about why she is late, missed work, etc. Any thoughts would help. Thank you!
Answer: Paula,
It could be she is really struggling with something and can’t manage everything. She could be overwhelmed and so doesn’t want to disappoint she will lie hoping you won’t find out. It should show you that you are not as close as you thought. Bottomline if this is new behavior it would indicate that something else is going on. You may or may not be able to get to the bottom of it. I would suggest you talk to her parents and or friends who may have a different perspective than you.

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