Mayhem is perfect.
In his world view he does nothing wrong. Nothing is ever his fault. He is a victim of the actions of others, usually Havoc’s.
This does not mean he won’t admit to incorrect action, assuming you haven’t directly or indirectly accused him of anything.
And assuming he is feeling particularly guilty about the action.
When his teacher asked the class at large if anyone had been in the reward box of Ring Pop candies & taken them, Mayhem stood right up and admitted to everyone that he took the last 3 and ate one. Then he returned the other two and cried a bit but accepted his punishment of no Wii for 3 days & the cost of replacing a ring pop.
This is a good thing. He admitted his mistake, made what restitution he could & accepted the consequences. I’m proud of him for speaking up.
But this is an aberration in Mayhemland. It is the exception that proves the rule.
Normally the conversation goes something like this:
Me (in a calm voice): Do you know where the M&M bag is?
Me: Did you eat any of the M&Ms?
Me: (looking at the red & yellow candy stains on his hand and smelling chocolate on his breath) Are you sure you didn’t eat just a couple? (pointing at his hand)
Mayhem: no. That’s from school (which let out 3 hours ago & he’s washed his hands & had supper since)
Me (slightly annoyed now): I know you had some M&Ms Mayhem.
Mayhem: Havoc ate them. I saw him.
Havoc protests his (doubtful) innocence, insisting he did nothing of the kind while Mayhem swears he did & their fight ends with
Havoc saying: You gave me the bag Mayhem & then took it back after I got a handful.
Thus admitting he is guilty of eating M&Ms, which he had denied, something he accepts with little protest when I point it out.
Saint Mayhem though is being persecuted by the slings and arrows of misfortune as his mother tortures him with further accusations and attempts at making the behavior seem understandable in the hopes of getting a guilty plea.
Me: Look, you wanted some M&Ms, I get that. I wanted some M&Ms. And M&Ms are good so you had a handful & then you got another one and before you knew it the M&Ms were gone. It happens. That’s why I say ‘use a bowl’. Just admit you ate them. I’m not that upset about the M&Ms, but the lying is starting to make me mad.
Mayhem sits up, dislodging an M&M & exposing a corner of the M&M bag he has tucked into the sofa cushion, as he says: You don’t know what’s in my mind Mom.
I point at the M&M and Mayhem screams that’s Havoc’s M&M. Havoc dropped it on him. Even though Havoc has been sitting at the computer for an hour now.
Eventually Mayhem is punished for persistent lying & we spend an hour of listening to wailing about how it’s not fair & can he have another chance.
Things that are not crimes are also not Mayhem’s fault.
Sunday we were over my friend’s Mel’s house & the kids were playing with their DSes. Then they decided to go outside. Mayhem put his DS on the end of the table. The other kids left them on the floor cushion. An hour later Mayhem comes looking for the DS. It’s not on the floor cushion where he is convinced he left it. Someone must have taken it! Or maybe someone moved it. But he, Mayhem, left it on the floor cushion and it’s not there now. Where is it?!?!?
Me: Honey, it’s on the table where you left it.
Mayhem: NO I DIDN’T!! Someone else put it there.
Me: What is the big deal? You forgot where you put it. It happens.
Mayhem: No I didn’t! I put it on the floor cushion! Someone else moved it! I didn’t do it!!
People mess with Mayhem even when they are not in vicinity.
Havoc & I were in the kitchen working on his homework. Mayhem was in the living room. I was looking at him because he was telling me something. He was walking across a bare floor when he suddenly tripped. First words out of his mouth:
Me: You tripped over your own feet. It happens to everyone sometimes. Havoc had nothing to do with it.
Mayhem: It’s Havoc’s fault!
Me: How is it his fault?
Mayhem: Because it is!
And this will be repeated over and over as I try to get him to admit Havoc had nothing to do with it.
Mostly we deal with this by persisting until he admits the truth of the matter, which usually involves threatening to take away the Wii.
We also resort to mockery at times. We actually do call him “Saint Mayhem” during these episodes.
About a year or so ago we went through a few months of Mayhem feeling guilty about everything he did or thought, including things he’d done years ago. We spent a lot of time trying to help him work through it.
I think we may have gone overboard somehow on the positive reinforcement & now need to swing the pendulum back the other direction.
Mayhem’s always been a perfectionist but this is ridiculous.