When Middle Child was young he was a homebody. Most children are grounded to their rooms when they are in trouble. Middle Child would be grounded to the outdoors and forced to play with friends. He could only handle so much interaction with the outside world. He would have to come home and hide in his humble hovel after so much time in the outside world. Some days I thought I was growing an agoraphobic-to-be. Besides needing "his" time he also wasn't very good at telling people he was going home. He oftentimes would be in the middle of playing with friends and just go home. To hide. No one had done anything to upset him, he had just had enough.
One time when I thought he should have grown out of his rude departures I coached him into telling his friends that he was "tired" and needed to "rest" and that he would come play some more later.
Later that week he told his bestest friend in the whole wide world, M, what I coached him to say, verbatim. Not an ounce of deviation. A little after he left M came to his Mom, who happens to be my bestest friend in the whole wide world, and complained.
"Middle Child lied to me!"
"He did? What happened?"
"He told me he was tired and was going home to rest. But I followed him. I spied on him through the window. He's not resting. He's not tired. He's home playing the computer!"
My bestest friend laughed so hard and when she was finally done and had come up for air she called me to tell me the news. I laughed hard and long. At least he finally listened to me and followed my advice. Unfortunately, it backfired. Maybe I should just let him use his rude departures, at least that wasn't lying.