By: Mia L. Hazlett
Lies and kids, kids and lies. I believe they go hand in hand. For some I think it is a learned behavior. But for most kids I’ve met, lying is a result of fear. They fear getting in trouble with whatever they are being confronted with. Is there a way to avoid this? I don’t believe there is. Even the best parent cannot control the fear in their children. You cannot tell them not to be scared and have the fear vanish. But I do believe there is a way you can initiate honesty. You cannot control fear or honesty, but you can raise your child to have honest conversations with you and minimize their fear when you confront them with their wrongdoings.
The thing is, I’m not big on yelling and screaming at my kids. That’s just my personality. It doesn’t mean I don’t get angry or upset with them. But I’ve learned what to get upset with. I’m not angry that they’ve spilled milk on the floor and broke the glass. They get in trouble when they leave it on the floor and wait for the Clean-Up Fairy to come and clean it up. Yes, I have become my mother, I now think my kids believe in several domestic fairies.
So if they spill something or break something, they apologize and clean it up. I believe they do this because I’ve learned not to punish accidents or mistakes, but only bad irresponsible behavior. Now if they knocked the glass over, because they were throwing a ball in the house, that’s a different story. Even then, I get a “I’m sorry.” But then the lie begins, “I don’t know how the ball started bouncing across the room.” Now that’s when they end up in trouble.
The best part when it comes to my kids, they are honest liars. I used to have to ask them directly, “Are you lying to me?” or prompt them, “Now tell me the truth.” My youngest now answers, “Yes mommy I’m lying. I’m sorry.” My oldest can’t lie to save her life. We have an ongoing battle with her putting on lotion. For some reason she thinks I can’t recognize dry scaly skin. When she is scratching because it is so dry, I ask her if she has used lotion. She is usually laughing while telling me yes. Then she is subject to the test, I write “liar” on her dry scaly leg. By the time I get to the “i,” I’m interrupted, “okay, okay, I didn’t put any lotion on.”
The point is, we all have that fear of getting in trouble. I’ve learned with my kids, accidents and mistakes are going to happen. If you think not, ask any parent if they would recommend white for carpet or a furniture fabric. Rolling with accidents and mistakes is part of parenthood, because perfection ain’t gonna happen! In my opinion, how honest your kid becomes, depends on how well you handle the truth. I don’t even get that upset watching my kid tell me she’s put lotion on as she reaches for the bottle of lotion. The reasoning, not only is she a bad liar, but she’s an honest liar.