Children have the greatest resolve to stand by their convictions. Especially if they feel that the consequences will be much worse than lying. We’ve spent years presenting our children the value of truth and honesty, and we still struggle with instances where a child would rather go down in flames than to merely cop to the event in question.
In this particular situation, it wasn’t a big deal. We aren’t talking about a major auto theft, someone punching another person, or even a money situation. We are talking about moving pens from one part of the house to another, and claiming that I used them when my wife questioned my daughter. At the time, I was composing a blog entry on my laptop, and I clearly saw my daughter drawing something as the Patriots- Ravens game played on the television. My wife was in the bedroom so she had no idea what happened, but I wasn’t allowed to see what my daughter was drawing.
20 minutes later, my daughter didn’t know how the pens got on the end table. She told my wife I took them out. Even as I explained to my wife that she was drawing and told me she was using her notebook with one of the pens to draw with, she tried to make it out like she was from another planet.
Ultimately my daughter and wife had a few disagreements earlier in the day, and I think she decided to revert back to her old “lie before I tell the truth” behavior, fearing worse consequences. In our house though, you never get punished for telling the truth. Where we have difficulties is having to play detective to get at the truth from hours and hours of story telling.
So my wife and I spent the rest of the afternoon informing her about truths. The fact that it’s our job to prepare her to live a self-sufficient life when she’s an adult by preparing her with not only the education she needs school-wise, but also the life skills she will need when she lives on her own. How you have to know budgeting and finance skills to take care of your money. How to cook for herself, clean for herself, take care of laundry- a lot of the basics that I’m sure as adults we want others to do for us, but should know how to do ourselves.
That truth will set you free, and that lying just leads to deeper and deeper trouble. If you feel comfortable lying to yourself, how can you lead a worry-free or happy life? How can you keep stories straight if you tell different sets of lies to one group of people versus another?
This all could have been headed off if she had been honest from the start about her feelings, and honest when she attempted to deceive. She didn’t really feel enthusiastic about cleaning today. I don’t think we are asking for much when it comes to just expressing her feelings instead of acting out. She had a week straight of temper-tantrum free behavior- and she needs to learn that one stumbling block does not mean that she automatically loses support for her good previous choices.
Maybe overtly praising her better choice making to channel her angry emotions in better directions scared her. I do think acknowledging good behavior will in turn lead to more good behavior- but she’s afraid of the expectations as a result. To me, if you haven’t received the best results from the negative attention or behavior, what do you have to lose by going to the side of the positive?
Oh well, I guess it’s another week of exposing her to Harvey Mackay, John Maxwell, Jim Rohn and Brian Tracy. Maybe a kernel of their truth will set her mind free, free to explore better choice making and decisions on the fly with her family.