Children and the Truth

Today when we got home my middle child gave me his “color paper” to sign. Their school puts them on a color, and their behaviour determines what color their clothespin is on. Green is where they start, at “ready to learn”. Pink is the highest they can go, and red gets a call to your mother. Each day they color in their circle on a piece of paper next to the day and I initial it. Today the circle was three colors, on top of each other. The bottom seemed to be orange (not good) then there was blue (quite good) colored all over the top of it with some black (not even on the behaviour chart). I informed my son that I could not sign it, as I was not sure what color it was. I told him I could see it was orange on the bottom, which he denied. He insisted the original color was blue and he was just trying out the orange. I wrote a note to his teacher on the paper, explaining why I could not sign. We will see what happens. I think he must have been on orange and won’t own up to it. Perhaps he believes there will be unpleasant consequences at home for it. Which is not the case. His consequences are enforced for boundary issues or bullying, and not for much else. Because he has to master those things. Until he admits to it, though, he probably will not be receptive to dialogue about it. He knows I have a conference with his teacher tomorrow. So probably tomorrow it will be addressed.

Two of the children in the neighborhood borrowed a Nerf gun from another child, and it has disappeared. No child in the neighborhood admits to having it. I looked in my house, didn’t see it. One child claims to have left it outside the owner’s door. Two of the children in the neighborhood are chronic liars (confirmed by their own mother, who has similar habits) and another of the children is a chronic borrower. I suppose it must be working for them, or such behaviour would not persist, right? I remember not being entirely truthful, myself, until I hit my teens and realized that lying was a huge bother.

My youngest child told me that she had washed her hands for dinner when she had not. She argued with me about it for quite some time, until I told her I was done arguing and she could eat if she washed and skip dinner if she did not wash. She washed up and hardly ate. She then repeated this washing debate for dessert, which I served later. I know she is not at the age of logic, but flu season is upon us and our neighbors are already sick. I am not compromising on this. I told her I would go over proper washing of hands with her tomorrow, since she seems to have forgotten how and when to do it. She insists the soap is unscented. She is a lawyer, I swear to the gods. But at least she washed up each time, no matter how long it took.

Lying is actually one of those misbehaviours that I abhor. I have a very low tolerance for it, and am trying to learn better ways to deal with it. I suppose it is a sort of trigger for me. I am trying to wait for the truth to come out and natural consequences to be enforced, as I suppose you can see me doing with the color issue mentioned above. Lying makes me feel as if reality were fluid, and I do not like that feeling at all. I can only imagine how difficult life would be for a child faced with untruths, how would they make sense of it all? How would they grow, or trust what they learn? I hope my middle child grows out of this quickly and I hope the baby just drops it. This is a real test of my patience. I have had the neighbor children lie to me about unimportant things so often that I am tempted to add a “no lying” clause to my house rules. But they come here to eat. I don’t want them to feel unwelcome.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Children and the Truth

  1. I understand this. I cannot deal with lying. It does something strange in my brain and I can’t handle it. So I hear where you’re coming from. But you’re handling it exactly right, in my eyes. Keep doing what you’re doing. You don’t have to allow lying in your home. It isn’t okay, and that’s an okay boundary to hold to. Stay strong.

  2. I agree. I have no tolera.
    nce for lying. I don’t understand how can someone (adults) put in that much effort into designing a lie and maintaining it, when coming out with the truth is so much easier.
    I admire your honesty and the fact that you unhesitatingly shared this with us all without the mother in you clouding your thoughts.
    I am sure your child will soon grow out of it. Cheers!

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