My child is as perfect as children come, but I’ll be the first tell you that today his wings don’t look so big and horns have grown out of the top of his head. The only thing keeping that halo in place today are those horns.
My child is far from perfect today, and I’m showing just how far from perfect this mama truly is.
I’m really beginning to wonder, “what is going on!” Is my child getting sick? Is he going through another “growth spurt”? Is this just another time of learning who we all are as a family or something?
I know that I’m not the only parent who has gone through this. THANK GOD! I’m just so frustrated today that I need to write about it before I go crazy.
I never send my son to his room. I’m surprise by my own patience with him. I have never been one to have patience with anyone, especially not the amount that I have with my son. And even with this ginormous amount of patience, I sent him to his room *twice* today.
“Maybe you are just in a bad mood.”, you may think.
No. I’m in an amazing mood. I feel sure of myself. I’m happy. I feel beautiful. I actually feel wide awake. And on top of all that I lost another pound. I’m in a fantastic mood.
“Are overdoing it again and piling too many things onto your proverbial plate.”
No. I’m doing my tasks as I can. I’m even re-evaluating the things I want to do so I can actually enjoy doing them. I’d rather not start hating the things I love.
“Would you please just tell us what the problem is? Stop making us guess.”
Sure, I can do that.
I wouldn’t exactly call what my son is going through a normal “growth spurt”, but it is a growth spurt in a sense. Anything a child does is a time of growth. I think he’s struggling with something or through something. He’s overtired, as is foretold by the maroon raccoon rimmed eyes I’ve seen for the past few days. He’s ignoring me. He’s unabashedly fighting with me. He’s yelling and crying about everything. He’s lying to me.
After he lied to us a couple days ago, we had to explain to him why he should not lie. My biggest problem is trying to explain what a lie is. It’s an action, but how do you explain it besides comparing it to telling the truth? For a child his age, how do you explain “the truth” in a manner that he’d understand?
Other than saying “the Bible says not to”, it’s not an easy topic to explain. If I could get in his head and explain things to him, how would I say it? I know how I did say it… I told him not to lie, because “lying is bad. People won’t believe you when you tell the truth.” I told him that “one lie leads to another, and you get to the point where you can’t remember every lie you said… that you eventually get caught in it.”
Did my husband and I give my child consequences for telling a lie? Of course we did. Do you think a lie would pass when he goes to work somewhere? Do you think people will want to spend time with him if they feel they can’t trust him to tell the truth? If he doesn’t tell the truth, what else is he not being honest about?
We chose something that would get through to him. My son loves watching Star Trek with us; we took that away. He went to bed without finishing an episode of Star Trek we started.
And since then I’ve had to step back and think more about this, because this is not the only time my child will lie. He’ll do it again. It’ll be about something more important than even this little issue.
I’ve been thinking of how I could actually word it to help him understand.
What is the truth? The truth is what actually happened. (O.K. He can understand that.)
What is a lie? A lie is changing what actually happened to fit his purposes. (How can I simplify that?) A lie is something that didn’t happen.
Why shouldn’t you lie? If someone told you something that didn’t happen, would you believe them next time they tried to talk to you? No? Do you think people can trust someone who tells lies? Do you think people want to be around someone they can’t trust?
That’s a good start, though some rewording will have to be done as I try to talk to him again about it. He’s only 3 1/2 and this will come up again.
But there are other things parents need to look at when dealing with a child who is caught telling a lie. I think one of the important things that parents need to look at, when trying to talk to their children about what is wrong with lying, is the child’s motive for lying. Is the child lying because of shame for the action or are we so reactionary that they think they’ll save their skin by telling it? Do they think they’ll get away with it? Do they view the “punishment” for lying as less severe than the one they’d get for telling the truth? Do they feel like we can be trusted to listen to their explanations? I am by no means saying that it’s OK for a child to lie, but they do have reasons for it, one of the biggest reasons being fear of us parents.
For example, in our situation, Neylan told a lie because he didn’t want us to pause Star Trek to take care of something. I believe he was afraid that we wouldn’t start the episode again, which was why putting him to bed without finishing it was a good consequence for us.
I prefer to train up my child without the threat of force. Do I spank my child? It’s never an option in our house. I want him to learn what he should do and not just because we tell him to. I don’t want his only reason for not doing something to be because his Mommy tells him not to. I want him to tell himself not to. I want him to learn self-discipline. I want him to think for himself because I will not always be around to help him go down the right path. Right now I am here, and I’ve been blessed with the task of teaching him.
I will not provoke my child to anger by being heavy handed. I will lovingly guide him and help him realize that there are natural and understandable consequences for his actions. I don’t let him get away from situations he should learn from. I am just understanding of the fact that he is a child who is learning how to do this thing called “life”.
Being a parent isn’t easy. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve realized the reason there isn’t a complete and precise manual for teaching children through every stage of their lives. Every child is different and every parent comes from a different background.
Someday we’ll get it figured out; until then, we just keep doing our best, right?
Megan A.K.A. “Mom”
If you have any thoughts on this post, please leave them in the comments section. I’m not an expert, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on talking to children about lying. Thank you in advance.