Between Us: When Kids Lie

Journey's Sweet Face1

How could this sweet face tell such a big lie?

Last week, my daughter told her first lie… or should I say, her first real lie.  She lies as much as the average kid, I guess.  She’s at the age when little lies seem to weave into her adventures on the playground and her imagination blurs the line between truth and fantasy.  But this time was different.  This time, the lie was deliberate.

I should have known something was up when she started to yawn and mention how tired she was.  This sounded a little strange coming from a kid that hates to be labeled as “tired” more than anything.  Nevertheless, she got ready for bed and went through her normal ritual.  First, she plugged in her iTouch to speakers so she can listen to music until she falls asleep.  Then she arranged her stuffed animals in the bed, put on her slumber mask (I know…lol) and it was lights out.  She asked me to close the door, which was another red flag in retrospect (although she has asked to have the door closed on a few other occasions–but this was the first time she asked at bedtime).

About 30 minutes later, I mentioned to my husband how she must have had a busy day since she was so tired as I went to check on her.  I knew it was trouble when I opened the door and saw that the covers were in a weird shape.  I pull the covers back and what did I see?  She was watching a video on her iTouch!  I was so shocked, all I could say was, “Journey…I’m so disappointed!”  She started sobbing uncontrollably.  All she kept saying was, “I can’t resist it, I can’t resist watching Disney Channel!”  (Is she kidding me?!) I took the iTouch to see what video she was watching…Austin & Ally…a Disney Channel show!  Apparently, the talk we had about no longer watching Disney Channel programs (read more about this) did not go as well as I thought…

I told her to just go to bed and we would discuss it in the morning.  As soon as she woke up, she wanted to talk about it.  I told her we would discuss it when she got home from school.   She replied, “I want to get it over with.  I don’t want it on my brain all day.”  “Oh, but that is part of the punishment”, I thought to myself.  She followed with, “I didn’t mean to dishonor you.”  Um…okay…dishonor…wow!  I think she meant to say disobey.  But then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if she meant just what she said.

When I picked her up from school, the first thing she said was, “Can we talk about it now?”  “We will talk when we get home,” I said.  “But it’s been on my brain aaallll daaayyy!”

I gave her a snack and while she was eating, we finally discussed the incident.  She started by saying how sorry she was and that she did not mean to dishonor me.  (So, I guess she did mean to say dishonor.)  She went on to say that she knows she’s not supposed to watch the channel, but she just couldn’t resist. First, I told her that she is in charge of what decisions she makes and has to do a better job of thinking before she acts.  Then I explained to her that when she lies, she not only dishonors me (hey, I figured I may as well use it), she dishonors herself as well.  I told her that if she is going to be a liar, then I wouldn’t be able to trust her.  And that there will be a lot of things that she won’t be able to do if I can’t trust her.  I also told her how important it is to always tell the truth, keep your word, and live with integrity.  “What’s integrity?” she asked.  “It’s when you live a life that is honest and that you can be proud of.  Are you proud of yourself?” I asked.  “No,” she said as she started to cry.  By this point, I’m getting teary-eyed.  “Remember, as long as you always tell me the truth, we can always work it out—no matter what, okay?”  “Okay.”

Hopefully, this conversation sticks better than our last one.  She had the rest of the week to let it sink it since she lost her TV time, iTouch and favorite snack as her punishment.  We shall see…

How do you handle it when your kid lies?

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14 thoughts on “Between Us: When Kids Lie

  1. I think you handled it beautifully! A lot more calm than I would have. I guess taking the time in between the incident and the discussion helps. You would think it would get easier after being through it with one child. However it isn’t. I have to remember that when I am correcting the young ones that they are young and I need to speak on their level. I like the fact that you used dishonor herself and integrity.

  2. This made me tear up! When you parent your children well all along, they will discipline themselves at the appropriate time. I’m proud of both of you!

  3. Sounds like your daughter gave herself plenty of guilt about lying – which hopefully will guide her behavior in the future. You handled it beautifully, and your calm reaction will probably make her more likely to tell the truth next time.

  4. My preschooler is just about 4 and so far we haven’t had too many lies. Right now, I say to him, “if you tell me the truth, you will not get in trouble.” This method seems to be working just fine for now. I’m sure that as he gets older, we’ll have to have more of a game plan! Stopping by today via #SITSharefest

  5. My son does it quite often he is about to be 7 in a couple of days. His first big one was when he had some extra money I didn’t pay attention to it because we give him 10 bucks allowance every 2 weeks so when he came to me and said he had almost 30 bucks saved from his allowance I didn’t think much about it I was thinking he must have saved his money and went on about my day. That night the hubs asked me if I had seen his 15 dollars he had on the dresser I said no then I thought wait my son had “extra money” I woke him up out of his sleep and sure enough he had stolen his dad money and played it off as if it was his allowance money. I took all of the money and he was on punishment for a month. This happened around January of this year so far no big lies since.

  6. She is so beautiful. And this was a great post! I’m so glad that I found your blog. WordPress had you in my suggestions list. Good job, WP! Well, it seems as though she learned her lesson here. I always feel terrible when I have to take away privileges from my son (13yrs old). When he goes to bed at night, he is not allowed to turn on his tv, or watch any videos or play his games after we say our prayers and say good night. Well, one night, he fell asleep and I had gone back in the room to put some laundry away and he had taken my iPad and hid it under his comforter and had been watching old episodes of spongebob. He also had his Lego toys and toy cars in the bed. So, apparently, after I said goodnight and walked out of his room, he had a party in his room! I was shocked, hurt, and then it dawned on me that he is a teenager now, and that I might have done something similar at his age. I never like punishing him and taking away the things that make him happy, but I had to show him that disobeying me was unacceptable. Needless to say, he too lost his TV privileges, and was not allowed to play with his oh so loved Legos, and toy cars. It was a short punishment of 2 days, but to him it was an eternity. I am going to read some more of your posts later on when I get home from work. You’ve got a new follower here! 

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