Monday, November 17, 2008

lying around here...

Parading the Elephant
Ok - so I'm going to talk about the elephant in the house.... Even the best of the best parents are faced with it, if they're honest. I often catch myself posting only about the pretty in child rearing, the pretty in life. I’ve had some great support among some mommys on forums I belong too locally, and we've sought out advice from various family members, talked directly to my parents, my husband's talked to his. But in the end, we're really forming a plan that fits our value system.

So what's the big deal??
Lying, and it's absolutely a big deal to us. I've written this post at least 10 times when frustrated, and deleted it - only to feel better after getting my words out. I've not posted it, because I've wondered if it was some sort of invasion of my child's privacy, am I a bad mom for being open about something like this? But if I only journal about the accomplishments, I'd create the scene that our parenting is without flaw and that it's a cakewalk. Do other parents have perfect kids, or are they just less inclined to talk about the less attractive part of parenting? I've ran across some blogs that I treasure that share intimate details of their journey in parenting. I blog mostly as a daily journal - so to be honest with myself would be to post the good, bad and the ugly. I post so that I can go back to a particular day and reflect, and doing so allows me to see what's changed. I've had my blogs from previous years printed and binded - it's nice to have a keepsake like this that shows growth!

Parenting 101 - the adolescent years
Even with our best efforts, our eldest has been lying to us occasionally about the obvious, things that we can easily check on and find the truth for ourselves. Most of the time, it's because he wants to avoid more work or avoid the hassle of what the outcome of the truth means. So what are we to do? We know all kids do it at one point or another, and to one extreme or another. We can't ignore it, because that isn't how we show our love, we'd be enablers. We can't make it the sole focus of our life, because that would not leave any positive to shine through. We can't spend day and night trying to make sure that everything he says is the truth, that would be exhausting and pointless. We are doing what we can to reinforce how important honesty is.

Raising my hand - I have questions...
What drives someone to lie? Will we ever know WHY? Even the most Christian of Christians have lied. I have alot of questions, and I know they'll never be answered. What's changed? Why this all of the sudden? Medical professionals will tell me that this is "normal" what in the H&$# is NORMAL about lying?? for his age, my parents tell me that while I went through it for a little while, the boys seemed more inclined to do it. Maybe it was because I saw their consequences and didn't really want them for myself. I get no real answers to my pondering. I get anything from scientific to biblical reasons for lying, but I will never know what goes on in his head that drives him to lie. I could ask, but would I get the truth?

Being Grounded
We grounded him, and at the same time we've got ourselves better grounded. It's important to us that our boys know that they can come to us and be honest about things and we're not going to judge them. I guess his being grounded is more of a motivational tool for him, and our getting ourselves better grounded is an important part of stepping up our game. We are raising each boy to be an individual, to be original, and to understand that we all make mistakes. It's not always easy to enforce this in kids, the big picture isn't as clear to a 10 year old child as it is for his parents. The big picture for us is that the price our children pay for dishonesty NOW is much less then it will be later, and we really want them to learn from mistakes.

From Elephants to Horses

It’s a new week and we’re done beating that dead horse. Our expectations are clear, we’ve put it out on the table that this nasty habit is unwelcome and we’re not going to stand for it. So far, for this week, we’ve had a great start! There’s no sense in going on and on. We’ve wiped the slate clean. We have two terrific boys, both who are growing up and going through huge developmental changes at the same time! We have no words for how proud we are to be these boys parents, even when it means they do the wrong thing…. After all, that’s what we’re here for, to guide them in the right direction. Sometimes when things like this come along, it makes me realize how large our responsibility really is - and we must keep our sights on the bigger picture. I'm thankful for the horse, even though it's dead... It's made us feel like better parents, because we didn't ignore it and we're dealing with it head on.

I’m wondering… what do you do when your boy/girl lies to you??


Julie@Cool Mom Guide said...

You know, I was just reading an article about children and lying. For example, a 3 year old child will lie to his/her parent. They don't do it with deceit in mind, it's a natural form of self preservation. The "fight or flight" reflex, if you will. When someone is confronted with something they instinctually think could harm them, the first reaction is to protect ones self. I think as adults, we try to learn to condition ourselves to tell the truth, but no one reall wants to show the ugly side. So while you may be using this as a forum to talk about your kids accomplishments, you're not lying by not mentioning them, you're merely omitting them.

Brianisarockstar said...

I am intrigued by this post. We have an AWFUL amount of lying that goes on over at the rockstar household. Alot of it has to do with the fact that we have a few wounded children with detachment disorders where lying is second nature (actually first nature). We hold the kids responsible for their lies, but for the ones where the instinct is to lie, we give them one chance.

The first thing they do is lie. When we know it is a lie, we then say something along the lines of "OK, I really don't feel you are being honest with that answer. Don't say anything, think about it for a minute and then when you are ready tell us the truth."

The kids know when they hear that out of our mouths that they have a get out of jail free card, yet they also know if they continue with the lie for one more minute ... punishment is on the horizon.

Most of the time, if given a second to really think about which is worse, correcting the lie or receiving punishment, they usually turn towards the light ... usually :-)

Good honest post. It is not all lollypops and ice cream unfortunately!

Heather said...

We were bombarded recently with a huge act of deceit that rocked us to our core (and I won't reveal), and what it attempted to cover was even worse. And on top of that, lies and general passive aggressive, non compliant behavior are going on.

In our kid's case, I see various reasons behind it: 1) the world is sinful 2) we are all self-preservationists 3) developmentally, kids want to assert some independence SOME Where 4) we have made some mistakes in our parenting 5) our daughter has used deceit to cover up other issues we needed to deal with long before now. These are all valid reasons.

That said, it does somewhat help to know the reasons and yet it does not aptly provide a solution. So what is pulling me through this is prayer for God to help her, prayer for God to help ME be the parent she needs, and prayer that I will be forgiving, because lying destroys trust. I am trying to make my mercies new every morning with a completely clean slate, and to not test my daughter by asking inane questions like, "Did you..." when I know she did not. Why punish us both by setting her up to lie? I TRY to address things directly with "You did/did not _____. Let's talk about it." Testing is a natural reaction, but I think in the long run it makes a bad situation worse and hinders healing.

I loved the way the rockstar addresses this same issue because above all, we need to understand that we are all falliable, and sometimes there are underlying issues deep in the heart. I love the "think before your answer." I am certainly going to be using that.

I'm praying for you, as always.

bassackwards mom said...

itspews: thanks for the reply on the post. I didn't disclose the actual 'dirty deed' topic for the very reason that I respect that this is a developmental change, a personal struggle, and a growth opportunity. I tried my very best to be tactful in this post. It means something to *me* to journal, I can look and reflect and think.... rambling...It seems this comes and goes in parenting, and I am thankful to have our parents to talk to about it... masters of parenting - and they're wise beyond their years.

Rockstar/Coolmom: I also appreciate the your insight. We love getting other perspectives. Our way, isn't always the right way and it's clear to us that we'd be fooling ourselves if we thought that it always was!

Brianisarockstar said...

No way is the right way ... in parenting :-)