Who Me? Catching Your Child in a Lie
My 6 year old is going through a stage. He’s been lying and stealing and to be honest, it’s been tough on me. It’s a stage we’ve dealt with before but it didn’t last very long. Our eldest child, our daughter, who is now 9, took a ring from her 2nd cousins house and lied about it after but that’s been the extent of her not telling the truth.
My sweet, kind, caring, son… well that’s another story. I use those words because that’s exactly how I would describe him. He gives me lots of hugs and lots of random “I love you’s” (okay so maybe sometimes he says it just to “check” and make sure I’m nearby.) He’s the first one to climb into bed and snuggle in the morning and he’s not rushing in just to turn on the TV! He has definitely given me a few adoring smiles at bedtime and just the other day, when I knocked some cups from the dish rack he was there immediately to clean up my mess while he told me about his day. He is the ultimate sweetheart.
HIM?…REALLY?! CATCHING YOUR CHILD IN A LIE
But, my son, he steals. I’m not sure what’s motivating him to do it, it probably is the thrill of taking something he wants but he knows doesn’t belong to him. In the last week he’s emptied his sister’s cash box. He’s taken her Pokémon and baseballs cards and he has also stolen his fair share of Shopkins from her room. Since Halloween is still fresh, I’ve caught him sneaking candy in the hallway. And each time he denies it!
When his sister first discovered something was missing from her room, initially the shrieking was enough for me to lean toward defending him. Why would I ever think he’d know the code to get into her cash box and take her money? She has a tendency to overreact and so I was quick to think she was jumping to conclusions. But after a brief time of denying it and a sly grin, we all knew he wasn’t telling the truth. After a few attempts of saying he didn’t take the money, he stomped his feet and appeared with a plastic bag filled with coins. Thankfully, he took the entire coin bag and not the dollar bills making it easier to determine what was hers vs. his.
The Pokemon and baseball cards have been a little different however. Because with these, sometimes my kids will trade them with each other and forget what they traded earlier in the day. An argument ensues around which cards belong to whom and I’m left feeling helpless because I can’t back up either one of their cases. Right now, it’s a matter of he said/she said and as much as I don’t want to give into my daughter (because her approach and attitude are really poor), I end up being forced to because of his new reputation. And when I do side with her, he doesn’t fight too hard which only further goes to show, he’s probably not telling the whole truth.
FIGURING OUT APPROPRIATE PUNISHMENTS
We’ve resorted to time outs and apology letters which all seemed to work for my daughter but for him, they aren’t having the same impact. As a child there were very few things my parents felt strongly about and lying was one of them; it was one of the worst things you could do. And for many reasons, including that as I got older, knowing that lying was completely unacceptable (meaning that my parents ALWAYS knew where I was), I agree with that school of thought. But what are reasonable consequences at this age? Especially when my son still thinks it’s kind of cute to get caught in a lie.
I plan on drawing on some tips that I found here (I like the idea of rewarding honesty and “never underestimating the power of guilt”) but it’d be great to hear from you – what consequences have you given your children if you’ve caught them in a lie? Have they worked?