Sunday, 1 August 2010

Teaching Our Children To Be Honest

Well, it's happened. My 7 year old and almost-five year old daughters have started lying to me.

I knew it would someday happen, though I still managed to hope it wouldn't. I knew that, despite my attempts to raise them to be honest, the lessons I tried to teach them about the importance of honesty, the example of honesty I tried to be for them, the church lessons they heard about lying being a sin, yes, I knew, this day would eventually come.

This is the second day this week I have caught them in a lie. The first time, I took the kids out for a walk and noticed that they all had paint on the backs of their legs. They tried to insist that they had been nowhere NEAR my paints, but the proof was in front of my eyes. And after I gave them a talk about how much more disappointed I was in the fact that they were lying to me and how much lying to me just made their transgression worse, they confessed.

And we had our first big after-the-lies talk about being honest and how horrible it is to lie to your parents. I really thought I got through to them as the tears of shame streamed down their faces and they apologized.

And then today happened. Even though I find it important to feed my kids in a healthy manner, occasionally, I allow them sweets or chocolate. (Having lost a lot of weight myself, I know that healthy food is important but that the occasional sweet is okay in moderation.) I bought some very low calories dessert sticks called Mikado Sticks as a treat for myself. It was a new flavor - dark chocolate, and the little box of cookie sticks dipped in chocolate contained 22 of these 10 calories sticks.

I have had two this week. I decided to have two more sticks today as it is a certain time of month and I was craving chocolate. I thought 20 calories of something sweet and chocolatey would be a safe way to feed my craving without losing control of my diet.

That's when I found out that the Mikado sticks were gone. They were nowhere to be found. Knowing that they ALL were under suspicion, my teenagers decided to help me look for the Mikado sticks. One of them remembered seeing my 7 year old acting suspiciously while being in the kitchen. I asked my 7 year old if she'd eaten my Mikado sticks and got a vehement denial that she had done any such thing. I asked the four year old with the same results.

One of my other teenagers decided to go investigate the seven year old's and four year old's room. That was where the empty Mikado stick box was found. Despite our discovery pointing to the two girls as the culprits, they still insisted they had not eaten my Mikado sticks. (My admittedly sarcastic thought to this was, so what? They built a playhouse out of them?)

I explained that I knew they were lying; that I was very disappointed to find them lying to me AGAIN, and that I thought they knew better than to lie to me ever again. I told them that they were grounded from having any sweets this week at all because they stole my Mikado sticks and that they were grounded from playing with their friends this week because they lied to me. I told them that lying was the worse of the two things they had done and that they were eroding any trust I had in the things they said every time they lied to me.

After realizing that she was caught and there was no way out of it, my seven year old admitted to having eaten the Mikado sticks, and the 4 year old admitted it too.

This time, the lies were also told to my husband, their daddy. He will have his own talk with them later. (He had been insisting to me that they couldn't have eaten the Mikado sticks because they had "never lied to" him before. Of course, he stopped insisting that once the box was found in their room.)

I am really sad that they have chosen to lie to me rather than face up to what they'd done. It's bad enough that they were sneaking food that didn't belong to them, but it is just so much worse that they then lied about it.

Did I handle the situation correctly? Despite the fact that I have seven kids and have been through this type of situation before with my older children, I can honestly say that I don't know.

How would you have handled it?

1 comment:

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