It's inevitable really. As parents it happens to us all, and you're kidding yourself if you think that it's never going to happen to you. One day you are your darling child something, and they look you in the eye and LIE TO YOU. A big FAT lie.
I will never forget the day that Ardyn lied to me. I found something (can't remember exactly what) hidden in a corner of her room that I had asked her to be careful with, or she would break it. It was broken. I put it behind my back,went downstairs and asked her where it was? She looked me in the eye, and told me to my face "It's in the box where it belongs. I put it away." "Really?" I asked. "Yeah," she nodded enthusiastically. Then I brought it out from behind my back.
I was stunned!!! How could my beautiful, darling, sweet, innocent little girl do such a thing???? And so convincingly? I was devastated! Had I not known it was a lie, I would have absolutely believed her. Then the questions started running through my head. "Has this happened before?" "How often is she actually lying to me?"
Kids obviously learn to lie to protect themselves from punishment. They know that if they are caught doing something wrong they will get in trouble. Mine now know that if they get caught lying, there's even MORE trouble to be had. They know it's always best to just tell the truth. Or so I thought.
Today, I experienced a new kind of lie. A lie made in the hope that there would be a reward at the end of it. The reward of choice in our house is stamps on a chart. The standard type of the reward chart that can be found in many a household, in that 'x' number of stamps will earn you "y" reward. Ardyn's "y" at the moment is a Monster High Doll that she has been longing after. Earning it should be simple. Do your chores, do as you are asked, do a little bit extra - earn stamps, get doll.
I have been asking Ardyn for YEARS to do something as simple as eat the crusts on her sandwich. Day after day her crusts would come home in her lunch box - and Bailey has taken to copying her. I have been telling them how I would like them to eat their entire lunch, including the crusts. (It's really not a big deal to not eat their crusts, but it's the half a slice of bread that they leave behind with the crusts that I object to discarding.)
A week or so ago Bailey's lunch box came home empty. And the next day, and the next. She had been eating her crusts, so I gave her a couple of extra stamps.
Today, Ardyn's lunch box was empty. When I asked her where her crusts were, she proudly told me that she had eaten them! I must admit I was a little dubious, but told her how proud I was of her and started considering giving her a stamp. Then for some reason I can't explain, the words popped out of my mouth. "No, you didn't, you put them in the bin." Her first response was "How did you know?" then realising her mistake said "No, I ate them."
"Okay. I didn't. But how did you know?"
Kids can be so oblivious to their own words at times.
"Why did you feel the need to lie honey?"
"You know we don't like lies Ardyn. Why did you lie?"
"I thought I'd get a stamp."
"No stamp for you honey, and count yourself lucky you don't actually get punished for lying to me."
I had to giggle, it's really just a crust, but I also have to be very wary. We've entered a new level of lying. Rather than lying to avoid something, she's lying to gain something. And she's good at it. Cal can't tell when she's lying, and I'm sure in years to come she'll be able to fool me too.
The next level is lying and actually believing her own lies. That's the one I'm scared of. I was good at it. If you believe your lie, then it becomes the truth and it's not as hard to continue with it.
To this day mum still tells me she doesn't want to know what was the truth and what was a lie in my teenage life. Knowing the truth scares her a little.
How the hell do I stop that one happening? How the hell can I try and convince her that it's not worth going there? I know that I'm blowing a small lie for a small reward up into something far greater, but I am wary. Wary for the future. Wary for her safety. Wary for my sanity.
With any luck that's years away. I think I'm just lying to myself, but not sure if I can believe it this time.
In the meantime, how do I just get her to eat those damn crusts?????