Exasperation – that’s what I was feeling when, within two days, Lia had lied about ten times. I was even stopping her before she answered me, and encouraging her to tell the truth (a method that has worked with some success before), and she would stop and think…and then lie. And about the dumbest things, too.
So I googled for help. What did parents do before google?
And in my three minute search, I came upon a few tools.
First I tried to determine why she was lying. I’m about 98% sure she’s lying because she doesn’t want to get in trouble. So I wasn’t helping the matter because I was wanting her to see that lying is a BIG no-no and was reacting strongly and firmly. Which locked us into a lose-lose situation. So I changed my reaction philosophy.
Now I’m learning to change my language. This morning, after a trip to Ross en route to grocery shopping (I got an interim purse, hooray!), I got everyone in the car and then noticed a strong, familiar smell. First I said, “Did you take that bottle of nail polish out of Ross?” To which she, of course, instantly answered “no”.
So I rephrased, (having not been thinking quickly enough in Round 1): “Where in the store did you get that nail polish?”
And without hesitation, she told me the truth: near the purses.
That’s the second or third success we’ve had since yesterday afternoon’s empowering google search. Phew.
Having just gotten everybody in the car (no small feat), I drove up to the door and had Lia get out and go into the store and return the nail polish by herself. – I was eight feet away – And she did it, even though she was ‘scared’. I was proud of my little girl. Not for lying and stealing, of course, but for being brave enough to make things right. And I was proud of myself for doing what (I hope) was the right thing. Sheesh, parenting takes a lot of thinking fast on the fly. Too bad they don’t teach you this stuff in college.