How we teach children to lie, without realizing it #attachmentparenting

Yes. It is we, the parents, who teach them to lie. And this is how:

Kids Wall 2

Caption: “I didn’t do it!”

Jane: Ender? Did you poop your pants?

Ender: Yes.

Jane: Oh, Jeezus, Ender, how could you? I just asked you if you needed to go 10 minutes ago. Fucking hell, and now I have to change your poopy bum, and it is so disgusting, yuck…

What happens next time?

Jane: Ender? Did you make a poop?

Ender: No.

Jane: Of course you did! Why are you lying to me?

We ask a question. We get the truthful answer. We don’t like what we hear. We freak. We repeat this cycle. The result: we teach the child to lie.

And it’s so simple. Do this instead:

 Jane: Ender? Did you poop your pants?

Ender: Yes.

Jane: Let’s go clean your bum. Tell mama next time as soon as you feel you need to go, ok?

Better yet, don’t ask questions to which you know the answer, right? Ya’ know he pooped. Ya’ can smell it. Just say this:

 Jane: Let’s go clean your bum, dude, and then we can go back to playing.

I chose the toilet training example because it’s almost invariably the topic of a new parent’s first “My child has started to lie! What do I do?” And we just don’t realize that we’ve been coaching them to lie to us by how we react to the truth.

Children—all people—lie to protect themselves. They lie because they learn that their parents—others around them—do not actually want to hear the truth. They lie because we teach them to.

You do not “teach” a child to be truthful by talking about how important it is to tell the truth.

Instead, you teach them to lie by not accepting the truth when they tell it to you. So. If you want the truth? Don’t teach them to lie. Foster an environment and a relationship, in which saying “I pooped my pants,” “I broke the lamp,” “I lost my mittens,” “I don’t like this supper” is okay and doesn’t lead to a parental shit storm.

Cinder: Mom! I think I broke the X-box! Help!

Music to my ears.

Flora: I’m sorry, Mom, but I just don’t like this soup.

Awesome.

Ender: Mama: I pooped my pants!

That’s what I want to hear.

English: A soapbox at Occupy Boston

This soap box moment was originally brought to you on November 25, 2012 because  I very much needed  a reminder not to  teach my children to lie. I was reminded of it when I found myself in a fascinating conversation this week in which I found myself arguing that spouses-lovers spend their entire relationships teaching their spouses-lovers to lie–ever more intricately–and then are outraged when those lies are suddenly uncovered… I might tell you about it sometime. If you bribe me with chocolate, wine and Facebook shares. Wink.

xoxo

“Jane”

P.S. I get a massive ego stroke this week at Tao of Poop, as Rachel celebrates her daughter’s bedhead and references that infamous The AP Hair Style: I don’t brush my children’s hair. It’s a massive philosophical thing. Really post. And I’ve got to point you to the awesome Katia’s edgy pop culture take on body image, Ladies Meet Your New Body Image Protection Squad: J-Law, Britney and Miranda at MamaPop.com (Katia usually blogs at I Am The Milk; pay her a visit there).

P.P.S. While I’m sending you places, here’s a new-to-me blog, Not that you asked but… that I think I might like. So you might like. I’m sending you to a body image (sort of) post. For a reason, which will be revealed later, and has nothing to do with teaching lovers or children to lie.

P.P.P.S. I knew what he was doing to that wall. It’s family-centred living. OK, now, for real, Jane out.

How we teach children to lie

Cover of "True Lies"

Yes. It is we, the parents, who teach them to lie. And this is how:

Jane: Ender? Did you poop your pants?

Ender: Yes.

Jane: Oh, Jeezus, Ender, how could you? I just asked you if you needed to go 10 minutes ago. Fucking hell, and now I have to change your poopy bum, and it is so disgusting, yuck…

What happens next time?

Jane: Ender? Did you make a poop?

Ender: No.

Jane: Of course you did! Why are you lying to me?

We ask a question. We get the truthful answer. We don’t like what we hear. We freak. We repeat this cycle. The result: we teach the child to lie.

And it’s so simple Do this instead:

 Jane: Ender? Did you poop your pants?

Ender: Yes.

Jane: Let’s go clean your bum. Tell mama next time as soon as you feel you need to go, ok?

Better yet, don’t ask questions to which you know the answer, right? Ya’ know he pooped. Ya’ can smell it. Just say this:

 Jane: Let’s go clean your bum, dude, and then we can go back to playing.

I chose the toilet training example because it’s almost invariably the topic of a new parent’s first “My child has started to lie! What do I do?” And we just don’t realize that we’ve been coaching them to lie to us by how we react to the truth.

Children—all people—lie to protect themselves. They lie because they learn that their parents—others around them—do not actually want to hear the truth. They lie because we teach them to.

You do not “teach” a child to be truthful by talking about how important it is to tell the truth.

Instead, you “don’t teach” them to lie by accepting the truth when they tell it to you. By fostering an environment and a relationship, in which saying “I pooped my pants,” “I broke the lamp,” “I lost my mittens,” “I don’t like this supper” is okay and doesn’t lead to a parental shit storm.

Cinder: Mom! I think I broke the X-box! Help!

Music to my ears.

Flora: I’m sorry, Mom, but I just don’t like this soup.

Awesome.

Ender: Mama: I pooped my pants!

That’s what I want to hear.

English: A soapbox at Occupy Boston

This soap box moment brought to you by the fact that I very much need  a reminder not to  teach my children to lie.

Digression: the antidote to Black Friday madness: Get Less Today.

Promotion: I’m playing at the More than Mommies Mixer again this Friday:


because last Friday, it introduced me to two of my now-favourite bloggers, Cloudy With a Chance of Wine and Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic, and I wonder where it will take me today…

The mixer blog roll is here, and Fishtank Mom, you should come play too.

If you’re visiting from the MTMM, please feel free to link up below (in the comments) to a specific post you’d think I’d enjoy. And… happy Friday hopping.