When your child lies to you.

Well as far as milestones go, I don’t know that this is one that should be celebrated or remembered but it does mark a very poignant moment in the relationship between myself and Liam. I didn’t think it would be such a big deal, in fact I hadn’t even thought about it because in my perfect world with my perfect children, I didn’t once think that MY Son, my perfect son, would lie to me EVER. And I know it sounds dramatic but point is, I really thought we were still years away from this. I hadn’t even had the over analyzing conversation with myself in my head about how I would DEAL with such a thing! And I didn’t think it would hurt as much as it did. Funny thing is, it’s opened this little door that can never be shut, this door that exposes you to the fact that your children will hurt you, your children will lie to you and do many things to disappoint you and I think once you’ve peeped through the slit in that little door, it’s almost like a smudge on their innocence, and a little rip in your heart when you realise that they are growing, and it’s like I can’t see Liam as a little baby anymore when he has done such a calculated big boy thing. There I go with the theatrics again…

The rule in our house is that at night the kids get to brush their own teeth under adult supervision, and in the mornings the adults brush the children’s teeth to make sure they are getting a decent cleaning at least once a day while still allowing them to feel independent by letting them have a go in the evenings. I’ve tried letting them have a turn first and THEN taking over and doing it myself and it is just too time consuming, so this is the solution that works. One kid pees and washes hands while the other brushes their teeth at the sink. So while I was assisting Hannah on the loo, I turn to Liam and notice that the foam he has just spat out is brown. I KNOW everything that they consume every hour of every day that they are on my watch so the conversation goes like this:

Me: what did you just eat?

Liam: nothing.

Me: why is your spit brown?

Liam: I don’t know.

Me: well you must have eaten something, what did you just eat???

Liam: must be from the chicken we had at supper.

Me: hmmm, I don’t think so.

Case closed and we move on.

As we walk back to room, I notice a big Easter Egg on the dining room table. I yell to the hubby and he confirms that yes, he is eating it and yes he left it there. So I ask Liam if he had some of the Easter Egg, boy child looks me straight in the face and says no. I say to him again, “Liam now is your chance, if you had some of that Easter Egg you need to tell me the truth NOW.” At this stage it’s not even about the Easter Egg for me, I am onto him, I know he had some of that chocolate, I know he is lying and I want him to admit it. He says no again, but this time his eyes are getting bigger and bigger and I can see him getting more and more nervous. I tell him to open his mouth and of course there are traces of chocolate all over those milk teeth. At this point he confirms that yes he is lying, and yes he ate the chocolate. And my mind blanked, I didn’t even know what to say. I think I said something along the lines of how disappointed I was, and how Jesus didn’t like it when people lied and how I was NOT happy with him. Or something like that. I was just so upset, prior to this incident Liam had never withheld the truth from me or anyone. You know how kids are, they pipe up quite willingly if they have done something wrong and quickly site it as a mistake. When do they reach this age of understanding, this revelation that if they can get away with it, they must try? Born with sin, oh yes we are. Poor God, he must have been crushed when Adam and Eve committed that first sin!

This morning we had another long conversation about lying and why it is wrong and then he insisted that he was only joking not lying, and then we had to have a long conversation about the difference between joking and lying! I asked him why he had lied and he said that he knew I wouldn’t let him have the chocolate if he had asked me, and I said yes you are right, no chocolate after supper. Those are the rules, and we follow the rules, don’t we? Then he said that he was really really really wishing for that chocolate. And then we had to have conversation about how we can’t always have what we want when we want it.. like how you have to wait for your birthday for your special present even though you really really really want it now and how he has to wait to get a dog because we don’t have money for one now even though he really really really wants a dog now. And he agreed. Then we kissed and made up and I felt better, and I’m not sure how he felt because he asked if he could have a banana and ran off without a care in the world.

The thing is this: I know people lie, I cannot stand here and say I don’t lie, I do. But when your kid, in their full senses, lies to you for the first time, it sucks. I guess it’s because I’ve always said I want to have the kind of relationship with my children where we don’t keep things from each other, I want them to feel comfortable coming to me with ANY problem, I want us to be able to talk about anything, even the taboo stuff, I really want to be that mother. Even if I go red with embarrassment, even if my heart breaks when they tell me something that I really wish they hadn’t or confess to having done something that is wrong on any level, I still want them to be able to come to me. And this small little lie just makes me feel like already he feels like he needs to hide things from me and THAT is the bit that hurts the most. And I KNOW white lies are common and there’s probably no need to get my knickers in a twist, he lied, we dealt with it, it’s over… but it’s that darn little door that I wish had never been open, and which, now, can never be closed again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, motherhood is not for sissies. My husband thinks I am overreacting, of course he does, this is not something I expect a man to understand, as sexist as that sounds, I actually think it’s more to do with my mother heart, than anything else. I know that if you have a mother heart, you’ll understand and totally get this.


3 thoughts on “When your child lies to you.”

  1. Robyn, I remember clearly when my eldest daughter lied to me. It was like a punch to the stomach. Motherhood is NOT for sissies, you’re right!

  2. As a Christian mum, lying is an absolute no-no. And yes it did hurt and upset me when I found my youngest son lying… On more than one occasion… And even laying the blame on someone else knowing that the other poor innocent person would be punished! I’ve told my boys the importance of being honest, even if it means you get into trouble. I’ve explained the consequences of lying from a Christian point of view. So now I ask twice and I believe whatever answer they give now. But I must admit…. There’s always that little element of doubt! Motherhood ain’t for sissies!

  3. I totally get it. My oldest (only almost 4) can lie to me with such accomplishment that I really can’t even tell when she’s lying! It’s the worst. She has now kind of stopped after we chatted about how it makes me sad and it makes Jesus sad too. But goodness, you just don’t expect it from them yet.

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