When Emilie has done something wrong, she gets punished. Breaking the rules are punishable offences. I’ve always been proud of the fact that she has a sense of discipline, she is obedient and there is respect between the two of us. Lately however, I’ve found that she isn’t as forth coming about her mistakes as I would like. Obviously in the moment it makes me angry, but isn’t this why she isn’t telling me things? Am I encouraging dishonesty with my reactions? How are you supposed to react when your child does the wrong thing? Where is the boundary? How do you instil boundaries without fear?
This parenting thing just gets more and more difficult. More and more reflective. The more I look at what she is doing – the more I need to ask myself why. What influences my actions have on her and who she is becoming. Isn’t that the most difficult part?
Realising you are raising a little person.
The answer is yes. Yes I am teaching her to lie to me. I am teaching her that being honest gets her into trouble. I am teaching her that making mistakes is not okay. That being human is not acceptable.
This makes me sad.
Reading over what I am typing breaks my heart. I never wanted to be this mom. The cool mom – yes, the understanding mom – yes, the grinch mom? Never. But alas… that is who I have become. Fortunately for me and you and all parents, children are so resilent. And it is never too late to be better.
Having said this, I also did some reading up on how to do all this more appropriately. Here is what I found:
- Don’t set them up. Picture this, I walk into Emilie’s bedroom and there is a black koki pen mark on her new duck egg blue curtain. I was mad. So I said “Emilie!!!!” In my highest pitch voice, “Did you draw on this curtain?” Already here I am making a mistake. First of all – she probably didn’t draw on it. She is 10, she is not malicious or distructive. It must have been an accident. Secondly, who else could have done it? Do I actually want to know the answer to the question or am I just asking her so that I have an opportunity to shout at her for the accident that she didn’t tell me about because she was scared?
- Keep calm. Don’t freak out when they do tell you things. Or even if you see something that they have done. Instead replay the situation out for yourself like I have above. Try to think logically about what could have happened, and try to think of better ways and replies without pointing fingers. Imagine if you were nailed for every single mistake you made at work. As if they wanted you to be a robot. Would you be able to flourish in that environment? Nope. Neither can our kids.
- Figure out why they feel the need to lie. Is it fear? Are they ashamed? Once you know why they feel like they need to lie in the situation you can address this.
- Explain yourself. I find that my 10 year old responds well when I explain. Sometimes I find that I need to say – “Sorry that I reacted this way…mommy is so saddened when you lie to me. I am only trying to protect you.” No these kids don’t already know. They need you to tell them, why you don’t want them to lie. Why it hurts you. Why they should always tell you everything because you are the parent, and your first responsibility is to protect them. No matter what they do. Remind them often.
- Monkey see, monkey do. The other day I posted about how to be healthier so that your children can learn from a healthier mom. In the same way, if you make a promise and you break it – what is that telling your child about your word? Do you hold your own word in high regard? Do you keep your promises? Don’t expect from your child what they cannot expect from you. Bottom line? Keep your promises.
Sigh. Guilt. Do your children lie to you? Have they lied to you? What tips and tricks do you use to keep the relationship open?