Monday, October 15, 2007

what do you do???

okay, ladies and gents, i have a question to put out to you. how do you deal with lying children? i mean, i know that children lie. i know i did my fair share of lying as a child. i know it is something that all children go through, so what do you do?

why do i ask?

i got home from running errands this evening, sans children (ahhhh, it is amazing how much you can get done without children!), and my mom tells me that lala had to spend some time in her room for biting her sister. great!! apparently, lala bit nani "really hard" on her finger, so nani bit lala on her leg. and i thought we were past all the biting a long time ago! i guess i was wrong!

so, wanting to know what happened, i asked lala to tell me her story (miracle of miracles there was no yelling. it was discussed rather calmly, for once! nani did shed some tears, however):

lala: "nani started it."
me: "how did she start it?"
lala: "she pushed me."
me: "what happened right before she pushed you?"
lala: "nothing."
me: "really? you did nothing and then nani pushed you."
lala: "yeah."
me: "are you telling the truth? it's more important that you tell the truth. it will be better for you if you tell the truth. what really happened?"
lala: "i don't remember."
me: "you don't remember?"
lala: "no."
me: "okay, i am going to ask nani to tell me her story."
lala: "she bit me right here (pointing to her shoulder)."
me: "nani bit you on your shoulder, so you bit her really hard on the finger. then she bit you on the leg? is that right?"

now comes nani's story:
nani: "i did not! she wouldn't get off the blanket."
me: "so then you bit her on the shoulder?"
nani: "no i didn't!"
me: "well, then what happened? you'll be a lot better off if you tell me the truth!""
nani: "i didn't bite her on the shoulder!"
me: "okay, then what did you do?"
nani: "i accidentally scratched her."
me: "with what?"
nani: "i accidentally scratched her with my teeth."
uh-huh??!! seems suspiciously like a bite.
me: "why did you 'scratch' her with your teeth?"
nani: (looking down under her lashes with a sad face) "she wouldn't get off the blanket."
me: "so you bit her?"
nani: "but then she bit me super hard on my finger. i didn't bite her that hard!"
me: "well, do you think she would have bit you if you didn't bite her?"
nani: looking down at the ground, shaking her head, "no."
me: "i think you're right. so what do you think you could do differently next time?"
nani: "i don't know?"
me: "can i make a suggestion?"
nani: "yes."
me: "maybe next time you could ask for help from someone else. then nobody will get hurt and we all will be happier. what do you think?"
nani: "yeah."
me: "and lala, if your sister asks you to do something, do you think you could do it?"
lala: yea."

so, after the punishment was given and carried out, we find out that it was really nani that should have been sent to her room, not lala. it was nani that made the first strike.

how do you parents deal with the not knowing who did what and who did or didn't do it first? if you think you see the whole thing, but in reality missed the first strike, then how do you know if you are dishing out the right consequence to the right person? when there are two different stories, who do you believe?

should they both get punished for not getting along and working it out? would that help them learn to work things out on their own. should they both get punished if one of them is lying? would that make it less tempting to lie? or should i just hope that i pick the right daughter to punish. then, like tonight, when you find out that the wrong one got in trouble, what do you do then? it's so hard to know!! so, you wonderful bloggers, this is where you come in.....

what do you do in your home???


Bridget said...

Fortunately Maren does not lie. EVER. Counting my blessings there. Cole isn't old enough yet to figure out that that is a way to get out of things.

Ethan however will lie sometimes. I've told him becaue he lies, I don't really know when to believe him or not so I am usually going to think he was at fault even if he wasn't. I'll just ask him "are you telling the truth?" and hold his gaze for a long time. He will usually come clean pretty quick after that. Every kid is different though. I guess you just have to figure out their weakness and what will get them to cave. MUCH easier said then done. Of course, my technique really doesn't 'work' or else he wouldn't ever lie again, right?

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

My daugther tried lying for a while. I think it's part of testing their boundaries and a self-preseration thing that kicks in. It was really hard because she would lie about really stupid things, and also lie to get out of trouble. I did what Bridget says and found her weakness, got her to confess, and pretty soon she stopped. Hang in there - Good luck!

Amanda said...

I agree with Stie and Bridget. Reading their faces and finding out what they do when they lie is helpful (N looks down, T looks to the side).

I will say though, that when I did not see what happened I try not to punish. Of course, if my older kids were biting they would probably be punished because they are old enough to know better. If I didn't see who did what, then I might seperate them or distract them with something else and just keep a better watch on them for awhile.

I don't know if that made any sense. Good luck!

Katie Smith said...

Gosh...I wish I had some helpful advice. Thankfully I haven't had to deal with this yet, seeing that my only child just turned one. However, I'm paying close attention to every else's advice for when it does I'm sure it's almost inevitable!

Things are good in Utah. We miss Oregon terribly, but this is a good thing. I'm sure we'll never regret Mike getting his master's degree and better now then in 15 years, right?!

Elizabeth said...

Hmm. Love Bridget's advice. If I catch Alexis, shall we say, exaggerating the truth, when I am able to get the truth out of her I congratulate her for telling me the truth and saying how important that is. But it is definitely right to discipline them for lying. I don't know. I just know I can empathize!

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Good question. Riley has just started lying. It drives me nuts. I find that when I ask what happened, Riley wont' let Jeremy get a word in edgewise (Which is a telling sign that Riley has done something wrong). If getting Riley to stop talking is not going well, I take Jeremy out of the room and then ask him what happened. I usually get, at least what Riley did, then. Maybe separating them would help. And then you can focus on, what Amanda said, Reading their faces and finding out what they do when they lie.

You got me though. I'm looking for good advice on that one too.

Merilee said...

Let me know when you find the cure. I've got one that could seriously use a dose.