Since the time my kids can understand words I have been emphasizing to them the importance of being truthful. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have cited to them by various examples and stories how it is very bad to lie. But what do you do when you find your kids lying?
Still the fact remains, we all lie, most of us anyway.
Before any of us say on oath they don’t lie I would like to remind of all the number of times you have assured people “I’m on my way”, all the while lounging on your couch. See what I mean.
Now comes the question of how to instill in kids the value of truth. How to distinguish between “fibbing” and “lying”.
Noteworthy is the difference between the two. Upon observation I feel for kids there seem to be a line between the two which blurs and disappear as they grow up. The innocent things like “I’m not sleepy”, “I did not fight” all fall under the “fibbing” heading. Kids start telling these lies as soon as they are old enough to comprehend not being truthful is an option too.
“Lying” is the more serious version that can actually cause harm to themselves and others. Something kids try to perfect so that a parent or guardian might not see through it. When a droopy two year old says they are not sleepy at all, it is cute.
On the other hand when I confronted my six year old about some fighting in school, she innocently asked me “May I please lie today?”. When I asked why she wants to lie she replied she doesn’t want to tell the truth and get scolded.
In her innocence she gave herself away but it is just a matter of time when she will decide for herself. Truth or not.
This brings us to the issue of ingraining in our kids’ value system the significance of truth. This is one of the essential ways to help them build on happiness.
“THREE THINGS CANNOT BE HIDDEN: THE SUN, THE MOON, AND THE TRUTH- Buddha”
As enticing and as easy lying can be, it still cannot replace the truth.
What do you do when you find kids lying? How do you help them?
I will back this up by an example, a personal experience. Something that made me question “How much honesty is actually enough?” I have stood up for people who meant a lot to me. Gave them information that was to protect them but in the end those same people choose not to believe me and I was termed as the bad guy.
Till date I have no regret about not being believed but I regret how gullible people can be. Kids lying is just another way of what they themselves would believe. Maybe your honesty doesn’t matter people just believe what they want to. It takes will power to confront any uncomfortable truth.
So does it diminish the value of truth? Do you stop looking out for people who matter?
No to both and this is what a disheartened child needs to understand if faced with such a case. Nothing replaces honesty and a good heart.
Truth might be troubled but it cannot be defeated.
All the Harry Potter fans can still recall the outrage they felt when Harry was branded a liar and made to write “I must not tell lies.” How with each sting that Potter felt you wanted to somehow reach into the book and rectify the injustice being meted.
This taught us to stand against injustice even if it meant standing alone.
People would stoop down to lying to settle scores or assassinate your character to get back at you. Standing against such tirades and standing with dignity is the only way that I can teach my kids to fight back. Eventually the lies either die out or get exposed.
Lying to self is the worst form.
The best lie I tell myself is “I don’t need to write this, I will remember”. All I remember is telling myself this.
So it’s best to not lie to own self.
There is something called conscience, your own moral sense of right and wrong. I cannot be with my kids all the time but I can teach them to call a spade a spade. Understanding the gravity of any given situation and tackling it accordingly saves a lot of grief and resentment. You don’t want your kids lying any time.
Running away from any failure does not make it go away. Dealing with issues is the way forward. Acknowledging your own shortcomings makes us better equipped to tackle life.
The subject of lies and truth can have many narratives, my point here is taking those small steps on a daily basis that can help build our kids characters.
We do lie. “Is the dress good?’-yes
“Am I looking fat?”- absolutely not
I don’t mind this little fibbing if it makes someone’s day. Also please lie to me if I ask these very questions.
What matters is to not make lying part of our character, to get out of taking accountability. Teach kids lying at times can play with other’s lives. It can cause pain.
“Truth can be replaced only by truth itself and this is the absolute truth.”