Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
Last Week, I had attended my son's Parent- Teacher meet, I was completely dismayed when one of my friends congratulated me on the purchase of a Brand new car and also that my husband has moved to abroad for his job. To my surprise, I then came to know that my son(Jai) had told my friend's daughter (Ria) and infact everyone in his class. Not only this, his teacher also complimented me and even questioned me that “when we are moving”? I was completely out of words and began staring at my son who was sitting next to me, not at all guilty of his blatant lie. I couldn't say anything at that time, however my child's bold faced lies turned me sad, puzzled, full of anger. Perhaps this was his first lie. I felt like scolding him as any other parent would do, but then I thought that it wasn't the right time.
I discussed the whole scenario with his teacher and you know instead of shouting at him she was all praising him about his creativity and vivid imagination. She told me that it's completely normal for a child to lie at this stage so one must not resort to punishment immediately, rather she kept appreciating him and uplifting his ideas. Suddenly my mood changed and the moment I went back home, I started imagining my son as an inventor, author, a great story teller and what not. From that day I promised to myself and learned that it is very important to motivate and figure out the exact cause of your child's white lies. This could bring out a major conflagration in raising happy and resilient kids and also encouraging honest communication.
“ Every Kid is an artist in himself”. It only requires proper care and attention to make the picture even brighter.
For decades parents have appraised “ honesty” as the oddity they most wanted in their children. Apparently, because throughout our lives we have been worshiping these sugar coated words” Honesty is the best policy” and unfortunately a child is characterized based on this trait. Right from his birth, he has been taught to practice these moral principles, or else he/she would not be a good person and may also have to bear severe consequences. The result is not that the child becomes a truth clad individual, rather he starts lying at every stage of his life. A bundle of reasons are hidden behind this sneaky behavior of kids. However, it is paramount to think deeply as to what are the possible apprehensions of our child's lies and how as a smart parent we can mentor our kids in differentiating between truth and a lie. We ought to highlight the importance of ' truth' in their upcoming and challenging lives.
So, for a while wouldn't it be beneficial if we stop pondering too much about the lies that we have faced or have been facing and keep staring and resorting to correction. Let's broaden our perspective and start acknowledging the lies and at the same time say to yourself that your child is more intelligent, creative and possess mental agility and great visualization skills. And what about other traits like confidence or good judgment? Do these stand anywhere close to honesty? I completely understand that as a parent and a great mentor, we feel upset as far as this behavior is concerned. Let's understand and borne in mind that although we think of truthfulness as a young child's supreme virtue, it turns out that lying is the “more progressive and advanced skill”. For All those Parents who constantly worry about their child and are really fed up with their distorted actions, now you can be happy and proud of your bundle of joy. Yes, it is indeed. A child who is going to lie must recognize the truth, intellectually conceive of an alternative reality, and be able to convincingly sell that new reality to someone else. Therefore lying demands both cognitive development as well as social skills that honesty doesn't require. Celebrate this “developmental turning point” in your child' s upbringing. Now it is up to us how we look upon it either as a blessing or a curse.
Well, I personally believe that a little bit of awareness, guidance and coaching can help us look at the other side of the coin. Embrace your child's lies. Turn their pipe dreams into a reality by continuous motivation and positive words. At the same time keeping an eye on the below guidelines on how to react, counter and act like a powerhouse in encouraging honest communication can get the ball rolling for many of us.
1- Sharpen your Focus on what is covered under the lie: It wouldn't be wrong to say that today's children display a very casual relationship with the truth. As parents, we intuitively know the tricks and ways our little ones adopt to cover up the lies. However, we ought to be vigilant enough now to change our mindset towards this. Rather than resorting to harsh punishments and straight away asking the possible reason for their lies, wouldn't it be worthwhile if we understand the entire scenario, carefully analyze and then come to any sort of conclusion. Moreover, we as parents need to learn that children are like little sponges, what are we allowing them to soak? So concentrate less on the lie and move on dealing with the situation at hand. Whenever your child lies just remind yourself that this is not a crisis of morality. It's just your little one's way getting what he wants, which is completely healthy and normal. Don't act like a detective to cover up his story of else he/she would feel that he can't be trusted anymore or that he is devious. This would get his morale down and the result will be he would never say truth under any circumstances due to the fear of being caught up.
Come along and let's work as a team to bring out the best in our little artists as they are the shining stars of tomorrow.
2- Observe the number of ways a child expresses himself, not only the verbal clues: Children need guidance and reinforcement about telling truth. Parents should be ready to accept the proposal to enter into their magical world (world of fantasies) and test the validity of their make-believe by asking open-ended questions. Two days back, my two-year-old daughter broke a flower vase . She is indeed naughty and due to the fear of getting punished she quickly placed the vase at its place as if no one would come to know. Rather than straight away asking that did you broke the flower vase? I asked her the other way around like how did you get to reach that flower vase? She immediately told me that she broke it and then hugged me so that she could escape from scolding. Isn't it a wonderful way to help your child follow the path of honesty, slowly and gradually. At times it could happen that your son might say “I am fine” or just “fine”, in response to your question “ How are you, how was your day”? Not in order to fool you or to cover up what is really going on, because the feelings are too complicated and confusing to put into words. He doesn't actually know how he might be feeling, so “fine may be the best he can muster in the moment. Hence, it is significant to focus on many ways your child speaks his truth- facial expression or lack of thereof, gestures, body's posture, art , music, energy etc.
3- Priority must be given to parent- to- child bond over all other matters: As we grow older, our lives become buried under the pressure of the workaday world. Today, the need of the hour is to get ourselves out from this tormenting circle of busyness and work with resilience and fierce desire to strengthen our bond with our little one. Only giving birth to a child doesn't mean that one can now rest on the laurels. There is so much to do as a parent. To keep your mother- to- child relationship strong we have to continuously strive towards this endless journey of parenting. Our bond should such that no matter whatever happens in our child's life, you are the first point of contact and a reliable source to communicate. This would be a wise attempt and in turn, prevent your child from becoming a con-artist.
Remember: “Each and every day of our lives we compose deposits in the memory banks of our children”. Let us work in coordination and embrace this beautiful journey so that we can make our children's lives remarkable, as every drop makes a big difference.
4.Walk the Talk: When teaching a good trait to your children know that they learn more from your actions than from what you teach them. Show by example, model integrity yourself. Don't worry that children never listen to you”. Worry that they always notice what you say and do align. Often we say and promise to our child that “ I WILL BE BACK IN FEW MINUTES” how accurate is that? Ever speculate whether your words and action are in alignment? We need to be consistent and accurate in our language. View your speech and use it mindfully.
5. Last but not the least a child who feels valued and accepted by his parents has the power to change the world. A child who feels like the mother thinks she is wonderful can better weather challenges life sends her way.
I hope that following these musings and parenting advice would help you and your child in bringing out the best version of him. Ultimately, candidness, morality would follow your child's footsteps.