As I sit in the kitchen typing this blog I can hear the wailing of my six-year-old daughter. She is in her room until Dad gets home. Why? She’s been telling lies.
She’s recently discovered that she can avoid trouble by telling a lie – as long as she doesn’t get caught. I’m not sure how to impress upon her the importance of truth when sometimes the truth has obvious undesirable consequences.
Like today, she pushed a friend down resulting in a cut lip. She told me he fell ‘all by himself.’ I suspected the truth was he had a little help hitting the pavement but since he wouldn’t confirm my theory I had no choice but to doctor his wound and let it go.
Later the truth came out. Help had come in the form of two six-year-old hands pushing him down. When confronted this time my daughter told the truth and now she sits in her room crying.
I’ve often told her that consequences are bigger if you lie. I said, “Had you told the truth you would have had to apologize and have a time out and then you could have played again.” Now, she waits for Daddy and me to discuss the consequence of both her actions and her lie. The truth would have been simpler. The truth would have been less painful. Yet, the truth is not the route she has been taking lately.
How does a parent impress upon a six-year-old the importance of truth? In some ways I think, “She’s only six.” In others ways I think, “Six is plenty old enough to understand the value of honesty.”
To all the parents and grandparents that have gone before me and to the friends walking the same road with their kids, I humbly ask for your advice!