Thursday, June 07, 2007

The reality of lying

I don't know who brought this to my attention first, it might have been either FD or Empath Daught but one of them told me that my grandson, E., who is 4 years old has been lying.

They're a little concerned.

I let stuff like this pass through me, sort of like my body's not really a solid but a vapor and information passes right through, hardly registers. My family complains, sometimes, accuses me of not paying attention, but it's not that.

I hear it all right.

I'm just sort of a tolerant sort; it takes a lot to ruffle me. And when it comes to kids lying, it really is a So what, More power to them.
There's a post on this blog about kids lying and you can look at that too, if you like, but it's really a very simple thing.

A kid will start to tell a story. (Remember, kids are new to words and the process of talking to communicate the thoughts in their heads, well, it's all new!! )

They'll start talking and their sentences get longer and longer, and the creative parts of the story rank more and more attention, and their telling ultimately has very little to do with reality, and the story indeed, in the end, is quite far from the truth.

See, kids see the option to make a story a better story and they choose the better story.

To kids, editing really gets in the way! It's so boring to them, what actually happened. Editing to the truth is so limiting! Children understand this.

Even adolescents understand this. They're a lot like very little kids in that way. That's why it's best, when you catch kids in a lie, even when you catch adolescents, to try to thread back to the source of their thinking. Why did they say that? Why did they choose those particular words?

How incredible the fiction!

But be esteeming here. Give them credit. Rate them well. Good story. Credible. Three stars. Or perhaps, Four stars. Sometimes a story is a FIVE STAR STORY! Tell them!

But if it isn't, you can say,
Not bad, not a bad explanation, but it could have been better, seriously. If I were to write this fiction (you have to think up something now) I would have changed it like this. . . made it really good. You think this is good fiction? You're capable of so much more. Work on this, dear.
Mainly, why be so upset with kids for the way they present reality? The thing to keep in mind is that the way they present their reality to you personally may say more about you than it does about them.

Kids write for their audience.

Is it fair or even nice to deny them a chance to make you happy?

Of course not. Now, if you're really interested in your kid, then you are interested in your kid's reality, what it means to him, why he (or she) put it in those particular words. Sure, if it's about you, then you need to discuss that.

Isn't that what you really want, to understand where your kid is coming from? So you wouldn't want to stifle communication with an aggressive approach like You're lying!

It just seems a little mean to me.

More productive would be, Fascinating!

It's the same basic approach with adults, you know, although we would love to hold them to a different standard. Note I say different, not higher, for I think that talking creatively is the essence of having a sense of humor.

With adults, however, the standard is different. Another post, not for today.

But stifling a kid's creativity? That's beyond me, honestly. Passes right through.

No lie.

Copyright 2007, therapydoc


Judith said...

I love this post for so many reasons, not the least of which is that allowing the kids to express themselves freely also allows them to tell the truth as well when it is important.

therapydoc said...

yup, don't judge them and they'll tell you EVERYTHING. most everything.

Anonymous said...

This is a very good take on childern and why they lie. You are correct the reason they lie has much to do with their audience. Most parents actually teach their children to lie in the way they react to the truth.

Anonymous said...

Well I can't wait for the adult one. I have a don't have a particular problem with kids reality in their version of a story most of the time, but a hubby who exaggerates the truth and claims ownershhip of matters not his to own when he tells a tale - who boasts - well I have a problem with that. I am a teacher - I will try 'fascinating' next time I get a fantastic story about why work is not handed in!

therapydoc said...

It probably will be fascinating, too. I'll get to the adult post. It's VERY different, as you might imagine.

Summer said...

Thanks for adding this to the Carnival of SAHMs!

Unknown said...

I could not agree more. I have a friend whose son has a wonderful imagination. He always has a fascinating story to tell, and I love listening to them and even add to them by providing questions that lead him in a new direction. I have heard truths important to his personality through some of them. Just like stories about Super Heroes, they are fiction, but they still hold themes true to life. Extraordinary!

I also agree know from experience the best way to get your children to close up and protect themselves by lying is to look at them like they just shot you when you tell them the truth about something very important and very difficult to admit.

I look at my childhood and the things that effected me for the worse as lessons in parenting my daughter. She really can and will be safe in telling me the truth, no matter what.

What's Going to Be with Our Kids?