My sweet, kind, brilliant seven year old boy has developed a new interest. Er, ability. Umm, instinct. It’s called “I Lie About Really Stupid Shit Like, Say, Trading Key Chains With My Friends at School, and What I’m Doing on My Kindle.” It’s making me crazy. Mostly because in “our family, Daddy never lies to Mommy, Mommy never lies to Daddy, and neither of us ever lie to you kids.” But also because he keeps doing it, even after so many heart to hearts about why we don’t lie and after consequences that are clearly related to the lie: “since you didn’t tell the truth about downloading that zombie game on to your Kindle and since you know we only use our Kindle for reading, we are taking your screen time away for awhile.”
So, this is my working theory: he thinks I’m fucking stupid. Either that or I’m so hard on him about being perfect all the time that he’s chosen lying as a rebellion tactic. Because I both know and hate that I’m hard on him, and because its something I’m constantly working on, I choose to believe that the lying is derived from the former: he thinks I’m fucking stupid.
So this morning, after I found two keychains in his backpack that I’ve never seen before, I had a little talk with him. (Please note that I don’t regularly go through his seven year old boy backpack collection of random shit. Our cat peed on the front pocket so I had to remove all contents to wash it. No lie.)
Me: honey? I found these in your backpack. Where did they come from?
Him: oh. (Looking mad sheepish, yo.). I…uh…I found them in the street.
Me: they look brand new. Who would buy brand new Yummies (yes. This is the current object of his collector-minded affection.) and leave them in the street?
Him: someone must’ve dropped them.
Me: I don’t think so.
Him: ok. I traded for them at school.
Me: thank you for telling me the truth. I really appreciate that. (Pause.). But honey, remember, we banned trading for awhile because you lied about trading yesterday?
Him: (looks down.)
Me: I don’t care if you trade. As long as you think it’s a fair trade. But you lied about it yesterday and again this morning. That’s the part I’m upset about.
Him: I just really wanted them.
Me: I understand. So, now, the consequence is, you need to leave your Yummies at home for a week. No trading. And no lying. Please leave them in your room.
Him: ok Mommy.
40 minutes later while walking to school…
Him: (plays with something in his pocket.)
Me: what’s in your pocket, babe?
Him: nothing. (Looks down.). Yummies. (Cue tears). I FORGOT!!!
Me: to leave them at home? Hand ‘em over kid.
Him: (hands ‘em over.)
Me: JEEZUS FUCKING CHRIST, CHILD! WHAT THE HELL DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD THAT THAT LYING SHIT IS NOT WORKING FOR ME?
Me actually: thanks. Imma keep these for awhile. Have a great day, babe!
Think that did it? Patience, understanding, a firm but loving hand? Not calling attention to the poor, transparent nature of his lies?
We’ll see. If he does it again, I just might summon Armageddon Lite.