Caroline Fernandez: Activity Mummy


When Kids Lie: What Do You Do?

I caught my daughter in a lie. Has all innocence been shattered?!

Shocker: I caught my daughter in a lie. Has all innocence been shattered?! We raise our kids to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...but somewhere along the way (probably from us)...they learn how to lie. We all lie sometimes (tell the truth!) so why is it so surprising when a kid lies? My daughter's lie feels a lot like my fault.

What was this shocker lie you ask? That she ate lunch yesterday.

Backgrounder: I have given her $10 to buy something at the cafeteria (I was totally out of good lunch stuff). Going to the cafeteria is a once-in-a-while-super-treat for my new middle-grader. She came into the house, volunteering "I bought a slice of pizza, a beef patty, a bottle of water, a hot chocolate...and my friend didn't have lunch so I bought her a patty too." Here I thought she was proud of her buy-ing power.

Later that evening, I heard (through her sister) that someone stole her money before lunch. Dear daughter thought she would be in trouble for not having the money so instead of calling home, coming home or eating at all...she went without lunch...and made up a story to account for all the pennies that were supposed to go towards her meal.

I. Felt. Awful.

Giving her the biggest hug I could muster—I held my daughter—perhaps trying to protect her from a world where stealing and lies are born and bred. I told her I wasn't mad—would never be mad—about her losing lunch money. I only felt awful that he went without lunch. We discussed how keeping money in her locker was the safest option on a buying-school-lunch day. And that she can ALWAYS tell me the truth.

I told her if anything ever happened at school...someone taking her lunch money/her losing her lunch call home and I would BRING her lunch. Never, should she feel the need to hide...or lie.

Yes, I said—up there—kids learn to lie from their parents. I'm sure she has heard me say "I'm busy that day" when I'm asked to go to a PTA meeting (gah, I'm so not a PTA person). Little white lies which hurt no one...but certainly don't tell the truth. This is exactly what she did yesterday. She said a little white as not to get into trouble. It hurt no one. But it kinda hurt me.

Did I handle this right? Are lies ever ok?