Yesterday afternoon, I had an upset with my girl.
She told me she needed to go the bathroom as we were pulling out of the school onto the road. Love it when that happens. This time, I told her, “Well you’re going to have to wait.”
She was fine for a while, but then the alarm went off. “I have to go really badly.” Pulled over to a gym we attend, sometimes. She returned walking sort of funny, but I didn’t make sense of it. After driving for a while, I smelled pee. “What is that? Did you pee your pants?” I was a little upset that she was sitting in the car in that manner but got ticked off when she fibbed about it and then fibbed again about having cleaned it up or not at the gym.
Fibs like this are, of course, a normal part of growing up. Dishonesty was never tolerated by my Dad when I was growing up, and I don’t have much tolerance for it, either. If an adult lies to me, I will still be respectful with them, but the boundaries are going up. It’s the ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.’ mentality Oprah espouses. It’s generally true.
But little kids are learning, and, if they feel like they will get in trouble, they are even more apt to fib. She didn’t tell me, I concluded eventually because she thought I would be mad. Not really. I told her, “This was partially my fault. You said you needed to go, and I could have stopped sooner. But that doesn’t make it okay to not tell the truth. You know that the one thing that upsets me more than anything is dishonesty. That will never change.” Okay, the last line was the delusional, “I don’t want to ever have to bring this up again.” comment. Silly me.
To top it off, she used a drawn-out, cutesy voice and said, “I’m so sorry, Daddy.” That was the wrong thing to do! I then lectured her strongly on apologies being about truly caring and respecting people and to never give fake apologies. Wanted to give her examples, but I kept my mouth shut.
Later, I said to her, “Would you like a Daddy who lies? Would that be a good Daddy for you?” She said no. She gets it. Her heart is so good, and she does care. As always, when I get ticked off, I reflect later on how could I have handled myself better. There is always a higher way. The fact is, even little fibs really tick me off, and I need to apply love, look at my part in it, give my growing girl a break on this, and create a very safe place for mistakes to be okay – so she feels comfortable telling me.
Of course, even with that, sometimes they fib just because they don’t want to have to deal with what you’ll tell them if they fess up. They can’t have the candy. They have to get up and go put the shoes away. They have to give something back. Love understands those feelings. The ego skips right to moralizing.
She has the right Daddy, but Daddy can work on handling this subject in a more loving way. At least a little. Even my Dad, who is the kindest man I know, said that about the only thing that really gets under his skin is when someone intentionally deceives him. Of course, he wasn’t talking about a four year-old!
Progress for Both, One Day Later…
A little sweet follow up. Tonight, she was exhausted. She got back late from her mom’s to start the week, had a late night dance performance on a big stage the day after. Long play date today. All catching up with her, which is why I gather, she once again had an accident. Very unusual for her. Only this time, she came out of the bathroom and immediately told me. On the way out of the story she said, “This time I told you.” I knelt down and hugged her thanking her for being open and truthful. “Yes, you did. Thank you. You can always tell me things. Thanks for letting me know.” Despite me getting upset last night, me telling her that if she had just been forthright with me it would have been okay registered with her. She tried me out to see if I would in fact be accepting.
Later, in bed, she had a hair piece in her mouth, which she knows is not okay with me. She started to fib, and, instead of reprimanding her I said, “Do you want to end your day with a lie and a breaking of trust?” She said no and fessed up, handing it to me to put on the shelf. Improvement on both ends.