A pack of lies.
“I’m going to the beach for a few days.”
“Oh, which beach?”
“Ah, to see the boy,” I stated matter-of-factly with a scowl.
And thus began the lie.
It’s funny. I knew she lied, but she’s really been honest up until this point. So, I left her on her word – and began doubting my daddy-sense.
Later that afternoon, she wanted to talk. Like, “get ice cream” talk.
“I’m sorry I lied, Dad,” she began. “You knew I was lying. I knew I was lying.”
“Thank you. You’re still going, though, huh?”
Should I be mad about the lie? Well, yes, of course!
The reality is, I’m not really that mad.
She owned up to the lie. She did the right thing in the end. We all make mistakes, and fixing them is really the key to success.
I figure she knows what it feels like to be lied to. She now knows what it feels like to knowingly lie – and it felt bad. Some kids – and adults, really – simply don’t feel bad when they lie. I’m not sure why that is, but I am sure it’s deeply rooted in an upbringing of secrecy and “Do what I say.” Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe everyone does feel crappy when they lie… they just don’t let anyone know about it.
In the end, our path here is to try to better ourselves. If my daughter is going to lie, the best outcome is that she try to fix it, to better herself. I think she did that and that feels like a win.
But, I should be mad about the lie in the first place, right? Or does it even matter in the grand scheme of the situation?
Anger – or no anger – aside, how do you punish someone with their own life? I mean, you can’t hold them back from school. You can’t really tell them they’re grounded from work. At least I don’t think that’s fair to the job to make them jump to fill a schedule.
And at this point, that’s her life. Work and school.
Ground her for the weekend? Take away the car?… the cell phone? (That all sounds like punishing me, to be honest.)
I’ve come to the realization that it’s no longer about a “punishment.” Now, it’s about disappointment. There’s no “lesson” to learn. Our teens know a lie is a lie. How could they not have learned that at this point?
If you feel like you have to lie about doing something, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Somehow, we now have to show them the real life effects of the offense.
And doing that without making them feel like we have abandoned them or turned our back on them, that’s balance. That’s the trick.
And if I’ve convinced daughter I know how to do that with any certainty or grace… then I’m the one with the pack of lies.
So, we talked without ice cream.
Take that! …Sweety.
Is it just me, or have we looped back to the beginning? It’s like I’ve told her to sit in her room and think about what she’s done… only there’s no room… and the thinking about it probably will happen in little drips through her life.
So, how do you handle the punishment stuff when teens aren’t so much kids as adults – without experience?
Now, you can follow my shenanigans on Twitter.