21 April 2011

Polygraph over here please…

We are in the midst of somewhat of a lying epidemic in my household. I’ve heard we are not supposed to call it lying when children are 3 and 5 years old, but it certainly feels like it.

Cuddles just told me he didn’t put his shirt back in his bedroom as I had asked him because daddy (who is at work) told him not to. Littlest Bean went to Disneyland with her friend for her friend’s birthday. According to my friend who took her, she asked throughout the day to get her hair done in the Bippity Boppity  Boutique like last time. It wasn’t part of the plan of activities and one of the party was a 5 year old boy who surely would not have appreciated the experience so they didn’t go. When she came home she told me that she did go and get her hair done but that it had fallen out.  She also tells me more serious “mistruths”, one which even led to me speaking to her teacher. I found out later after much questioning  that none of it was true.  I’m still not totally sure whether that story was true or not.

I think the general consensus is that it is age appropriate and aside from not deliberately setting them up to lie, there is not much you can do about it. It is hard not to worry though when you don’t know if any of the information you get out of them is true.

Littlest Bean had a hula hoop show at school. The kids had dreamt it up and one of the teachers helped them to organize themselves and find music. When I picked her up from school one day and she told me about it I honestly didn’t believe her, although I didn’t say that directly. She said that we had to go straight to Toys R Us and buy her a hula hoop because the next day they were doing a big hula hoop show. I told her we didn’t have time to go and that I was sure if I were required to buy her a hoop I would have received an email. She was very upset. I didn’t receive any messages that day but the following afternoon I received an invitation to the show. It mentioned that they had plenty of loaner hula hoops so not to worry about buying one. I felt quite guilty about not believing her. We went to the show and it was fantastic, about thirty of forty kids simultaneously hula hooping to music, enjoying themselves so much. Her whole class came to watch and she was so proud of herself.

Another time she told me that her teacher had told her that she had to wear her hair in a bun. Again I really didn’t know what to believe, I’d received no memo and it seemed unlikely but it turned out they had just discovered a case of nits and it was true. We eventually received a memo about it. The trouble is she could come home this afternoon and tell me she needs to buy a new skirt for school because her teacher told her they all have to wear the same skirt. This wouldn’t be true but the way she says it, she really believes it. If you don’t know that it couldn’t be true it’s easy to fall for it.

Some of the lying, for example the lie about getting he hair done at Disney Land, I feel like I understand a little. Although I wish she wouldn’t. I suppose her little 5 year old brain feels like if she tells me it happened, it feels more real to her and she can imagine it did.

So what am I to do? I have no idea. I just hope we figure it out or she grows out of it because it’s one thing not being able to tell when your 5 year old daughter is telling the truth, but when she is 15 it will be something else entirely.

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