Learning To Tell The Truth Should Not Be A Punishment.
The concept of this and any article I write are based on personal entangled experiences and imagination. The views are of my opinion and should not be perceived as instructions for others. I welcome your honest comments as a resource for improving my writing skills.
Meet Little Oshun
My granddaughter, 4 years old, Oshun was visiting us over the holidays. An energetic and clever little girl, she's always laughing, playing and is mostly cooperative; typical 4 year old. An early riser, due to her school schedule, it was normal for her to wake before anyone in the house. However, on her last visit, I noticed she had rummaged through any drawer she could find looking for snacks.
When I got up one morning, I went to the kitchen for a drink of water. The previous night I had baked a yellow cake with chocolate icing. It was displayed on a glass pedestal dome covered cake dish. I was last to go to bed and knew one quarter of the cake had been removed. But when I looked at the cake as I raised my glass to drink, I saw pieces of the yellow cake on top of the cake. Taking a closer look, I saw a hole in the center of the cake as if someone had just pulled a piece out with their hand.
I could hear Oshun in her room playing with her dolls. I called her to the kitchen. She ran to me, as she always does, but abruptly stopped when she saw cake dish in my hand. I tilted the cake so she could see the top of the cake. I was standing there with the cake plate tilted in my hand so she could see the top of the cake.
She stood perfectly still and folded her hands in front of her. I told her to look at the cake. She slowly walked to the cake, and then looked up at me with "puppy dog" eyes. I asked her how the hole got in the cake. She said she did not know. I sat in a chair, told her to look at me making direct eye contact and asked her again. This time she shrugged her shoulders.
My granddaughter and I have held previous conversations on lying. I reminded her of those conversations and told her she would not get in trouble for telling the truth. She then said she had wanted some cake and took a piece. I asked her why she didn't ask for a piece. She said everyone was sleep. I told her next time; do not take anything without asking. I warned her, if you do it again, it won’t be a happy time. I asked her did she understand; she said yes. I asked her to repeat what she is to do when she wants something; and she did. I again reminded her how telling the truth is much better than telling a lie.
I was raised during the era of SPANKINGS. My mom was spanked by her mom, she spanked me and I spanked my children. I remember lying because I didn’t want to get a spanking. But when my mom found out I had lied, she spanked me for lying, then spanked me again for whatever it was I did. It was a lose-lose situation.
Having children of my own, I’ve learned quite a bit about child rearing. With each of my children, I changed my reaction into responses. My oldest son was spanked. My youngest son was spanked and talked to. My daughter was made to understand what was wrong and right through communication.
The reason they lie is because they never think you will find out the truth. Especially the little children, they don’t have an understanding of how the universe works. In regards to my granddaughter, she never contemplated someone might see the whole and would suspect her.
We are curious beings. As we mature from baby to adult, we slowly discover the world and what we can do in the world as we become more intellectual both mentally and physically. A couple of months ago, my granddaughter wasn’t tall enough to reach anything on the table. As she discovers her world, her curiosity grows and her ability to act on that curiosity is slowly achieved, inch-by-inch.
There is also the fear, if I tell the truth I will get into trouble. I will lie now to see if I can get away with it. The first time they get away with it, they are hooked. Lying is the answer! However, if they are taught not to lie and how the truth will set them free from punishment, they will begin to understand telling the truth isn’t something to be feared.
Each of us face a great deal of stress. As parents, no matter if there are one or two, we get enthralled in life and all of its dilemmas. When our children have issues, we forget to look at the child's perspective. Many times, we don't take the time to think things through and instead of RESPONDING to the child, we REACT.
For those of you who are thinking, but I've got these kids who are driving me crazy along with other agitations of life. How am I supposed to respond when I don't have the time?
Your children didn't ask to be born. Everyone has a choice to be a parent in full view of the obstacles of their lives. You need to find the time and focus on them when it's needed. Reacting to a child does not help them learn. It just shows them they did something to make you mad. There's no communication or consistency.
Your Child's Perspective
Take the time to correct your children. You have to start in the early stages of life to set limits. Another aspect of raising children is to be CONSISTENT. When a child lies and you they lied, I feel everyone involved should sit down and have a focused conversation about lying. If they tell the truth, why punish them. I always ask my granddaughter why she did what she did. I try to understand from her perspective.
However, there are times when the parent needs to look at the big picture. In the above incident, my granddaughter wakes up before anyone else in the house. She always does. When she wakes, she's hungry. She didn't want to wake me or her father so she goes on her own searching for food. Now, do I think she had full intention, as soon as she woke, to get at the cake? Of course not! If the cake was in her room and she could access it, I have no doubt she would go for it. What I learned is because she wakes up so early and I don't really want to wake that early, I need to prepare a snack for her and leave it in a place I know she will see it in her room. Then she will not have to "hunt" for food.
From now on, when she visits, I make sure I have granola bars or other healthy foods I can leave out for her. I also leave a bottle of water with the cap twisted lightly so her little hands can open the bottle. When she wakes, she sees her snacks, water and will watch TV and play until I wake.
It's not always easy to take time to understand your child. You have to remind yourself.
I raised 3 children and now have 3 grandchildren. I learned many lessons from being a mom and I try to teach my children what I wished someone would have taught me.
Parenting doesn't come with a manual. However in today's world, there many resources are accessible.