Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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My Kid Is Doing Honesty Wrong

Sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie? Check out these parenting tips with a healthy dose of humor.

I swear, I try my best to raise my kids right.

Well, maybe "try" and "my best" are a bit too strong. And "right" isn't exactly the word I'm looking for, either. But I am usually nearby while they're growing up, so they can't help but soak up some of my parenting, even if it is mostly accidental.

And like most parents, I thought I should teach my children that honesty is the best policy. Because they should always tell the truth, no matter what. Right?

For the most part, this has worked out just dandy. We have them pretty convinced that lying will always make a situation worse, so when they're in trouble or we even suspect they might be up to no good, they'll almost always admit who's at fault. This has cut way back on the Parenting Effort I have to put forth.
Me (tucking Zoe into bed): Uh, it looks like your DS is still on.
Zoe: Yeah, Jake and I had it all planned out. We were gonna stay up all night playing PictoChat through the wall. You'd better tell him we got caught when you tuck him in.
See? She immediately cracked like an egg—no need for threats or an interrogation. Easy peasy.

Except sometimes (often) it backfires. Not that I don't want them to be honest, but let's face facts—I'm pretty lazy. And there's certain information that I just don't want to know, because then maybe I'm supposed to do something about it.
Husband: I noticed some hand prints on the bathroom mirror.
Zoe (arm shooting up in the air like we asked for volunteers to swim in a vat of chocolate pudding): I climb up on the toilet and lean way over onto the sink to look at my hair in the mirror and get stuff out of the medicine cabinet.
Now, see? There may be issues with hygiene and safety there that I just wasn't interested in dealing with at that particular moment. Do you at least close the toilet lid before you use it as a ladder? And what exactly are you getting out of the medicine cabinet? Do I need to boil my toothbrush? These aren't things a lazy mom wants to think about.

And while we're on the subject of laziness, I also don't want your confession to give me yet ANOTHER thing to discipline you for.
Me (yelling at two rambunctious children): Quit chasing each other through the kitchen while I'm trying to cook!
(Four seconds elapse. Zoe comes shooting through the kitchen again.)
Zoe: Mommy!  Mommy!
Me: What???
Zoe (now in the living room): Nothing, I just wanted to distract you while I cut through the kitchen again.
Really? Now I have to do some complicated trigonometry-based Discipline Equation in my head.
Three demerits for coming in the kitchen, plus two points for being honest about trying to distract me, carry the four, multiplied by two demerits for being SO honest about trying to distract me that it dances dangerously on the edge of sass, divided by the fact that I'm up to my elbows in salmonella-tainted raw chicken juice so I can't chase you around the house with a wooden spoon or whatever good disciplinarians do with their kids when they misbehave.
I never was very good at math. By the time I finish my calculations, the smoke alarm is going off and I have to figure out how much butter it's going to take to pass off some charred lumps of coal as dinner rolls.

What's worse is that she can't really differentiate between "good honesty" and "a little too true."
Zoe (to Gran): I'm almost taller than you!
Gran: Someday you really will be taller than me.
Zoe: Of course I will. Because when I get taller you'll be dead, and then you'll be lying down.
Luckily Gran has a sense of humor about these things.

So sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie?

I guess I have to accept that there's some gray area; as much as I want to teach my kids to always tell the truth, there's a little wiggle room in there to allow for little white lies, the ones that save someone's feelings, or avoid spoiling their good time, or at least don't remind them that they'll be dead someday. Or like when your kid finds a four-leaf clover—they get so excited, why ruin it by pointing out that it isn't even clover?

Sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie? Check out these parenting tips with a healthy dose of humor.

Besides, nobody wants real honesty, not the 100% All The Time kind. In real life, we live in the gray area. If people really wanted the whole truth, nobody would ever ask, "Do these pants make my butt look big?" We'd read all the ingredients in our candy bars before we ate them, and Google the stuff that sounded like it might be an industrial solvent. Every time you greeted someone with "How's it going?" you'd be asking for a two hour conversation about back pain and lanced boils. Every shower in every bathroom on Earth would be tiled in mirrors.

Nobody wants that kind of full disclosure.

So kids, listen up. I love your honesty. But sometimes it's okay to keep things to yourselves. Sometimes you can just say, "Okay, Mom" without giving me a bunch of information I didn't ask for; I definitely don't need you to point out certain truths, like when the lady next to us at the grocery store is REALLY, REALLY OLD, and I especially don't want to hear that kind of honesty at top volume.

I'm not telling you to lie. Just embrace the gray area within honesty.

Because sometimes people want to believe they found a four-leaf clover. Even when it's a weed.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


Jen O. said...

Your kid is hilarious. ATTRACTING attention in order to distract you from her wrong doings? Brilliant warfare tactic right there.

The Blue Orchid of Texas said...

Great piece. I'm with you but on my side of the fence all of mine are Aspies who cannot lie effectively to save their lives which provides me with some much needed humor. And they are brilliant and cannot read my humor (or anyone else's) so I have fun with them often but have to explain when "Daddy is just being silly".

Oldest Male Child (OMC): Hey, why is my toothbrush wet?! Did someone use it?!
Me: Oh, I'm sorry but I read an article in the veterinary medical journal that talked about the importance of brushing your dog's teeth.

The look of horror was worth the price of admission alone.

Stacey said...

Your girl is smart! Her teenage years are going to be fun for you. You might start looking into military schools now. ;)

The Third Partier said...

That bit about the DS: A) cracked me up, and 2) confirmed some suspicions I've been having regarding the kids' post-bedtime activities.

Bitchin' post, baby!

RobynHTV said...

@Jen O, I could hardly believe she did that - I was pretty much honorbound to give her Creativity Points in the field of Rule Evasion, as much as I hated to do it.

RobynHTV said...

@BlueOrchid, I bet that makes for some FANTASTIC conversations! Love the toothbrush joke - I'm wondering if I can get my kids with that one... :)

RobynHTV said...

@Tumbleweed, I make her drink lots of coffee to stunt her growth. (That stunts your AGE, too, right?)

RobynHTV said...

@ThirdParty, I know, but that goes back to my parenting laziness. I could take the DSs away, but... meh. Plus I try to encourage it on weekends - sure, stay up all night! Anything to get them to sleep later than 7am!

Pish Posh said...

So cute :)

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I would love for someone to respond:

"Yeah I will but are you sure you really want me to?"

Kimberly said...

Because you'll be dead?
That is the best response ever.

RobynHTV said...

@PishPosh, HA! And like me, that dummy would probably think they DID want to hear the truth. But (also like me) they'd be wrong.

RobynHTV said...

@Kimberly, I'm afraid it might make my little girl sound a bit like a monster, but the child has NO VERBAL FILTER whatsoever, especially with Gran. Sigh. Hopefully one day she'll learn to use some tact. :)

HMM said...

Love Love Love! Have the same issues over at Chez HMM... we call them "inconvenient truths" ;)

Kerrye said...

I love it! Same problem here. The hubs was taking our 10 yr old with him to a rodeo last week ON A SCHOOL night - 2 hours away. Being the good mom, I said "If you really want to go, you'll need to try and sleep in the car on the way home so you won't be so tired tomorrow." Boy says "Well, I probably won't do that." What the crap!??! Just say "OK", like every other kid!! Because I WILL get my night at home alone! And you WILL go to school tomorrow no matter how tired you are. (I've also learned to never ask him "Did you eat that apple I sent in your lunchbox?")

Anna said...

can't wait to see what she comes up with when she's older!

here from #FtF

Unknown said...

Ohhhhhmygoodnessgracious, I'm really laughing at that conversation between Zoe and Gran. Hahahaaa!! SO honest! I also know what you mean about not wanting to know all the details about your kids' misbehavior b/c then you feel compelled to do something about it!!

JoAnna said...

I love the conversation with Zoe and gran. Im on a train and it made me lol.

Anna at www.mylifeandkids.com said...

Well said! Well said! Thanks for linking up to #findingthefunny! Pinning this for sure.

RobynHTV said...

@HMM, I love it - "inconvenient truths." Totally using that one from now on! :)

RobynHTV said...

@Kerrye those are PERFECT examples - are you sure we don't have the same kids???

RobynHTV said...

@Anna nooooo, I don't want to think about that!!! ::hides behind couch::

RobynHTV said...

@Kelley, glad you understand. I mean I appreciate the honesty, but COME ON, despite what they might think I really, really don't want to send them to their rooms AGAIN! :)

RobynHTV said...

@Sparkling, any time I can assist in making someone's train ride socially awkward, I feel I've done my job. ;)

RobynHTV said...

@Anna, thanks so much - I really appreciate it! :D

JD @ Honest Mom said...

Oh my goodness, what a funny little punkin she is! I laughed out loud at her conversation with her grandma. Hysterical!

RobynHTV said...

@JD, thanks! I think she's still falling on the funny side of the fence for now (please mentally replace that with a less painful sounding metaphor), but I can't help but wonder at what age it'll stop being cute and start getting her in lunchroom fights at school...

eagleapk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eagleapk said...

That bit about the DS: A) cracked me up, and 2) confirmed some suspicions I've been having regarding the kids' post-bedtime activities.

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