Parents, children, and lies are an age-old threesome. Parents might find untruthful ways to sneak candy or tell convenient white lies to get a moment of silence. Children, on the other hand, push the boundaries of lying, learning the lines between truths and lies and what it really means to lie to someone.
For me, the boundaries of parental lies are pretty solid. I would never lie to my children about anything truly important. That being said, I will sneak snacks. I am proud to say I have perfected the art of putting chocolate in the back of the fridge and pretend to rummage through it as I sneak a piece. It’s shameful and riddled with untruth, but it preserves my sanity and hurts no one. It is a parental definition of justified lying that seemed to be working just fine. Sure, I would get caught a few times, but it was all in good fun. After all, the girls didn’t develop a habit of lying.
That is until this week. This week Riley told her first real lie.
Riley, my realist, did not make up stories as a toddler. Never stretched reality. Never blurred any lines of make believe. She is a straight shooter and with that came the unabashed truth at all times. It seems, though, that this is a boundary she is finally ready to push.
Her first lie came Monday. Though the subject matter escapes me, I can remember the daring look in her eye, wondering if she would get away with it. She was called out, of course, and we had a nice discussion about why lying is a bad idea and how it hurts other people. She certainly knows what the word integrity means now.
Or, at least she can recognize the word. The definition might still be developing for her given the short time frame that it took for her second lie to be told. At my parents’ house on Tuesday, Riley defiantly told her grandpa that she was given permission to have a packet of fruit snacks when she had not obtained the said permission. An innocent lie but a lie nonetheless. The same daring eyes appeared but quickly turned to dismay as she realized that her lie had caused her fruit snacks to be taken away altogether for the evening. Taking a page from Story’s book, she exclaimed “I hate my life” and resigned her body to the couch. A progression to liar and teenager in one night.
This is why I sneak chocolate.