Thursday, July 17, 2014


One of the important values we want to instill in our children is certainly honesty. It goes right along with integrity and trustworthiness, and telling the truth is almost always the right approach. Maybe not the 100% full truth, if you're trying to protect someone's feelings. ("These dried-up over-baked homemade cookies are the best ever, Aunt Meg! Thank you.") But lying is wrong.

Well, except for all the non-truths we tell our kids. Like magical, mystical animals and creatures and people who come in the night and leave chocolate and money and presents (cough). And things like "if the wind changes your face will freeze that way." Or "No dear, the ice cream is all gone. You finished it last night, remember?"

Anyways. I have a painfully truthful child. He is incapable of telling a lie. Or of staying quiet when I'm trying to tell a little white lie to avoid bad feelings. ("Thanks so much! We'd love a playdate, but we're busy that day." "No we're not, Mom. I just don't like that kid." Sigh.)

It seems to be tangled up with his particular set of "issues" - a rigidity around rules and right vs. wrong. Honesty is a rule. You don't break rules. So you tell the truth. Always. And you ask permission rather than forgiveness (I tend to work in the other direction, for the record).

This is a big issue around bed time. Boo normally reads in bed. Or sometimes watches a video, but we try to avoid that. But some nights, for whatever reason, he is going to bed later than normal, and I tell him there's no time for books. Usually, I'm exhausted and going to bed myself. So, instead of sulking a little, saying good-night, and then reading anyway, under the covers with his flashlight, he puts up a huge fight and won't stop asking and begging and negotiating. And I keep firm and say no. And he'll sometimes even leave his bed after I've gone, to come find me and ask again. Talk about frustrating. At no point have I ever given in to his negotiating for extra reading time once I've said no. But he persists beyond all reason. Rigid.

The other night I got so frustrated I actually said something to the effect of I don't know what you do in your room once I'm gone, but I have said no books tonight, and now I'm going to bed.

He didn't take the hint.

I know I should be thankful for my honest child, and I am. But sometimes I just wish for a little deviousness to come through. At least so he'll stop the bedtime whining and negotiating. I imagine there's plenty of time for that. Teenagers. Nuff said.

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