Tag Archives: misunderstood

Sept ’19 Q&A – What to Do About Lying

Q. My 9 yo son recently stole some money, told me he didn’t, and that his friends must have. Then he planted the money in his sister’s room to frame her before telling me to, “search my room”. I’ve no idea what to say or do. I asked him repeatedly. I left a pot out for the money to be put back anonymously, and then he hides it in his sister’s room.

A. This is a tough situation for all of you. I’m sure there are deeper issues besides the coverup of the money that have led to this situation and need to be addressed. I suspect that underneath the behavior (lying), which is always a signal to a deeper need, there are trust issues. Namely that your son doesn’t trust you because he has learned that you don’t trust him, and therefore he is doing what he can to get away with what he wants. Nothing wrong with a child trying to get what he wants. But when he becomes devious to do it, then there is a problem. The deviousness comes out of a fear that he can’t get what he wants otherwise. There is not trust.

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On Being a Parent

Becoming a parent is easy. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have. There are as many “shoulds” and “oughts” about parenting as books on bookstore shelves. What should you do? Who do you listen to?

Some say trust your instincts. I agree. After all we are evolved to procreate and raise children in the culture of our heritage. It should be as easy as it appears for the birds and the bees. But where are all those wise instincts we’re born with? For most of us, they are buried under layers upon layers and years and years of being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. We’re taught if we don’t listen to parents and elders, we will be in trouble, maybe not be loved or accepted. Years of learned experience has set up detours and roadblocks tricking most of us away from our instincts to look in the wrong direction for the answers.

The answer is found in trusting yourself.

But first you have to believe that you actually do know what to do? Probably you learned you shouldn’t trust yourself because you were taught to listen to your parents and teachers no matter what. Giving your opinion was thought of as rude and “talking back”. You probably decided to just keep quiet and stay out of the way so nobody yelled at you. Or you decided you didn’t need anybody and began listening to the wrong people. You learned so much in all those developing years – just not how to trust yourself.

All the information and know-how is right in front of your nose. You can learn to parent from your children. Not from your parents, not from society. Your children are the only ones who can teach you what they need. Who knows your child better than your child? All you need is to trust yourself to listen and learn and then take your cues from your kids. You may first need to learn that your children are actually telling you what they need and aren’t being bad. The key is in creating the relationship and trust that allows you privy to those cues, interpret them and understand your child.

First you have to silence all those loud voices telling you what to do, what not to do and why you should never listen to yourself or your child.

What you need in order to learn from your child is:

  • The courage to allow your child to lead the way. This in no way limits your role and authority as parent.
  • An understanding of your child’s temperament and developmental stages. You need to know what to realistically expect so limits are appropriate.
  • The ability to translate your child’s behavior in order to understand her needs so as not to take her behavior personally and at face value.
  • The skills of establishing a mutually respectful and trusting relationship which requires your own self-respect and self-trust (this is the tricky part).
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