Liar, Liar Pants on Fire
One of my fears is that I will fail my children in the parenting arena. A few weeks ago, my son went through a lying streak. For three weeks in a row, we caught him in a lie. They were nothing catastrophic, but nevertheless, I panicked that a pattern might be developing and lost it a little. Well….maybe a lot.
The first week, he lied about doing something at church and his dad knew he had done it but just was going to see if he would come clean. Nope, lied. So electronics were taken away for a week. The next week when he got electronics back, I saw a login attempt error on his device. I asked him about it and he kept telling me he had no idea, the device was glitching. After doing a little more digging, and asking the right questions, I found out he was trying to listen to music via youtube (which I have locked on his device) in his bathroom while getting ready. His pleas that he did not lie, I just did not ask the right questions were convincing. Little con artist. Electronics …… gone for another week and some additional chores. Thankfully, my Bible Study during this time was about, “Managing your Moods,” and we had just studied about anger. So I had been reminded to not sin in my anger, I could feel it just do not let it take control. As I was taking him to school that morning, I could not believe that he had lied again and had not learned his lesson. My parents always said that punishing me was harder on them than it was me. When I was getting the punishment, I thought, “yeah right, how is that so?” After this two weeks, I could kind of understand. I knew how much he missed playing his games but knew that it was what I needed to do. Then another bit of sadness fell over me, when I thought, “I bet this is how God feels when I continue to sin and know good and well I’m doing it.” A time of repentance for me and a prayer for guidance. Hard to continue to be mad at lil man, when God is so full of grace, and continues to forgive me for my shortcomings. Over and over again.
Third week came, I was tired from a long work week. I was putting little man in bed and could tell that he had not brushed his teeth. I asked, “Did you brush your teeth?” Lil man responded with a convincing, “Yes, mom. My toothpaste smell just wears off and that’s why you cannot smell it.” Really? Not only did he lie, but even went to the trouble to make up a story about it. I gave him another opportunity to come clean. Nope, just convincingly reassured me that he had brushed those pearly whites. Yea, I lost my temper. I yelled, told him to get into his bathroom and I could not believe he had lied for a 3rd week in a row! Stormed to my room and went searching for a solution to this lying problem! After he brushed his teeth, I saw him laying in bed, just reading. What?? I hollered in there for him to get to bed and think about what he had done! I went to my room feeling completely frustrated and defeated that I could not put a stop to this! I went to Christian authors and searched for some suggestions. I also turned to my Bible. Lil man and I had just read a devotion about telling the truth. Did he not get it? Does he just not care? Sometimes it’s hard to tell what he is thinking because he keeps to himself and does not have a lot to say until he’s ready.
After some reading, I was sad that I had been part of the problem. Do not call your child a liar, yep did that last week. Do not ask questions that set him up to lie, yep did that each time. Turn to Proverbs about honesty, nope didn’t turn to the Book until week 3. The questions I asked and probably the way I asked them made him afraid, to tell the truth. He was still in the wrong and we would have to talk about that in the morning. But I reacted poorly to the situation as well. Then I realized, I was trying to control the situation and I just needed to pray about it and turn it over to God. I prayed specifically for lil man that night but I also prayed that God would give me wisdom and guidance as his mother. The next morning, he met me in my room and apologized for lying. I asked him what his punishment should be, “no electronics ever again,” he responded. Lil dude has a little flare for the dramatic. But I could tell he felt bad. I told him that he needed to go searching his devotional and Bible stories to seek more about telling the truth. He replied, “Mom, that’s what I was reading when you yelled at me last night.” Heartbroken, ashamed and reminded of how I reacted the night before, I apologized and asked him to forgive me because I was wrong to act like that. I asked him to get his devotion and let’s read it together. We hugged, I took away his electronics for two weeks and we went on about our day.
Now I know that he will lie again, just like God knows that I will lose my temper again. However, I am comforted to know that his first inclination was to reach for his Bible and find truth there. I also know that at times, I will fail my children in the parenting arena, but I also know that God’s got them and as long as they know him, it will all be alright.
Thank you Jesus!