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23/08/2011 / melgardener

Do you cope with lying?

On the weekend, I suddenly noticed that my youngest daughter had a section of hair that was significantly shorter than the rest of her hair. Because the rest of her hair is fairly long, this discrepancy was very easy to spot. So, naturally, I asked her about it.

“C did it at daycare,” I was confidently assured.

I was surprised but then asked if she had told one of the teachers.

After nodding furiously, she told me that “C got in really big trouble and had to go to the [babies] room for a while”. Fixing me with her big blue eyes she parroted, in a serious tone, “We don’t use scissors on hair at daycare”.

To be honest, I was running around with the usual million items on my mind so I didn’t say or do anything further. I figured there wasn’t much to be done anyway and I certainly wasn’t going to make a fuss that might get the other child into more trouble – I was confident that the daycare teachers would have taken any action necessary.

Then…earlier this evening, I discovered a lock of hair. Not just any lock of hair, but a significant handful. And not just any significant handful, but a handful whose mass exactly matched the section of missing hair from my child’s head.


So I asked my daughter again about who cut her hair. Repeatedly she denied any involvement, again blaming C and insisting that it happened at daycare. I asked her how the hair came to be here at home when it had been cut at daycare and this is when her story began to unravel. Eventually, I got her to ‘fess up that she had cut her own hair.

I will stop a moment here to reassure you that I am certainly not worried about a few strands of cut hair but I certainly felt I needed to deal with the ‘lying’ (for want of a better word). I know that 4 year olds do not lie in the way that adults lie. I am also well aware that my daughter knew that what she did was wrong and it’s 4 year old logic to try and keep yourself out of trouble, hence the elaborate story.

But that’s what fascinated me so much with this incident. She didn’t simply deny doing it. She actively concocted an entirely plausible story, complete with scapegoat. She even included minor details such as the other child being sent into another room for some time out.

We’ve now had the requisite talk about making good choices and some of the consequences of making bad choices. I’ve expressed to her that the behaviour – both cutting the hair and then not telling the right story about it – is disappointing but (secretly, inside) I’m applauding the level of
imagination required to have successfully pulled the wool over my eyes, albeit for only a short time.

Where do you stand on lying? What do you do if you catch your kids lying?


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