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Liar Liar Pants on Fire

by Deborah Cruz

Tonight, right before bed, Bella wanted a cookie. I, obviously, said no. You know, in the name of teaching her healthy eating habits, keeping her sugar intake down (especially before bed), keeping her teeth from rotting out of her head and a plethora of other reasons. You know the usual reasons we don’t give our littles sugar before bed. Common sense and we don’t want them awake all night bouncing off the walls. Then “it” happened.
Bella (very sheepishly) : Mommy, I want to tell you something but Grandma told me not to tell you. WTF? OFMG, I am bracing myself for God knows what. I just knew my daughter was going to let some deep dark family secret out of the bag. Give me the real low down on how they REALLY feel about me. I won’t lie, I winced a little.

Me: Yes, Bella. You KNOW you NEVER keep secrets from Mommy.NEVER! You tell me EVERYTHING.I don’t care who tells you to keep a secret.You TELL MOMMY THE TRUTH. What did Grandma tell you NOT to tell me? At this point, aside from wondering what the hell the secret was going to be, I am quite annoyed that someone would tell my daughter to keep a secret from me. I loathe liars, with a passion.This is not a secret. Bella knows this. My husband knows this. I don’t lie. I don’t like being lied to. No matter how small the lie is, it undermines trust and that ,my friends, is NO BUENO!

Bella: Well, Mommy, Grandma gave us peanut butter Oreo cookies and candy and a bunch of sugar before bedtime when she watched us the other night. Hmmm, is she referring to the night that the lovely and delicious Grandma babysat so that the Big Guy and I could go out for a supercalifragilistic date night? That night? The night that SHE was responsible for getting them to bed and to sleep? Really, this offense is not punishable by death. Isn’t that pretty much what Grandma’s do? Ply kids with sugary treats , surprise goodies and obscene amounts of hugs and cuddles?I actually expect this behavior. I mean as far as Grandma’s and MILs go, mine is pretty freaking AWESOME.WE love her big time around here.

But I am perplexed. I can let sugary indiscretions slide but encouraging or condoning keeping things from me, well,  that’s just not acceptable.  I can NOT tolerate someone teaching my children that it is alright in any way, shape or form to lie to me..their MOTHER. It wasn’t even worth lying about but the whole idea of asking my kids to keep anything from me, sends the wrong message. I am really trying to teach my girls to NOT lie and to have open honest dialog with their father and I.I am trying to teach them that their word is important and if they say something they must abide by their words.Promises must be kept. The truth must be spoken.

Me: Bella, I am very proud of you for telling me the truth. You can always tell me the truth. YOU won’t get in trouble for telling me the truth. But if I ever find out that you are lying to me again, I will be very disappointed in you and you will have to be disciplined. And if anyone ever tells you to keep a secret from me again, you come straight to me and tell me! OK?

Bella (looking a little worried and slightly relieved): See Mom, aren’t you glad that I gave up lying for Lent? I guess I was a good example with my Lenten caffeine sacrifice! I had to giggle a little.

I assured her that she did the right thing by ratting out Grandma. Grandma, if you’re reading this post, no more telling the girls to keep anything from me in the future.We’re all good, just remember that and I don’t care if you give the kids sugar, I expect that.

What would you do if you found out Grandma,or anyone, told your kid to keep secrets from you? Does it matter what the lie is?Is there such a thing as a little lie to be kept from a mother? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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XLMIC 2011/03/22 - 9:35 pm

Absolutely the wrong message! This is what ‘trusted and beloved’ family members and/or friends tell kids they are ‘grooming’ to molest. Unfortunately, I speak from parental experience on this one. Just say ‘NO’ to secrets. Period.

Christina 2011/03/22 - 10:05 pm

No way! My mother did this exact thing and she still feels like I over do it in this department. I detest being lied to.

Telling my girls that send so many wrong messages. That it’s okay to lie, keep secrets or do things I tell them not to. It also teaches them that there are things they can’t tell me. Which is absolutely not true!

It all starts out as a seed and grows. I would much rather others stay the hell out of my garden.

Jessica 2011/03/23 - 2:14 am

I dont’ think there is such thing as a little lie that can be kept from a mother. Grandma should not have told her to keep it a secret.

Teresa 2011/03/23 - 8:43 am

I don’t think there should be secrets, but I’m hoping to avoid things like this. We have a very clear rule about grandparents: The rules at home don’t apply at grandma and grandpa’s house. Then, they don’t need to lie and the kids don’t think they can get away with the same stuff at home!

Lizz 2011/03/23 - 10:27 am

Ugh. This is the worst. I’m like you… I pretty much assume that he’s going to eat a bunch of crap when he spends the night over there. It’s not going to kill him, and they all have a wonderful time!
He isn’t at the point where he lies yet, but I know it’s just around the corner.
One thing though, you said “You can always tell me the truth, you wont’ get in trouble for telling me the truth” I disagree. The point is that telling the lie won’t necessarily keep them *out* trouble, which I think is often the motivation for lying anyway.
“Suzy, did you draw on your sister with a marker?”
“Yes I did. And now that I’ve told you, I can’t be punished for it!”
Just my 2¢!

Krysta MacGray 2011/03/23 - 10:55 am

I agree, secrets of any kind are bad, although I can see how it could have been meant to be harmless. Ex. “Don’t tell your mommy! It’s our little secret” might seem fun, exciting and inclusive. Like driving home that this only happens with grandma, which IS fun.

Perfect Dad 2011/03/23 - 11:07 am

You did the right thing, and I’m glad your commenters agree. I have a speech that I give my kids whenever I see someone lying. I tell them that liars are worthless because you can’t believe what comes out of their mouths. When they come talk to you then you might as well not listen since you don’t know if it’s true or not. Nobody should ever lie, and it is so much more hurtful when you kids lie because then we can’t share anything together anymore yet we have to live in the same house.

My kids grandma is the same. Anything that comes out of her mouth is … optional. “Oh sure I’ll put the kids to bed at 8” She’s excercising her grandmotherly right to raise my own kids differently from how I raise them, but she doesn’t have to lie about it.

Great post. Boo to liars, even if they’re grandmothers.

Jess@Straight Talk 2011/03/23 - 12:14 pm

LOL! Good job lady. I kind of expect that when she is anywhere but with us. She’s gonna get spoiled. But the whole “don’t tell mama” thing, can’t really do that with the littles because they take it quite literally which can be a confusing thing.

parenting ad absurdum 2011/03/23 - 1:55 pm

Yes, grandparents are there to lavish kiddos with treats – but should always own up!! And you gave up caffeine?? Lady!

Bruna 2011/03/23 - 4:31 pm

I agree with you Deb but unfortunately, my parents still continue with the “don’t tell you Mom I let you have cookies before dinner” business. I can tell them off or scold them but my parents, think they are doing it in the name of love and see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

My parents = stubborn!

Mommy Nani Booboo 2011/03/23 - 5:57 pm

I tell my family that lying hurts your soul.
NO BUENO is right!

Marinka, The Mouthy Housewives 2011/03/23 - 9:04 pm

Generally speaking (or typing) I don’t like secrets either. I’m glad that your daughter knows that she can tell you anything. That’s fantastic.

And please send the sweets that you won’t give her to me. You know, for safe keeping.


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