Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A matter of honesty....and doubt.

After yesterday's incident, I was calm.  Frustrated, but calm.   I didn't yell or scream or punnish.  I had a very calm feeling that I needed to tread lightly here.  I guess I do get that still, small voice in my head sometimes!

There is a matter of doubt to the incident in question.   When I finally confronted Connor with his actions and the repercussions, he insisted that he did not do it.  He said he saw the boy peeing on the walls and just stood there watching.   Then the boy blamed him.  He told his teacher that he didn't do it, but she just kept asking over and over so he just said he did because she wanted him to.

He is six.  I can buy that.  I know how it feels to feel confronted and overwhelmed.  But I also know that he MAY have done it.

This just brings up the questions of doubt that I had last time an incident like this happened where he claimed innocence.  Did my badgering and anger finally get him to just admit it and get it over with?  Did he do it?  What about this time?

So what's a mom to do?  

If he is telling the truth and I don't stand up for him and believe him, it sets a precedence where he can't count on me for support and he puts him in the undesirable position of "I might as well do it because I'll get in trouble even if I don't do anything wrong."   Trust me, kids DO think this way-I did.  I knew that if there was ever a question of someone doing something wrong, I would be blamed.  i felt that it didn't' matter how hard I tried, I would still get punished for something.

If he is lying and I support him, well, that's frustrating as well.   He will learn that lying sometimes can work and it will set the foundation for continued dishonesty.  But even as I write this I have a sick feeling in my stomach.  I can't treat him as a liar.  I don't think he did anything wrong.

I went to my in laws for advice.   I didn't know if I would be able to talk to Matt today and I needed the valued input of someone who had 3 boys.  (I'll be honest, the idea of raising those boys intimidates me just a bit!)  His mom is the momma bear type.   She has told me stories of charging into the school, defending her child against the adults....then dealing with it at home.  That goes against everything I was raised to think.  From my parents example, I learned to let the "experts" do what they want and parents and kids should step back and obey.  But I have grown as a person, I can't blindly accept the word of another child and then let the school punish my child.  Even if there is no real punishment there, I can't hand over my parenting responsibilities. 

My FIL is a wise man. He pointed out things that I had not considered and issues that were important.  I really value his "dad" point of view.  So when Matt called I was calmer and able to discuss the situation with him without being so overwhelmed and upset.  We discussed it and talked about how Connor needs our support, but that when you admit guilt it is hard to take that back.  He has lied before so there is an element of doubt.  We need to talk to Connor and explain that trust and honesty are not sometimes things.  A lie before means that there is doubt now.  He may be telling the truth about this, but becuase he has lied before and because he admitted guilt to his teacher, he may have to face consequence for his actions (unjustified as it may be.)  I'll be present if he talks to the Principal and make sure he is not berated for telling the truth.

My in laws pointed out that 6 is pretty young to understand that concept.  They also pointed out that Connor didn't actually do anything wrong; the other kid did.  The other kid is an idiot for doing it whether Connor suggested it or not.  That kid is a moron and deserves the punnishment.  They said to tell the teacher to take a flying leap and that Connor didn't do anything.  The teacher can tell the class that if Connor (or anyone) tells you do do something, you have to be personally responsible and NOT do it! Also a good point, but I dont' know how that would hold up.


  1. It's funny your inlaws said that about the other boy. I was thinking that and I THOUGHT I wrote it in my comment but I must have gotten distracted. LOL Whereas, if he did suggest he was wrong to suggest inappropriate behavior (of course), but the boy was a twit/wrong for following through. I would do exactly that - talk to him about previous issues that now are causing trust issues and just emphasize that this is why we need to be honest in all our dealings. You got a hold of it sounds like. :) Families are a really great support system!

  2. Listen to your in-laws. Use this as an exaple of peer pressure, just he was giving the peer pressure. My nephew (my sister who was here son) chose Sam for christmas two years ago. He got Sam a game boy game that he knew he would really like. He wrapped it up, then he unwrapped it, opened the game, switched it with an old game he had and rewrapped it. I guess he wanted the game also. Well, he felt so guilty that he went and told his mom and dad, which they did a good job, I think he had to go buy a new one with his money, I don't remember, but talk to him about how Heavenly Father knows if you are lying and that is the most important thing, and how even though he hasn't been baptized yet he can feel the Holy Ghost and know if he is doing something wrong. And remember, Connor is only 6 and adorable, and misses his dad, maybe they can do emails or letters, just the two of them. Natalie would write letters or pictures and I would either send them or scan them, it helped her when she was frustrated.

  3. Of course, look at my kids, I should'nt be giving advice, I need some myself, ha ha. Thanks for all the help you give me.

  4. You are doing a great job! And your inlaws gave some good insight on the whole thing. Personally, I think that by being calm about the whole thing, you were a couple of steps ahead of the whole game. I would just echo what everyone else has said. It wasn't right to suggest that to the kid, but the kid didn't have to do it so in the long run....he is stupid(the other kid).
    I heard a great tactic about how to teach about lying to children Connor's age. This mother told her son that after school they would go to Mc D's and get french fries(he LOVED french fries and that was a huge deal to be able to do that). When he was picked up from school he was really excited and told his mom how he couldn't wait to go get those fries. His mom looked at him and told him "we aren't getting any french fries"
    "What??!! but you said we were"
    "I lied" said the mom and they went home. Of course the kid was mad that he was told one thing and yet another thing happened and probably confused too. The mom ended up sitting him down and talking to him about the consequences of lying....for example:it feels bad to be on the receiving end, makes you not trust someone, ect. It may be a good object lesson to try on Connor to really hit home why we don't lie. Just thought I would share that story. Sorry about the novel. :)

  5. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. My kids haven't started school yet, but I do know what it's like to feel to helpless as you watch your kids make choices you don't approve of. I'm especially sorry you are dealing with this alone as your husband is away. I wish I had some good advice. Instead I offer my prayers and support. Hang in there!


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