Getting through the day, one cup at a time.

What Is Lying?

on May 24, 2012

Hey, you know how – when you’re a parent – there are supposed to be difficult questions that you have to answer carefully. Answers that need to explain, but not limit, the world so that your child can understand it, but keep an open mind and heart.Most of the timeI feel pretty good about myself when I answer these questions.

I ignore race entirely at this point, simply explaining that another person’s skin is a different colour from hers because my skin is a different colour than hers because everyone has different coloured skin.

Gender stereotypes are stomped out with a simple ‘boys or girls can do/be/wear/look/act/etc. like this if they want to.

Height, weight, shape, everything can be tactfully explained.

And then I lose it on lying. What is lying? My beautiful, smart 3 year old will ask me because she knows that lying is a bad thing, but she doesn’t understand it exactly.


Lying is when you say that something happened, but it didn’t. Or you say that something IS something and it’s not. It’s when you don’t say the truth – what really happened.

So, like, when I say I’m a puppy? She’ll ask me. All innocently, wondering if crawling on all fours and barking is a moral offense.

No no. That’s playing pretend. Like, it’s a game. And it’s okay to pretend things are different if it’s a game. But not if it’s real. Like, serious. And you can’t just say that you were pretending if you were really just lying.

And then the examples will start.

Like, if you broke a bowl, and Mommy says ‘Ah! Who broke this bowl?’ and you say that Kira did it, but she didn’t – you did – then that’s lying.

So, what if a bowl is broken and Kira says that she did it, but I say that Edie did it?

Well, who broke it?

Edie did. But Edie says that I did it. But it was Kira.

That doesn’t make any sense. Who actually broke the bowl?

Well, it wasn’t me. I’m not lying, Mommy.

So? C’mon! How am I supposed to explain this?! Eep! Any suggestions guys, because I am driving myself nuts trying to figure out who broke the proverbial bowl, which of my children is fake lying to me, and WHY the dog can talk – let alone blame someone else.

PS Remember to check out the entries for the photo challenge and vote for your favourite!


18 responses to “What Is Lying?

  1. sillyliss says:

    Somebody broke the bowl. That’s what we know. *shifty eyes*

    I’m glad my kids aren’t smart enough to figure out semantics…

  2. lorajbanks says:

    It’s TERRIBLE, but I’ve broken out the “That’s good that you’re telling the truth, because God would know if you were lying and that would just make him sad” once in a while. Only in extreme circumstances!! And maybe once or twice I’ve mentioned that I hope Santa’s elves aren’t watching someone lie to their mom right now.

    P.S. That is not advice, but simply an admission of guilt. What a load off!

    • I approve this method of parenting. Santa and the Easter Bunny are always watching for liars, which may be why Ally is extra interested in finding out exactly what lying is. To avoid it, of course. Bad behaviour has merited a phone call to the big man before…

      • lorajbanks says:

        Good to hear. We actually have Santa on speed dial. All I have to do sometimes is pick up the phone and say “Oh hi, Santa?” and the offense usually draws to a halt.

        • Yeah, if I press and hold S on my cell phone it’s a direct line to his workshop. “Hi Santa, I don’t think Ally needs any toys this year. Maybe you could give them to a girl who’s been GOOD.”

          • lorajbanks says:

            Or you could just throw her toys IN THE GARBAGE!!

            • Hahaha! I knew parents who did that once. Mom packed all the offending toys into a black garbage bag and put it outside to scare them. Dad later took them to the curb without knowing…

              • lorajbanks says:

                NIGHTMARE! And a perfectly wrapped lesson. That would SUCK!

                • Yeah, obviously it sucked for the parents who were out those toys but…their kids got a pretty rough smack of reality, hahaha!

                  • myhonestself says:

                    I have definitely thrown out toys once or twice….ok fine a few dozen times! We don’t actually throw them out though we put them in a bag for Goodwill. Sometimes that bag doesn’t get donated for months and the kids see their cherished toys sitting there the entire time. A constant reminder not to do whatever it was they did & gets rid of our never ending supply of needless toys.

                    • That’s great! I’m really lazy when it comes to taking the donation bags to the bin (and let’s be honest, as soon as you do you’ll find something else to donate and you’ll have to start a new bag) but the kids are pretty good about going through their toys to donate the ones that we don’t play with and to throw out the toys that are broken. And they’re so little!

  3. Wow I’m not looking forward to my dumb answers when my 2yo starts asking those types of questions. You could say lying is when we don’t say the truth with the intention of deceiving. Hope she doesn’t ask what ‘deceiving’ is.

  4. And then you get a whole other dilemma trying to explain about lying by omission or lying by exaggeration.

  5. oh the fun is only starting….wait until that little girl is 13 and she’s not lying…..she’s “omitting” some facts. They become little lawyers.

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