Recently, I lied to the almost 13-year-old.
It wasn’t a white lie.
It was one of those full-on, bearing absolutely no resemblance to the truth fabrications.
It happened in a flash.
In a moment where I gave fleeting thought to truth-telling and instead chose to plunge ahead and commit a falsification.
Spoiler alert: As with all lying liars who lie I was found out.
And it was horrible.
Sure, I possessed myriad ‘grown-up’ reasons *why* the information wasn’t hers to know, but when she discovered my duplicity my ‘uber important’ reasons no longer seemed as compelling.
She responded in a perfectly calm fashion and stated:
We don’t lie to each other.
She was right.
That night I feared I’d permanently shattered her trust.
Consistent mutual respect.
Over the past year or so, she and I have worked together to create a clear set of family values.
We’ve chosen to write these down in the form of a mission statement, but that’s not pivotal.
All that mattered was we spent time together defining what was important to us and talking through what we valued as a family.
We may not always agree, but we put trust and faith in the other person’s judgment.
This is where honesty comes in and why my being less than truthful was a shock to her.
We’ve created a climate of mutual respect where, even if the honesty du jour is not what the other person wants to hear, we *still* show up bearing the facts.
When she was young I constantly shared the notion my quality parenting was born from quantity of time.
Mothering is not a natural state for me and, as a result, I needed lots of opportunities to have any “I kick ass at this stuff” moments.
Now that she’s older it’s become quality time by default.
I need to be waiting for the moments she’s ready for me and, when she shows up, drop everything and be present
No backdrop of work worries or financial frettings running through my mind.
In order to create the sense of trust I desired/maintain what we have I must fully listen.
Lately, I’ve seen parenting experts instructing us *not* not to normalize for children.
Not to share stories beginning with: “When I was your age experienced the same thing…”
I don’t know if the aforementioned experts are correct or not; I do know, here, all my child typically wants is for me to tune everything out and listen.
(All together now) Consistently.
Literally show up at the events/special occasions you can.
Metaphorically show up by setting clear boundaries and consistently enforcing consequences if/when the boundaries are breached.
As a parent I’m predictable.
My child knows she can count on me to show up and my consistency in this realm has been one of the biggest contributing factors in creating trust between us.
I am predictable.
I’m average in the best possible way.
I may be scattered, I may be disheveled, I may be thisclose to missing something, I show up.
Now, on some level, there is not yet an end to my story.
I reminded her we all make wrong choices even adults.
I clarified, again, when I decided to be less than truthful it seemed my best option.
She accepted my apology.
She reminded me I’m a terrible liar (which is exactly how she knew) and said she forgave me.
Is the trust there?
Is her faith in me repaired?
On every level it’s the same thing I’ve told her when she has violated my trust.
Only time will tell.
- Screw the experts/normalize for me: Were you ever caught lying to your child??