Monday, May 24, 2010

Parenting at it's best... or worst?

My middle child has had issues this past year with lying. They are just little fibs, but they scare me! I do NOT want my children to be liars!

She's getting better, but she still struggles with the temptation to say "No, I didn't do that" when she most certainly did.

Like the time Scott found a large X written in the carpet in the bonus room with permanent marker (not sure where she got it...) He came down and asked Lacy, "Why is there a black X on the floor upstairs?"

Oh, she could have just lied and said, "I don't know." or "I didn't do it." but no. Not my daughter. Her response?

*gasp* "Maybe... maybe it's a buried TREASURE Daddy!!!"

So yes, evidently our house has been invaded by pirates who have buried treasure in the floor boards of our bonus room.

Or the 2 times we found the word "LACY" written on two different couches... "No, Gabby wrote that, Mommy." Gabby wasn't even 3 at the time. As smart as my youngest daughter is, she most certainly did not write her sister's name all over my furniture.

Now, I'll bring this story to present. There is a little girl who lives down the street, and I tell you, this girl puts my daughter to shame in the lying department. Every other word out of her mouth is completely suspect. To the point of almost laughable. In fact, I don't wonder if this isn't a little where Lacy learned the trait at. Whereas my daughter only does it to get out of trouble, this little girl says it for no reason at all just to get attention.

My eldest daughter comes romping inside this last weekend and asks for they can invite this little girl over to play. They haven't asked to play with her in a while, because to be honest, she can also be pretty mean sometimes. It was out of desperation (i.e. all the other neighborhood kids were busy) that they were asking.

And I said no. I explained to my eldest daughter that even though we are to love EVERYONE and be a friend to everyone, since Lacy has trouble lying and this girl is obviously queen of fib-making, I don't want her around being a bad influence. If the girl comes to OUR house asking to play, then I don't mind her playing because we aren't going to be rude, but I don't want to seek her out.

There was a little of the normal "but MOM!" but finally she agreed.

As she went back outside to play, I questioned myself. Am I being mean? Am I being unChristian to not allow my children to be friends with this little girl? Or am I being a good mom by encouraging them to pick friends who will be good influences on them?

I also try to teach my children to love their enemies, so am I counteracting that admonition by telling them they can't play with this little girl???

Your thoughts on this matter are appreciated. What is the difference, the line if you will, between "loving your enemies" and "surrounding yourself with people who will be a positive influence"? Would you have let your children play with the neighborhood liar?

Please feel free to give an honest opinion. The jury is still out for me on this one!

19 comments:

Jessica Nelson said...

This is tough. I really don't know what I would do.
I feel you on the lying thing though. My five year old has started doing that over things happening in school. :-(

Sherrinda said...

I hate to break it to you, but my teens are still little liars. Sigh...
What is good is that I am still catching them at it and can deal with it appropriately.

I think you are right in what you are doing. Be nice to the neighbor, be kind, but you do have control over their "close" friends at this point. Later on it won't be so easy. :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I just told the story of the little girl (changed so my girls could identify) who cried wolf at the dinner table last night.

My kids asked if it was in the Bible. ;)

My husband and I had a similar discussion about a neighborhood situation last night. I will pray you receive clarity.

~ Wendy

Valerie said...

Krista, you have some of the best instincts of any momma I know. I totally and completely think you did the right thing. If you had a family member who was a raging alcoholic, you wouldn't invite the town drunk over to show him some Christian love, now would you? That's blow out of proportion a little, but you catch my drift. :)

Andrea said...

You may not stop it totally, but give them creative punishment...like cleaning a toilet..something they would hate and don't even tell them why...every time they are caught lying...simply say: CLEAN THE TOILET or whatever punishment you have chosen..it will help, but as someone else said here...as teens you will still be challenged with this issue.
Blessings,
andrea

PS: I have an urgent prayer request at arise 2 write.

Julie Jarnagin said...

That's a tough one. I think you made the right decision. If she's struggling with something right now and spending time with this girl would reinforce a bad habit, it's probably best for them to not play much right now.

CMOM Productions said...

This is always a difficult choice. Last year we faced a similar situation. My oldest son is the "friend to everyone" type and often times can be treated poorly by someone and he'll still want to be friends. We had to tell O that he should avoid a classmate during recess because he was a bad influence and didn't treat him well. I think you should go with your heart/gut on this one. You are looking out for your child's best interest.

Lily Robinson said...

Without thoughtful prayer on the issue, I can only offer my gut instinct. Loving our enemies does not mean submitting our impressionable children to sin. Perhaps you can invite her sometime when you can be present and correct the bad behavior. Jesus hung with sinners. He did not ignore their sin. He taught them to confess it.

As far as your daughter... I have one granddaughter that has learned to lie. Now she is facing the consequences... she gets blamed for things she doesn't do.

I forwarned her... I taught her the story of the boy who cried wolf. She now understands it goes for more than lying... it goes for fighting, making a mess, etc. When it's her word against a sister's, Mom & Dad always believe the sister.

I've told her that it will take some time to undo the reputation she has earned. She now understands.

Hopefully, by explaining to your child the long-term consequences, in an age-appropriate way, she will choose to be truthful.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Krista -

I think you're doing the right thing. You wouldn't allow your daughter to hang out with a known drug pusher? Same principle, IMO.

It's a parent's job to protect and set boundaries.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Diane said...

I think if it is a controlled environment, ie they are watching TV with you nearby that would be ok. You have to protect your children first. :O)

T. Anne said...

I struggle with this with my own children. We have non christian friends and our children got so sick of their kids using expletives and being nasty our children asked not to play with them anymore. It has been painful to our relationship but iron sharpens iron and bad influences just pull you down. Hugs!

Krista Phillips said...

Such great advice! Thanks everyone!

Valerie, funny, when I was talking to hubby last night (after writing this) I used the same analogy of the alcoholic. :-)

And yes, to those who reminded me that it only gets worse when they are teens, I'm aware of this. I guess I just think if they are already in a bad habit of doing this at age six, then come their teen years it will be even worse!

In my Lacy's defense, she's starting to improve. She still lies sometimes but when I stop and ask, "Now, Lacy we need to tell the truth. Tell me what REALLY happened." she is now realizing what she did and tells the truth.

Baby steps!

Karen Lange said...

Ah, the joys of parenting. For my kids, I would probably limit their time with this sort of influence, and initiate lots and lots of dialogue about it. My tendency is to remove the kids from a situation, but that can't always be done, such as with cousins, etc. This is where I think we learn more about Godly wisdom as parents than we did when growing up:)

Jody Hedlund said...

One time when my kids were eating sandwiches, I plopped a loaf of bread into the middle of the table. I said, "Look at the bread." They did and then I got the response, "Ewwww, it's green."
"Yep," I replied. "It started with one piece and spread to the rest. That's mold. And that's what the influence of friends can be like too."

Anyway, I used an illustration to hit it home to my kids. The Bible clearly states that bad company corrupts good character. Our children need to learn to love everyone, but be discerning in who they pick to be the pieces of bread right next to them. :-)

Krista Phillips said...

Oh my goodness, Jody! What an illustration! You are queen of those... I think you need to write a parenting book of practical illustrations to use with your kiddos!

Sherrinda said...

Um, no, Jody is supposed to write a book on writing! At least first. :)

Valerie said...

Great minds, I tell ya. :D

Erin Frost said...

I think you were right in what you did. At some point, you have to find a way to love your enemies while also protecting yourself (or your children, in this case). There is no shame in that, in my opinion.

Rachel said...

I'm not a mom, yet, but I think you made the right choice.

The issue of lying is something that I'm dealing with in a very real and heartbreaking way right now. My husband and I are separated right now, because of his problems with lying and anger. His mom never taught him that those things are wrong.

A parent's primary responsibility is to train up their child in the way he should go, so that when he is old he will not depart from it. That includes protecting your child from bad influences until they're old enough to see it for themselves.