It has always puzzled me how much words mean to my kids, seven and nine years old.
"You're fat!" - Well, that's not true, none of you are.
"You're lazy!" - At times, both of you are.
"You're stupid!" - Ditto.
"I'm gonna to take your pencil when you're not around!" - Huh, hollow threat.
"Don't you dare! I'm gonna to take two of your pencils when you're not around!" - Well, points deducted for originality.
"Oh Yeah! I'm gonna throw your favourite shirt into the dust bin!" - Now, that I would like to see - no, not you throwing the shirt, your mother's reaction after you've thrown the shirt.
Usually at this stage, both kids would have been shaken by the other's verbal punches so much that their voices would have been raised to the near-window-shattering level. I would have just let the window crack to experience the awesomeness of the moment. But my wife, would step in like a wrestling match referee and put her hand in the middle of them and segregate them, "You! To the bedroom! You! To the study room!" She would blow her whistle like a football match referee too if the pandemonium does not cease immediately. And if one of them is clearly in the wrong, a red card will be shown.
The kids get irritated by words easily. Too easily (I guess, much like some adults too). Words are words, if they are not true, it won't do a thing to hurt you, unless you let them (of course, that's a big task even for adults). That's what I always tell the kids. It doesn't matter how stupid others are saying about you, if you're smart, no spoken words can make you less clever. Son, smart IS clever. And you still won't be able to climb the wall even if I say you're Spiderman, loudly, and repeatedly. Would you? Their silence in chewing up the truth of my words gives a perceived understanding of my wisdom, until the next round of shouting match.
So, before I could truly instil my wisdom into their deceivingly feeble minds, and before I could uncover the reason words have gained such significance in their reasoning, I guess I just have to accept that words do mean tonnes in the kids' world. But if that's the case, what's the reason behind lying to their parents?
My wife will usually bring snacks for the kids when she fetches them from school. The other day, she brought something that's not my little boy favourite. He protested, but my wife insisted he finish it, since he was hungry anyway. After they had reached home, he gave the empty snack container to his mother and told her he's finished his food.
The next day, under the car seats, my wife found a pile of food that my little boy claimed to have eaten. Furious, she questioned the boy. After some denials, and some further questioning, he admitted to the crime.
When my wife told me about this, instead of anger, I felt totally defeated, deflated and sunk. Unlike other mischief, I didn't see the humour of this.
To become parents whom our kids could turn to in any situation is always our major objective in raising our kids. This incident had knocked a hole onto our ship of parenting which has at its mast a flag bearing "The Most Understanding Parents". I know how Titanic failed to finished her maiden voyage; but I have little ideas as to why my little boy would resort to lying to avoid doing something he doesn't like, not to mention the stupidity of it - if you want to make the food disappear - throw it anyway outside the car! But that's a totally different issue.
I'm prepared to face lies, half-truth, or half-lie when the kids start stepping into their teenage years (which I still hope would not happen). But at seven?
What's startled me more than this is the afterthought: was that the first time? This was a big blow to my confidence in our parenting. Had we set the sail on a wrong course? Were we sailing towards north when we wanted to head west? Were we too optimistic? Did we underestimate the problem? Is this part of the voyage?
I'm probably adding the wrong one and one to get to two, but if words carry that much weighs in the kids' world, won't that mean lying to us was a contemptuous flick at his respect and love to us? I know my assumption is probably overblown, but at the moments when he spoke lies to us, what's his attitude towards us? What's on his mind? Did he think this is too small to be of importance? Does it matter how important is the subject of his lie?
That's more questions than I can handle for one post with a deflated spirit. Now I need to go sit at the corner, face the wall and do some serious rethinking.