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The Childhood Years > Help!
saige's Avatar saige 01:55 PM 04-22-2002
I dont think I've ever posted under this forum before,but I'm wondering if someone can give me some ideas.I have a 3 year old who is a loving gentle sensitive soul.But I'm having a problem that I'm not sure how to handle.Example-I see pens in her room that she was supposed to put back in the drawer when she was finished because I didnt want baby to get them.
The pens are on the work desk
Me: Saige-did you put the pens away?
Saige goes in her room,comes back out: I dont know where they are Mom.
Meh,well Mama will go check in your room for them,then.
(I walk in her room where I can see that she has hidden them behind her little chair)
Me: Saige did you put these there (I know that she did,because they were on her work desk 5 min ago)
Saige: I'm sorry Mama
Me: Did you lie to Mommy when you said you didnt know where they were?
Saige'm sorry Mama.

Ect,ect.She has been telling little lies lately.That was a really stupid examle,but I didnt know what else to use.I know the pens really weren't a big deal-but the point is that I've been trying to teach her to always tell me the truth about things and I'm not sure the best way to that.She'll say little things like" Daddy said I can lay on the couch and watch tv all day" Yeah,right!! And I'll say "Saige are you telling Mama the truth? And she'll say yes.I really want her to not feel like I'm questioning her all the time like I dont trust her,but sometimes I know it's a lie and I dont know how to respond to it.There.That was huge,I know.Any ideas?

bluedotsmom's Avatar bluedotsmom 02:26 PM 04-22-2002
I understand. I have a 3 yr old and 4 yr old.

First thing to remember, until kids are 4 yrs old (or more) they cannot make the generalizations that we as adults do. Example, I know my stove is hot when it's on; therefore, I know not to put my hands on your stove (just in case it's hot!) So, you do have to tell her a million times to put the pens up, she knows what it means right now, but really doesn't make the generalization to every time.

Kids lie to please us. This is hard for me, if I know dd1 or dd2 did something, I'm likely to ask "did you do yada-yada?" They are most likely to say no, not because they are terrible, but because they want me to be happy. They don't understand rhetorical questions. They think, if mommy asks, she doesn't know!!! I try to use a statement, "I see the pens are still on the floor, you are supposed to put them up when you are done with them. Do you understand? Let's clean them up now." This is hard to do, but I'm getting better.

It's the same with any kind of general command. For my girls, who can do a great job of cleaning their room, I have to remind myself to be specific. Put the books on the shelf, where do we put the stuffed animals, etc... If I just say, go clean your room, they head in there, but lose track of the tasks.

At this age it is so hard to remember that they are still really such young creatures. They may converse with adult-like phrases and do have incredible understanding & are learning by leaps and bounds, but their brains are so busy that they do get distracted and forget things.

And the generalization about the TRUTH is pretty hard. I sometimes will try to get my girls to understand by saying something silly and asking if it's the truth (example, it's raining purple flowers.) But at this age they understand enough that they want mommy to be happy, but do have trouble with the 'adult' concept of truth.

Sorry to be so long. Your daughter is where she needs to be and you are obviously very involved and attached, so give both of you a little slack. Just try to be very specific, very black & white and don't expect her to remember tomorrow everything that you worked on today. (Guess, I need to be better at practicing what I preach too.)
AuntLavender's Avatar AuntLavender 05:34 PM 04-22-2002
Even my 5yo ds will lie in order to please so I try no to ask him questions that will in effect be prompting him to lie (especially when I know the answer).
saige's Avatar saige 06:10 PM 04-22-2002
Thanks so much guys.It's sometimes hard to remember that she doesnt understand everything,she's REALLY vocal and perceptive and I try to remind myself that she's ONLY 3!! I know since Willow was born I treat Saige so much older.So basically what your saying is maybe not worry so much about teaching her about truth/lying? It's so hard sometimes to know what to do!! I guess we all just do the best job we can,and hope it's the right thing,eh?I'm finding as Saige gets older it's hard to think of whats appropriate (age-wise) and what isnt.She's such a good girl I feel guilty complianing.
khrisday's Avatar khrisday 06:22 AM 04-23-2002
I have to agree about the commanding language thingy. If you ask "Did you so and so?" you're gonna get a no. Try switching it around to where you say "Saige, please help mommy by putting away the pens in your room so baby doesn't hurt him/herself with them" instead of asking a yes/no question you have now enlisted her to be your helper and take something away from her sibling (which all kids love to do).
SoHappy's Avatar SoHappy 12:04 PM 04-23-2002
I think bluedotsmom and I are much alike. I try to avoid the kinds of questions that tempt untruths and make comments based on observation. ex: "I see the puzzle pieces didn't make it back into the puzzle. You said you would help with that." Sometimes a question that reinforces the action will follow. "Can you tell me why it's important to put the puzzle pieces away?" Then I get to praise him "Yes, you're absolutely right, they CAN get lost or hurt our feet! That would be a bummer, huh? How 'bout putting them away right now, as quickly as you can? On your mark, get set, go!"
As for the thing about spending the day on the couch watching tv, I'd probably get a big smile and respond with something silly, like, "Oh, really? Uh-huh, I'm sure he did, since he's such a nice daddy. I bet he also said you could drive the car to the beach and pick up some french fries on the way! Can you stop by the bank and get me a million dollars? I think I'll buy a giraffe to keep in the back yard." At this point he's looking at me quite amused and I say, "You're right, we're both being silly. Let's go hang the laundry." And we continue the story-telling on the way.
javamama's Avatar javamama 03:26 AM 05-03-2002
I love the advice you've gotten so far, it has helped me, too. Sometimes it is hard to remember they are little. I have a new baby, and the contrast makes my 4yo seem so big!
Another thing I've been talking to DD about lately and working on myself is that I will not be mad, ever, if she tells me the truth. Sometimes I have to stop myself in mid sentence to tone down my response) if she has done something I don't approve of (the latest, cutting friends hair ). In the hair cutting scenario, I first praised the girls for giving me a truthful answer, then talked about how that was not okay, scisors are for cutting paper.......
It has been important for me to teach her this because I want her to be able to tell me anything as she gets older. I'm thinking of school situations, if something goes on at a friend's house.
So far, the technique is working. At a recent play date, a toy was (innocently) broken and I heard dd say "No, we have to go tell my mom, she won't be mad!"