Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Deception

OK, I know you have to pick your battles and this probably wouldn't have been a big deal if I had just let it go...now, that being said, let me tell you a story to show you how my 4-year-old thinks.

Last Friday morning I was helping her get ready for school. I brushed her hair and asked if she wanted to wear a hair bow in her hair, she said no. I moved on to brush her sisters hair, asked her sister if she wanted a hair bow, she said yes. Well then the little one decides she wants a hair bow too. So I send them both to the bathroom to pick out hair bows. Now, on Fridays they wear their school spirit shirts which are red with royal blue writing on them. The little one comes back with 2 barrettes, a brown one and a purple one. So I tell her that she can't wear those because not only do they not match each other but they don't match what she is wearing. She proceeds to tell me..."But, I want to." So I tell her she can wear the brown one but not the purple. Then she sees laying in her room some old hair clips that I used to use but now I let them play with them. One is red and one is light blue. See Pic...

So she decides she wants to wear them in her hair. I again tell her no and she starts arguing with me. It is now time to leave so I walk out of the room and tell her father to please take care of it because she listens to him better than she listens to me. So he calls for her, it takes her awhile to come, but she does come out with nothing in her hair, then he just tells her to listen to her mother. I take them all to school.
When I go to pick my little one up after school she has the 2 barrettes in her hair, the brown one and the purple one. So I asked her where they came from. She says, "someone at school gave them to me." I tell her "no they didn't, you had those at home this morning, did you stick them in your pocket and put them on after you got to school?" Reply..."no." Me..."yes you did. Don't lie about it." No answer.
Unfortunately looking back on it I really dropped the ball on the parenting with this one. First of all, I should've let her wear whatever she wanted in her hair, so what if it didn't match, no big deal. Secondly, after the deception I didn't really do anything about it other than tell her not to lie. There were no consequences for her behavior at all, I just let it go. I guess I was feeling guilty about making such a big deal about the hair bows in the first place.
However, I have never in my life heard of a 4-year-old that has this thought process...mom won't let me wear them, I'll just stick 'em in my pocket and put 'em on when I get to school! What 4-year-old thinks like this besides mine? I flashed forward a few years, probably around 5 or 6 years from now, and imagined her sneaking make-up to school and putting it on there. Anyway, I just thought I'd share my struggles in parenting. Am I the only one who has this problem?

1 comment:

Gail said...

Holy cow! Morgan already sounds like one of those teenage girls who sneaks out her bedroom window to meet boys at night after the parents are asleep. I didn't know teens did stuff like that and didn't hear about it until I was over 20. (Actually, what I heard was that some girls were sneaking out to meet boyfriends and one was sneaking out to prostitute herself.)

It's obvious that Morgan's headstrong and already testing her boundaries.

Because of her age, it's best to give her a limited choice until she's mature enough to know what's acceptable. Instead of "Go get the bows you want to wear," limit her options by saying, "Do you want to wear red bows, blue bows, or no bows?" That way, she's forewarned that if she picks a brown barrette and a purple barrette, one or both barrettes are subject to your saying, "No, that wasn't an option." If she persists with the "Because I want to" argument, you get to pull rank and say, "No, because I'm your mother and I said so."

Of course, if she wants to argue about why is the brown barrette okay, but not the purple one, you'll have to take the time to explain that it matches her brown hair or is a neutral color that goes with almost everything while the purple doesn't match anything she had on. If you're too short on time to explain it right then, tell her you'll discuss it with her later and be sure to do so.

I don't like the idea of letting her wear the brown and purple barrettes because it's not such a small issue. She's challenging your authority and trying to take control that's inappropriate for her age. Besides, doing so encourages poor taste and lets her develop a terrible sense of style. If you let her wear whatever she wants, at some point in the future, she'll have to unlearn what she'd been allowed to do. Having to unlearn and relearn could be frustrating and confusing because if it isn't okay, why was she allowed to do it before? That would make for some interesting arguments and I don't see how you could come out looking good at the end of them. By limiting her options, you allow her to make her own choices while channeling her into practicing good style which will become second nature for her in the future. "Train up a child in the way [s]he should go: and when [s]he is old, [s]he will not depart from it." (Prov 22:6)

As for her lying, that she was confronted with her lie might be enough of a consequence at this point, at her age, because it gives her a lot to think about like how did you know what she did when you weren't there watching her do it. You've got a good chance of making her believe that Mom Knows Everything Because She Has Eyes In The Back Of Her Head And Can See Through Walls for at least a few years to come. That would be a good thing because, not only would it serve to keep her in line thinking you're going to confront her when she least
expects it, it's a good example of God knowing everything we do and holding us accountable.

In any case, you'll have to be on your toes all the time because she's a smart one who will figure out all the angles and sounds like she's going to make you regret your words if you aren't precise or absolutely truthful at all times. She also sounds like the one who's going to be the expert at pushing your buttons. She'll probably make a good attorney.

18 - 4 = only 14 years more to go! Is Morgan the example of what God has to put up with when either you or Rich aren't on your best behavior in your relationship with Him? Which of you stuck the equivalence of barrettes in a pocket and wore them even though He said, "No"?

Have fun!