Wednesday, March 11, 2009


You would think by the third child I would have this down. You know, teaching them right from wrong, truth from lies, black from white. But my dearest MiniMe is throwing me for a loop.

She is four. She is still in the phase of child development where reality and fantasy are mixed up pretty equally. She can spin a yarn that includes elements of truth and reality, along with a whopping amount of fantasy lies. Sadly, the lesson that lies are wrong hasn't been driven home quite hard enough for her.

This girl is smart. She knows how to work the system. And she is highly motivated to get her way. So an untruth slides off her lips as easily as anything else. And I (experience mom that I am) am just starting to realize it. It's one of those moments in parenthood when you sigh heavily and realize that you have to really show up for your kid. That you have to figure out how to help her learn right from wrong. Lots of talking, training, praise for the truth and timeouts and loss of book reading (oh, she hates that) for lies.

But it is challenging to explain to a little one why honesty is important. She doesn't know the meaning of the words "character", "respect" and "trust" yet. So, now I've got to teach her. If I don't believe what she says, even some of the time, I can't trust her. Then she has to be supervised and treated as an untrustworthy person. If she lies to my face, I can't respect her.

This is where the real homeschooling starts. Teaching and building character is at least, if not more, important than learning ABC's and 123's in my mind.

But honestly? It's a lot harder to teach.