I don’t know where a four year old picks up lying but it has gotten to the point just before getting out of control in our house. I hate asking, “What did you do to make your brother cry?” and getting an evasive, “Nothing.”
On our way home from the beach the other day, when the neighbor’s kid started screaming in the back row and I asked my usual question to only get the usual response, I had had enough. I said, “Buggy, you’re lying to me. Your nose is growing.”
Since she has seen Pinocchio only a handful of times, I wasn’t sure if she would get it or if it would make the impact I was hoping for, but oh did it work on my vain daughter.
Not only did she quit antagonizing her friend, her hands went up to her nose to check it’s transformation. Thank goodness there wasn’t a mirror around for her to call me out.
“Oh no, Mommy! We have to get it back down!”
I stifle my giggle, “Oh, I’m sure it will once you start behaving like a good girl.”
Wouldn’t you know, her nose was back to its rightful size by the time we got home.
Tonight I decided to try it again when she took a precious toy away from her brother.
“Buggy, what did you do to your brother?”
“Nothing,” she says with her hands behind her back.
“Really, Buggy? Because I can tell by the way your nose is growing again, that you’re lying to me.”
Her hands come around from behind her back and she places the toy train back into my sniffling little boy’s lap.
“Mommy, is my nose still growing?” she asks.
“No baby, it stopped but you’re going to have to do some good deeds for it to go back to its normal size.” I say, “How about you go brush your teeth?”
Off she went to the bathroom. After I inspected her teeth she asked, “Has my nose gone back down?”
I debate whether or not to press my luck but I figured, so far so good.
“No,” I say. “But I think if you clean up all your toys in your room, that should do the trick.”
10 minutes later her room was spotless of toys and her nose was just as beautiful as the day she was born.
Lying to my very gullible child to teach her not to lie is not lost on me. I feel like a hypocrite when I do it. However, given that most efforts to get my children to do as I say fall short of achieving my goals, I will milk this gem of a disciplinary tactic for as long as I possibly can.
In the same breath, I get a good laugh out of it too, as did my husband tonight when he saw first hand how easily I could manipulate our daughter into getting things done that typically require me to yell, scream and lose my temper.
I say, Mommy, 2; Buggy, 0