*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*
I’m no professional when it comes to childhood development, so I am not sure where or when children learn to lie to their parents, siblings, or others. The first time I remember my daughter Tori telling a whopper of a lie was when she was about five years old.
It was morning and I was just rousing myself from sleep when I heard a loud POP coming from Tori’s bedroom, and then the sound of her crying. I ran to her room and found her holding up her hand, and her fingers were covered with what looked like black powder, or soot. One glance at the blackened wall told me she’d tried shoving something into the wall socket and had shocked herself.
“Tori, did you put something in the wall socket?”
“No,” she said, looking up at me with teary eyes.
I bent over and picked up one of my earrings, the hook clearly bent and burnt. Kneeling to Tori’s height, I asked her again:
“Did you take Mommy’s earring and put it in the outlet?”
“No Mommy,” she cried.
That was the first time we talked about lying. I explained how I could tell she had done it and that it was wrong to lie to the people who love you because it’s hurtful and makes people distrustful.
Tori is seventeen now and I can probably count on my fingers the number of lies she’s told me in her life, big or small, so I consider myself a pretty lucky parent.
On the other hand, my friend Nicole’s kids, boy and girl twins who are twelve years old, are horrible liars.
Even at a young age, these twins would sneak out of their house to go play in the pool at night, something forbidden for safety concerns. When Nicole found wet, chlorinated towels and clothes, the kids would just lie right to her face about having been in the pool. They would steal snacks between meals and blame it on their father. They would say they did their homework and then Nicole would get calls from school that her kids were falling behind. At their worst, just before their twelfth birthday, Nicole came home from work one night and found that her precious Chihuahua, Dolly, had her fur dyed blue. Blue.
When confronted, the kids denied they were the ones who dyed the dog blue, even though Nicole tore through their bedrooms until she found an empty bottle of Manic Panic hair dye in the bottom of her daughter’s garbage can.
Nicole had to teach them a lesson. A lesson that they wouldn’t forget, and that would forever remind him of how painful being told lies could be.
So, Nicole, who happened to be a single mom, made a show of planning an elaborate trip to take the twins to Disneyworld for their spring vacation. She printed flight itineraries and posted them on the refrigerator, hauled their luggage out of the attic, and invited the twins to help her plan the trip.
The twins were so excited to be staying at the Polynesian resort where there would be nightly luaus and a monorail right inside the hotel to take them to whichever park they desired. They poured over videos of all the new rides that they would get to go on, they planned together which ones they wanted to hit more than once and which they would skip. They even packed their suitcases without help from their mother, they were so excited to be going to Disneyworld.
On the morning they were supposed to be leaving for their trip, the kids raced downstairs with their bags packed, ready for a quick breakfast before leaving for the airport. What they found was their mother lounging on the couch with a cup of coffee.
“Mom, what are you doing, we have to go!” Her son said to her, sounding frantic.
“Go where?” Nicole asked, looking up over her mug.
“Um, to Disney?”
“Oh,” Nicole said. “We aren’t going to Disney.”
“What do you mean?” The twins cried in unison.
“I lied,” Nicole said matter of factly.
The kids stood silently, blinking at their mother for a few moments before they realized she was serious and they both started to cry.
“You lied?” Her daughter cried.
“Yup,” Nicole said. “I was pretty sick and tired of you kids constantly lying to me, so I thought maybe you deserved a dose of your own medicine. You know, to know what it feels like to be constantly betrayed and let down by the people you love.”
“But mom,” her son tried to argue.
“But nothing,” Nicole said. “I never planned the trip. You two can go back upstairs and clean your rooms and think long and hard before you try lying to me about something again.”
The twins trudged back upstairs, now sobbing. Did Nicole feel bad for her elaborate trick? Yes, she did, a little bit. But she also thought they deserved to learn their lesson.
What do you think? Did Nicole go too far?
Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan