Rex had been terrorizing the other 5th graders at school. The other kids were beginning to refuse to play anywhere near him during recess.
Rex’s teacher was often convinced that he was behind most problems that happened when her back was turned. She explained it to his mother one day with, “I never see him cause a problem, but when there is one, he’s the kid who knows all the details and looks more innocent than anyone else.”
Finally the playground supervisor saw him punch one of the girls from behind, knocking her to the ground. However, when told about this, his mother refused to believe the story.
Her response was, “I asked Rex if he did it, and he said no. I have to believe my child.”
Mom fell into a trap occupied by many parents who don’t realize that it is human nature to deny responsibility. The best way to get anyone to lie is to ask, “Did you do that?”
What is the solution? Once you know something happened, don’t ask your child if he/she did it. Do this instead:
“Rex. I know that you hit the girl. Here is what I’m going to do about it.”
Rex will still say, “But I didn’t do it.”
“I’m sorry, Rex. That’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about what’s going to happen.”
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute
As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.