My 14-year-old son was in for a difficult conversation. I brought him into my room, shut the door, and we sat on the bed.
Me: Unfortunately, I’m going to have to share with you something I was hoping I’d never have to say.
Son: My younger brother (name withheld) really is retarded?
M: No. He’s not and don’t say retarded. No. I want you to know that I know you’re a liar. When I don’t believe what you’re saying to me, it’s not that I think you’re a horrible person; I just know you’re not telling the truth.
M: The reason I refuse to believe you when you’re lying is because I, too, lied a lot in my youth. I could look my parents in the eye and lie to avoid or get out of trouble.
S: You lied to gramma?
M: Just the way you lie to me, and I was good at it. That’s the reason I see it in you, no matter how earnestly you try to convince me.
S: What did you lie about?
M: I lied a lot. I spilled nail polish on an end table, and it ruined the varnish. Gramma knew it had to be me but I never admitted it. Once I rode in a friend’s car without permission to somewhere other than the basketball game where gramma and pop thought I was, (Had to be careful with this one because the period of prolific, adept lying involved partying and having sex.)
S: Did you get caught?
M: Oh, yeah. Not every time but sometimes. So, when I refuse to believe you, it’s because a liar can see a liar. Lying doesn’t mean you’re an awful, terrible human being. It’s a character flaw, If you accept that you’ve got a character flaw, you can choose to improve it by telling the truth instead. Even though it feels harder to be honest, it actually gives you a great feeling. I don’t lie or try to avoid responsibility for things I’ve done anymore. it’s such a relief. You don’t have a racing mind trying to consider options and what exactly you did do or say. The truth is much more peaceful. It’s your choice. I love you.
S: I love you, too.
Sara’s education and experience: B.A. Ed; M.S. Counseling; teacher grades K & 2/3, educator for childcare providers, training in Positive Discipline and Growing, parent educator, program director of crisis nursery, including parent support, staff management & training, stay home mom 16 years with two sons born 19 months apart, medical transcription for 10 years in order to stay home, substitute teacher grades K through 12. Blogs about a wide variety of topics on survivingsara.net.