I am not a parent so you are free to skip over this article if that offends you.
In reading many parent’s complaints I notice a strange pattern of: plenty of complaining but not much interest in the “why and how” of their kid’s bad behaviors. And what is even more disturbing is the glaring lack of information by the “experts” who respond to these hurting parents about the “why & how” of their child’s bad behavior. Everyone focuses on discipline, consequences, punishment, grounding, house-arrests, change the locks and keys, board up the windows, alarms, snooping, spying, patrolling, therapy, spanking, beating, scolding, shaming, humiliating and on and on to somehow CONTROL this out of control kid and magically stop their bad behavior!
Rarely is it ever mentioned just exactly how a sweet little painfully honest, trusting, lovable, toddler mysteriously turns into a lying, stealing, disrespectful & sneaky teenager over night! LOL, one day you have this perfect little kid and then WHAM, the next day = a horrible teenager! Other than some genetic flaw, exactly how does that happen? Why didn’t you ever notice how the kid was changing from an honest, lovable child to a disgusting & dangerous teen? Do you even care or is this only about getting you kid back under your CONTROL again?
As I said, I am not a parent (If this upsets you, stop reading and stick your heads back into the sands of DENIAL!) but I was a child and now I know exactly how and why I became such a bad teenager who stole, lied, rebelled and had my parents and others in a spin for a few years.
LYING: Do you remember your early childhood? Did you ever lie or were you a perfect child? If you were like many other kids, when did you start lying and why? What did you get from lying? Do you still tell lies? If yes, why?
I remember being a painfully honest and outspoken child. My shameless honesty got me into a lot of trouble and I was threatened, slapped, spanked, beaten, cursed, ridiculed, etc. for being so honest and truthful! It took me a while (maybe I had some genetic issues?) but I began to notice that my cousins and school friends got off by LYING, even when it was glaringly obvious that they were lying to their parents, teachers, cops and everyone. At first I was sickened by their obvious lying but noticed that while my honesty got me punished, their lies got them off and often REWARDED with trips to the playground, movies or an ice cream place while I sat grounded in my room often with a sore butt or red face from slaps and spanks!
I finally got it that the only way to avoid painful, humiliating punishment is to start lying like the other, WISER, kids. Lying was safer, easier and fun just to put something over on an adult or other kid whereas speaking the truth was DANGEROUS! After a while, lying became the only way to go and I got pretty good at putting on my innocent little angel face and saying “Ahhdonnow” when asked “Who broke that?” by my parents, teachers or anyone. I wanted to tell the truth and believed in the truth BUT circumstances, starting with my parents savage reactions, encouraged me to turn from truth to lies just to be safe and have some power and control like my lying cousins and other kids. I assume the adults wanted us to be honest but their behaviors merely encouraged us to lie our heads off rather than endure punishment and disgrace.
The other thing I noticed very early on was that my parents and many other adults, including the police, PREFER LIES! They don’t come right out and say it but their reactions told me loud and clear “Please do not speak the truth!”
Are you like this? Do you prefer to hear a lie rather than the truth? I bet you do!
It was made quite clear to me that I should never tell my mother’s favorite Aunt that I “don’t like it” when asked “Jim, why aren’t you eating such and such?” that she had cooked! My mother threatened me with a good beating by our dad if I ever did that again and then gave me a “talk” about how to handle such questions - BY SHADING THE TRUTH! (white lies)
I have also noticed that many if not most authority figures would much rather hear a lie than the truth because the truth forces them to make a move, take a stand, invent punishments, question their own parenting (Where did we go wrong?) or squirm with discomfort BUT a Lie gets them off the hook and they can just walk away shaking their heads and go back to the T.V. or some other relaxing thing - but not be forced to take action. I saw this millions of times as a child and even more as an adult. Parents and other authorities (secretly) prefer to be lied to so they do not have to be bothered and upset or stressed by THE AWFUL TRUTH! It’s called Denial or Delusion and most of us use it most of the time to deal with unhappy things like a misbehaving teenagers!
So between learning and being taught that lying is safer and that my parents actually preferred Lies, I became skilled at lying and pulling the wool over peoples eyes. Of course I didn’t know that my parents usually knew the truth but accepted my Lies as a more pleasant alternative to having to deal with the situation UNLESS they really had to. It was a secret, mutual and comfortable system that they, not I, invented and put into place = Lie to us and you will be safe - tell the truth and you will GET HURT! Pretty simple and I got right into the swing of it - just like they (secretly) wanted! It’s a system that still works and I will usually lie to any authority figure to be safe from punishment while knowing full well that the authority prefers the lie so they can relax and go right back to their comforts.
I hope you can relate to some of this and understand why your child lies to you when they might prefer being honest and possibly why it all got started in the first place from your parental role modeling, behaviors, reactions and secret preferences which can produce a very bad and dangerous teenager if you fail to correct the system YOU created in the first place! Actually it’s a system that has been handed down for many thousands of generations so we are all victims of it until we decide not to be and get honest.
My parents never saw any need to change their behaviors which would have changed ours for the better, so my brother & I just got worse and worse while fitting very nicely into the (rotten) system our parents and others had inherited and then set up for us. My parents could have regained my trust and honesty at any time along the way by admitting that they, not I, were the underlying cause of my lying, sneaking, stealing, etc. and then offered me some evidence that they would be willing to hear the truth from me WITHOUT their typical punitive retaliations and/or sheer indifference. I could have quickly and easily become an honest and trustworthy teenager if only my parents had made it possible - but they didn’t and, like many of you, preferred their tried and true methods of control and consequences which only drove me further away and deeper into “bad” behavior! They, like many of you, focused on revenge and retaliation and never could or would acknowledge that they, not us kids, were the problem and original cause it all! One could say genetics and nature played a part but my memories are enough to convince me that my parent’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors were the foundation of most if not all of my behavior up to the time when I finally had to get help to recover from the horrible parental influences that had ruined my life from day one.
Many of you will be screaming that we had choices and made bad decisions which only shows how little you understand the long lasting impact of parental influences in our lives. This is not about blaming or shifting responsibility. It’s about understanding the “why & how” of a kid’s behavior so it can be dealt with more effectively than with punishment or denial.
Are you ready to admit the truth about this ancient, sick system and change your behavior to HELP your misbehaving child? I sincerely hope so…….