101: A review of the virtual TELL Gathering discussing dishonesty

The Show & T.E.L.L. Blog has been sharing how caregivers respond when a child lies. (Except the post this past Tuesday – our 100th post – where we asked for your constructive feedback. If you didn’t reply, please link here to read how you can help us improve our services.)

So far we have nine posts in this series. The posts have stirred mixed emotions in our readers. I have received messages complimenting the ideas being discussed, as well as few challenging comments. During the next two weeks, I will share those thoughts and feelings. If you wish to add your ideas to the discussion, please send them my way!

Here is a summary of the nine posts. To read them, you can link to the post by clicking on the text.

#1: When my child lies to me, how should I TELL her to be honest? started the series. In this post, I share a grandmother’s story about her 10 year old granddaughter telling white lies, “My granddaughter…recently started telling little white lies. For example, the other day right after taking a shower, I asked if she washed her hair. She said she did, but it was obvious that she didn’t.”

#2: Wanted: stories, questions, and comments on how to TELL when a child tells a lie.

#3: Create a T.E.L.L.ing memorable moment when a child lies is about how one subscriber remembers how her grandmother responded to her lie when she was 7 years old…”My grandmother was baking cookies for her church group… and they smelled so good! Without thinking, I went up and grabbed four or five of them to take to my room.

#4: How I tried to address my child’s lie is where one of our subscribers shares how she responded when she heard her 16-year-old daughter lying on the phone to a friend. “She asked, “Mom, what do I say when the truth is I’d rather be with [other friend’s name] than go to the movies with her? I can’t tell her that. That’s mean.”

#5: A teacher shares valuable insight about children and lying describes a conversation she had with her 12- 13-year-old students about lying.I said to my students something like, ‘I need your help. My neighbor’s son lied to his mom last night and I want to know why you think he would do that.‘”

#6: Seeing lies from a child’s eyes is a guest post by Caroline, where she shares a moment she experienced with her 4-year-old daughter. “I realized she hadn’t lied to me about what she did, because she didn’t have a clear understanding of what she was supposed to do in the first place. In her mind, I asked her to do something with her clothes, so she did the best she could.”

#7: A teenager’s perspective on what lying is and isn’t is where I share parts of a conversation I had with a 14-year-old boy about lying.Before I realized it was a lie, I remember it giving me a rush when I didn’t tell the whole truth and I got away with it. Once I knew I was lying, I didn’t feel that rush any more.

#8: Father-son interaction become lessons that last a lifetime is about a memory one of our subscribers had with his father when he was 6 years old.My dad saw it [a sheriff’s badge] and asked me where I got it. I said, ‘I found it.’ He said, ‘Show me where you found it.’ As we walked back toward the store, he looked down and saw the cardboard backing for the badge. He stopped, picked it up and put it up next to my badge. Perfect match!

#9: A subscriber’s 3-year-old son takes a child’s toy; what to do next? Brings into our discussion the uncertainty we all experience when interacting with a child in these situations. What to say; what not to say?I left thinking maybe I should have handled this differently. Should I bring up what happened yesterday? Did I miss an opportunity to t.e.l.l. him better about lying – taking his friend’s car without asking?”

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100: Our 100th Show & T.E.L.L. Post – What next?

This is the 100th Show & T.E.L.L. Blog! Thank you for being a part of the experience!


It’s a perfect moment to take a step back and ask our readers the question: How can we make the Show & T.E.L.L. Blog better for you? How can Tell Our Children serve you better?

We ask you these questions in an effort to keep improving the blog and growing as an organization. Here are some areas you might like to give us feedback on:

  • Blog topics – Are there topics (specific or general) you’d like covered in the coming months? What are the main issues you’re facing when interacting with the youth in your life? What would you like to learn more about teaching, encouraging, listening, and loving a child?
  • Types of posts TELL Gathering with reader questions/feedback, such as the current series on responding when a child lies (link here to read the first post in this series), short tips (How do you T.E.L.L. when your child says, “It’s not my fault”?), guest posts (My first aha! T.E.L.L. moment). Let us know about what you like most/least, or if there is a type of post you would like us to add. Would you like to be a guest on the Show & T.E.L.L. Blog?
  • Posting frequency – Too many posts, not enough, just right?
  • Blog features – What would make your reader experience better?
  • Community – Do you feel you connect well with other readers? Are there features that you’d like added to help connect more?
  • What frustrates you about the Show & T.E.L.L. Blog? What is best about it?
  • Website design – We are planning a redesign of the website, including the blog page – so your comments and ideas would be helpful at this point.
  • Services and tools – What else could Tell Our Children offer to help you improve your interactions with youth?
  • Other ideas and feedback – Anything goes!

Any feedback, suggestions, dreams or ideas that you have are welcome. While I can’t promise to respond to each comment or put every suggestion into place, I make a commitment to you to read anything you have to say.

All that I ask in return is that you be honestcourteous and constructive with your feedback. Tell Our Children, and particularly the Show & T.E.L.L. Blog, is a project I pour a lot of time and effort into – as a result, sometimes criticism can be a little difficult to hear. However, I think it’s vital to take it all on board if this is to continue to be a valuable resource for caregivers wanting to improve their interactions with children.

So it’s now up to you. Feel free to leave your feedback in the form below or to share them privately with me via my email: denise@tellourchildren.org.

Thank you!

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099: A subscriber’s 3-year-old son takes a child’s toy; what to do next?

Addressing a lying child is not enjoyable. While it is happening, it can be painful. We want children to learn about honesty, commitment, and other valuable traits that are weakened when they tell a lie. We address these moments the best we know how. We want to instruct the child to make a better choice, but sometimes we just are unsure what to do.

I wonder if you can relate to this mom’s story:

My son is about 3 ½ years old. We are in a playgroup with other children, and the other day after playgroup, I noticed he was playing with a new toy car. I asked him where he got the new car, he named a boy in the playgroup gave it to him.toy car

‘Are you sure?’ I asked.

‘Yes, he gave it to me for my birthday.’

‘But, honey it’s not your birthday.’ Which is when he started crying, and continued saying, ‘He gave it to me, I promise. He gave it to me for my birthday.’

I didn’t want to say to him, ‘You’re lying,’ so I told him I would call the boy’s mom and see if that is true. I added, ‘We don’t want your friend upset because you took his car.’ Which maybe I shouldn’t have said because those words caused my son to cry even louder, repeating the phrases, ‘I didn’t take his car, he gave it to me, promise, he gave it to me for my birthday,’ on and on.

Those of you who are around toddlers, I’m sure you can imagine this scenario: the child crying and believing one truth and you seeing a different truth. How do you interact in these situations? This subscriber did not feel she handled this the best way; she wants to know if any of you have a better way to handle this situation?

When we got home, my son genuinely believed this boy had given him the car, but when I called the boy’s mom that was not true. So I told my son, ‘You must have misunderstood the boy. He did not give you the car, and we will be giving the car back tomorrow.’ I added, ‘When we do return it, you are going to have to say you’re sorry for taking the car.’ I told him to give me the car for now.

We had a rough hour, hour and a half. I tried to get him to play with something else or watch a movie. I even asked if he wanted to read a book with me. He just sat on the sofa obviously upset. He was mad at me. Every once in a while, he said something about that was his car. His friend gave it to him for his birthday. It wasn’t until his sister came home from school that he could focus on something else.

But here’s the kicker, the next day we went over to the friend’s house to return the car. I asked him to say he was sorry for taking the car, which he said calmly, ‘Sorry, I took your car.’ There was no mention of a birthday gift. He wasn’t upset any more. It was like yesterday never happened!

I left thinking maybe I should have handled this differently. Should I bring up what happened yesterday? Did I miss an opportunity to t.e.l.l. him better about lying – taking his friend’s car without asking? I’m actually writing to hear what other toddler parents – or teachers of toddlers – can suggest!

Any suggestions? Send us a note in the section below. What would you have done differently? What can this mom do next time a similar situation happens?

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