Lies and ladybirds

As one dad famously found out last week, you can’t get away with
anything when your kids are about. After an impressive 10 years of
telling porkies that perhaps he almost began to believe himself,
disgraced and now former MP Chris Huhne had to fess up that he did in
fact break the speed limit and asked his then wife to take the points
to shirk a driving ban.
And why did he change his story on the day of the trial? Was it guilt
that he’d lied to his family, friends and constituents? Shame that the
mother-of-his children could face a jail sentence? Nope, it was
because his teenage son basically “told on him” and handed over text
messages that exposed the truth.
It is a lesson Mr Huhne should surely have learnt by the time his son
had reached 18.
Thankfully in my case the exposure of my little secrets and white lies
have had less catastrophic consequences, yet have left me red-faced
just the same. From the chocolate cake or extended TV viewing I gave
my daughters as a bribe as long as they didn’t tell daddy – which of
course then did as soon as he walked through the door, to slippages
about the quality of the cooking of certain family members, I have
found the truth will out. Recently whilst navigating the minefield
that is children’s birthday invites I was reminded it is pointless to
try to keep plans quiet as there is no way on earth a child is going
to keep stum about their party.
Saying that however, in the last few months my four-year-old has just
started to experiment with the trick of lying herself, which
apparently is a developmental stage. Thankfully though she is pretty
rubbish at it. “Right, who drew that stick man on the wall?!” “It
wasn’t me mummy it was a ladybird.” Hm. Even though she is now
learning that blaming her little sister is slightly more convincing
than pointing the finger at an insect I think she’s got a way to go
yet before she perfects the technique that will no doubt in years to
come convince me she has been doing homework with a friend when she
has in fact been drinking in the park with some disreputable young
I looked online for advice for what to do when you catch your child
lying. Apparently you should not make a big deal as it is natural for
them to want to avoid getting into trouble and instead focus on
solving the problem in hand eg. cleaning up the spilt juice.  Then
when they finally admit it, praise them for being honest, thereby
encouraging them to tell the truth in the future. As Chris Huhne sees
his political career and family life lying in tatters and faces a
possible prison sentence, I bet he wishes real life took a leaf out of
parenting books.



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a day without OJ - A comms, digital & PR blog by Ross Wigham

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