You Can’t Hide, You Lying Child!



Yep, that’s my little guy.  Isn’t he cute?

And, yes, that’s permanent marker on his face.

Don’t you love the trouble two children can get into when you’re not looking for five minutes?  WHY can’t I just have five minutes of peace?  Is five minutes really too much to ask?  FIVE MINUTES!

The best part of the whole thing is that my six-year-old daughter, Bess, tried to convince me that her three-year-old brother, Harry, drew that on his face all on his own, with no assistance or prompting from her.


Harry can’t even hold a marker, much less draw on HIS OWN face a perfectly symmetrical Native American design.

Apparently, the child thinks I’m an idiot.

So, what do I do with that?  I mean, it’s not okay for her to lie to me.  I want her to feel comfortable telling me the truth, even when it’s difficult, so that when the time comes that it’s really difficult (like, you know, “Mom, I’m pregnant” or “Mom, my best friend is using heroin and she wants me to try some”) she knows I’m approachable and reasonable.  I will not beat her with a stick or send her to live with some distant great-aunt who will make her eat gruel and scrub the floors with a toothbrush.  We all make mistakes, me especially included, and it’s all good.

And really, it’s not even like it was a good, believable lie.  It is quite thoroughly obvious that if there were only two people in the house besides me, she was the only one of the two capable of that degree of fine motor control (not to mention diabolical thought).  What is the appropriate way to react to such a whopper?

I just said, “Bess, I don’t like being lied to,” and I walked away.  I didn’t yell or anything, and the only consequence was that Bess got her face washed with soap (not just water), which she hates.  I felt it only fair that if Harry had to endure multiple face scrubbings involving surfactants, that she should too, and her face could use some washing anyway so really it was more an excuse to impose good hygiene on her than it was a punishment.

I’m not sure if that is the appropriate response, or if it will only invite further untruths in the future.  Did she get away with it?  Did she feel guilt?  I’m at a loss.

Advice welcome, please post below.

  • Pea

    First things first. Yes. Unbelievably cute, especially with the green make up.

    Secondly. wow Moms, I think you handled it really well for all the reasons that you stated. They need to know that lying is not acceptable but also that you are always there for when they need to tell you a tough truth. When you walked off what was her face (expression) like? You can often tell if your arrow hit the right target by their reaction.
    But I thought you handled it well. I was often chastised just by knowing my mother was clearly displeased with something I had done, it was lesson enough. As long as your ‘I don’t like being lied to’ was cross and authoritative enough it should have done the trick. The face washing was added genius as she hates it.

    • Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! I’m not sure she felt too badly about my comment – she isn’t very tuned-in to other people’s body language, tone of voice, etc. And she lacks a certain, shall we say, self-consciousness that most people have. But I guess we’ll see.