Pants on Fire

Tonight I discovered a spot where my child had written on a table at church with a permanent marker. I had no doubt that it was hers because not only was it in her handwriting but she also signed her name. I was upset with her and went to speak with her. She said with complete confidence that it wasn’t her. She didn’t do it. Even when we were both looking at it, she held fast to her (false) statement. After an excruciatingly long staring contest that I refused to lose, she finally admitted to writing it a few weeks ago. She and I went to our youth pastor and our children’s pastor and told them about what she’d done and let them know that we’d be back to clean it up later. They were kind and gracious and after a few hugs, we left with a smile.

We told her that she would get two separate punishments – one for writing on the table and one for lying. The first one was easy to decide. We took away points. (Just like ‘real’ school, we have a behavior system that gives points for good behavior or helpfulness or acts of kindness or things like that. You can also lose points, if need be.) But the consequence for lying? I’m stuck. We considered taking away TV time, but they don’t watch that much TV. We considered losing her iPod, but the battery hasn’t been charged in a week anyway so that wouldn’t work. We considered making her do something like and extra chore or something, but she doesn’t seem to mind doing chores. Well, except for cleaning her room and (shockingly for once) their room is currently clean.

So we’re stuck. I want it to be something memorable, but not something too drastic. What are ways that you’ve dealt with this?

6 Responses to Pants on Fire
  1. Carla Pryor
    April 24, 2013 | 11:15 pm

    I would ask her what she thinks is the punishment she deserves. Sometimes, they come up with a punishment that is worse than one you may have given.

  2. Melissa Thrasher
    April 25, 2013 | 7:10 am

    For a first time lying oftense, I would make her write an essay on lying….. why it’s wrong, what God says about it, why she did it, etc. That way, if it ever happens again, you can show her the paper. You can say, “you said this in your paper”. Use her own words to correct her. I’ve done that with my eldest. “You clearly know that lying is wrong because you wrote in your paper that God hates lying and that it’s sinful and that you don’t ever want to be known as a liar. Do you still feel this way?” And then I’d move on to actual punishment…the second time it happens. I would also make her write in the essay that “lying isn’t tolerated in our home and the next time it happens my consequence will be….” So that way she already knows the outcome if she does it again.

    Does that make sense? I’m tired so it sounds like I’m rambling 🙂

  3. LeAnn
    April 25, 2013 | 7:21 am

    wow. This is a tough one. I like Carla’s suggestion of asking her what punishment she thinks is appropriate…

  4. Tanya
    April 25, 2013 | 11:35 am

    My daughter did this at 9 (the I took a bath when she really didn’t). We made her write a paragraph that said what she did and why it was wrong. She then had to read it in person to her grandparents. It worked. I heard her remark not to long ago (age 15 now) that it cured her from lying.

  5. CathyMartin
    April 25, 2013 | 9:14 pm

    I like the suggestion to write an essay about why she should not lie. I really don’t remember what I did when you did that:)

  6. jodi
    April 29, 2013 | 9:07 pm

    Although I don’t have an alternative, I would caution against having her write as punishment. I worry that she will equate writing as a negative/chore/punishment, which could lead to issues later on.

    Perhaps she could do something for others, maybe in your church or community? Since lying hurts more than just the person lied to, perhaps the lesson can come from having her make reparations by giving back.