When your child lies to you, sometimes it’s best to play along

By Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune
My son’s school called me at work the other day to tell me he had a sore throat and a stomachache and needed to be picked up.
I rushed to get him and discerned, immediately, that he was faking.
“Can we go to Target?” he asked as I buckled him into his booster seat. “I think I just need a Popsicle.”
I swallowed my suspicions and told him we ought to head home since, you know, he wasn’t feeling well.
“Can we play football?” he asked when we got home, erasing any hope I had that this wasn’t a ruse.
“I think we better read on the couch, bud,” I told him. “Since you’re not feeling well.”
A couple of chapters later, when we were good and snuggled and the day’s defenses were falling away, I asked him if anything unusual had happened at school.
“No,” he said. And that was that.
Except it wasn’t. We read a little more. He had a snack. I remarked that he seemed to be perking up – maybe the stomachache and sore throat were subsiding?
And then he spilled it.
His stomach hurt because another first-grader punched him during recess. He didn’t want to tell a grown-up because he didn’t want the boy to get in trouble. But he also didn’t want to stay at school, so he told his teacher he was sick.
This is my fondest hope. Not that my kids will get punched in the stomach or lie to adults, but that they will turn to me with their problems. That they will, given some time and some space, decide I am the person they trust to guide them through whatever storms they’re enduring – even if they weren’t altogether forthcoming about the storms from the get-go. I especially hope for this when they’re older and the storms

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