I recently had an experience that may resonate with parents everywhere. I was lying in bed. It was about 7am and my blimming inconsiderate children got into a debacle. I heard from my bed my daughter scream a pained scream. I rushed in to see what was happening.
Scene of the crime
I surveyed the scene. My son had their iPad to himself (guarding it from his sister) and my daughter was on the bed close by crying. I asked her what had happened and she claimed he had hit her in the face. He vehemently denied this. Just to give context I have seen him hit out before and I have seen her overreact to his actions before and I have known her to tell little fibs. So who to trust? Parenting is hard!
Real life links
This drew my mind to the recent accusations in the case with Jonny Depp and Amber Heard. With the allegations that Amber made we all assumed she was telling the truth and when new evidence came to light we all felt rather dreadful. So with that in the back of my mind I bludgeoned my way through the situation. I told both kids that one of them was lying and I wanted to know which one. I banned both kids from the tablet and told them there would be no beach until I got a confession. Justice would be served. I felt like Batman.
However I am not Batman. I’m a dad and I want to do a good job of raising kind and thoughtful young people. Being a young man I decided to put this to my peers. It isn’t the first time I had employed this tactic and it struck me, that at first you are definitely punishing a victim. Secondly any confession that you get may well be just to end the bad feeling. Having put it to social media that was the general feeling towards my approach. So here are some of the suggestions I got.
Don’t make it a big deal
You didn’t see it so you can’t really deal with it. However it does open up a potential discussion. Sit and have a chat with them about why hitting one another isn’t cool and why it is important not to lie. This seemed like a pretty straightforward approach and was suggested by someone who didn’t have kids.
Appealing to their conscience
Explain to them why honesty is so important and encourage them to talk to one another. Talk about how lying will affect how other people view you. You don’t have to get the confession just leave them with that nagging feeling of guilt.
Let them figure it out for themselves
If you didn’t see it then it’s on them to sort it. If you see it deal with it, if not encourage independence by letting them sort their own issues
Why these issues are important
You might think that issues like this aren’t a big deal but actually they set a precedent for a child. I literally had people say they became estranged from their parents because their parents didn’t believe them as a child. You also don’t want to show a child that being manipulative has a pay-off. For that reason it is important to handle the situation with great tact. I failed badly. But not as badly as some…
The best of the rest
Among the more comical suggestions were wearing a condom in the first place – hindsight is a wonderful thing. Using thumbscrews and beating them with a ruler. One poster even quipped I should force them to watch Jeremy Corbyn videos until they confessed. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I’m a staunch lefty.