In our household truthfulness has always been a tightrope. The kids know that no matter what they do if they are truthful about it, they might still get in trouble but if they lie, we always find out & then they are in double trouble. This should be straight forward, but it’s not always so.
Our eldest son has autism and as such is very literal. Don’t tell lies means don’t tell lies and there is no wriggle room on that very clear rule. This has resulted in some embarrassing, amusing and plain “Please let the ground open up and swallow me right here” moments.
First, there was the time I was clothes shopping with J in tow. A lady came out of the changing rooms and asked her friend how she looked. Unfortunately, J piped up & said While you were in the changing room your friend said it didn’t matter how many of those dresses you tried – you’d still look awful”. Cue embarrassing exit from the store with a son in tow asking “What? I was just telling the truth. ”
Then there were the times he was playing hide & seek with his siblings and would shout out “I’m hiding over here” – We still tease him that a career in special forces might never be his forte!
Finally, there was the time our neighbour had asked us over for a bbq. Most of the neighbourhood was going, including a family who had previously been very rude about J. Apparently they felt that autism had become a trendy diagnosis for parents who couldn’t control their kids and we were using it as an excuse to let one of our sons get away with things.
My husband & I had been talking about this and decided that we would feel uncomfortable being at the same event as family X and it would be better to make up an excuse, so we didn’t make the hosts uncomfortable. We should have done it out of ear shot….
The next day we were talking to the hosts, and family X came over just as we were explaining we already had plans. This was when a very eloquent 14-year-old voice piped up and said “But last night you said that family X were ignorant idiots who didn’t know what they were talking about and that their kids were precocious little brats. You said you’d rather have ten autistic children than just one of their hideous off spring and that you’d have to lie and say we had plans, so it wasn’t uncomfortable.”…………
Strange though it sounds the movie Liar Liar was a great lesson for J. We have watched it several times as a family – it is silly humour at its best – and he actually, after 16 years, started to get the point that sometimes a little lie can be ok if you are trying not to hurt someone’s feelings. Now we just have to get the point across that no, it’s not alright to lie about throwing your new tee-shirts away (because the brand had changed the cotton & it didn’t feel right – returning them to the store wasn’t on his radar!) in case it hurts mums feelings!
Netflix has a vast range of programming for all age groups. If you would like to watch something to kick start a discussion about lies, truth & honesty you could try some of these great picks:
For the Little kids:
- Super Why!: S1, E15: Humpty Dumpty and Other Fairytale Adventures: Pinocchio
- Curious George: S1, E19: Truth about George Burger
- Clifford the Big Red Dog: S1, E26: The Kibble Crook
- The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: S1, E9: The Pothole / Chuck’s Perfect Plans
For your big kids:
- Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action!
- H2O: Just Add Water
- Mean Girls
- iCarly: S1, E12: iPromise not to Tell
And for teens and parents:
- Just Go With It
- Liar, Liar
- Pretty Little Liars