Thursday, September 10, 2015

Honesty and Parenting #1000Speak

I knew I hadn't blogged much lately but was quite aghast to realize that I have only put up 9 posts in 2015!! This blog has had quite a journey - from baby memories to recipes to gardening posts - and some travelogue type ones as well ;). 

Rachna had recently posted on Facebook about Honesty being a good sub-theme for the #1000Speak theme of Compassion this month, and I really connected with this topic. Bear with me if I ramble a bit.

Honesty, to me, is something that is imbibed or learnt from examples around us right from childhood. I don't believe it could be drilled into someone, it has to come from within and from life experiences. While I have always wanted to be completely honest with everyone, life in the real world sometimes messes up this characteristic. 

I had a lovely wake-up call when D was 2.5 years old and had just joined her first school at Siksha Montessori. When she was upset at my leaving her and heading back home, I remember the teacher telling me "If you tell her that you're right outside, then you have to wait there until she's done. If you want to go, just tell her and go, we'll take care of tears if any :)." This was just one of the many reasons why I loved that school and both D & S thrived there. As the kids grow older, there are (many!) times when I make a mistake such as forgetting to get something for school, I always apologize and tell them the real reason rather than claiming to have been busy or not have had time (You can always make time for what's important!). This is also teaching them to be persistent when they need something, so that's a good side-effect ;).

The other aspect - teaching the children to be honest. At the age of 4 or 5, most kids get into the habit of lying about stuff (experienced at home as well as heard from other moms I know) - the reasons could range from being scared to tell the truth, to just thinking that the version that they are telling you is more interesting than the mundane original :). This is also an age when they don't really understand the abstract significance of "honesty" or of "telling a lie". It initially used to press all my buttons and drive me crazy, but once I slowed down and understood the right way of doing it (explain and lead by example and not impose as a rule), I am hopefully on the path of my kids thinking they can tell me anything (I'll settle for at least 60-70% as they grow older, but hopefully it'll be the important stuff :)).

Do my kids think I am a perfect mom? I doubt it, though my 10 year old knows to diplomatically call me the "best mom ever" ;). Do they think I'm an honest mom? I hope so, and I wish that continues for life.

9 comments:

  1. I so hear you on the lying to say themselves or worried about reactions. Gy has that from time to time and I know my reaction is what triggers that behaviour. Acknowledging that has come a long way towards acceptance and letting go of the little triggers and looking at the bigger picture. Thankfully, Gy does that very well too :)

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    1. Yes our reaction has so much to do with it. I sometimes have to swallow my first frenzied reaction and at least act calm, to encourage D or S to tell me something :).

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  2. You're right Aparna - kids pick up much more from the way they watch you behave or react to dishonesty or any other situation for that matter. It's a hard concept to explain since there is no immediate or tangible consequence and it does seem to make life easy/more fun. Leading by example is the only way.

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    1. Fingers crossed that it'll slowly but surely have an impact Tulika. Thanks so much for dropping in :)

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  3. Aparna, I loved the post. I liked it when you said that honesty cannot be taught except perhaps by example. I know the real world does make you tweak your honesty but if we bring up right, their conscience will speak loudly before they do something wrong. I am a firm believer in that. Yes, it is easy to sometimes lie and white lies are even more tricky. But, it is best to speak the truth. Sometimes, it is surprising at how easy it is to say the truth than create lie after lie. Thank you for writing.

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    1. Thanks for the tag in the first place Rachna, I really enjoyed writing about it :)

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  4. I suppose the imbibing of the quality of honesty (much like anything else) starts at home. We set those examples and we can only hope they'll follow it too :)
    Having open conversations really help though. Good to see you writing again, Apster :)

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    1. Thanks for dropping in and commenting Sid. Yes, as parents we can always hope :).

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  5. Beautiful post Aparna. Yes, it's always a concern if kids have to lie. But I think that sometimes when it happens, if we do things right, they can learn to be truthful. We lead by example.

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