Posted on | February 9, 2012 | 11 Comments
For a while now, when I ask J about his day at school, he tells me what toys he played with and which friends were there. And then he says “I hit Emma. I knocked Emma over. I got time out” or some variance involving hitting other children or pulling their hair. Finally, I asked his teachers if this was causing a problem. I swallowed my pride and asked her if my son was a bully.
She looked at me, rather confused, and informed me that my son almost never hits and when he does, it’s in response to someone who hits him.
“The only problem we have with J,” she told me with a smile, “is that… well… he argues with us all the time.”
::cue sheepish grin:: I have no idea where he gets that from.
But back to the point… my son has entered the age of “storytelling.” I hesitate to call it straight up lying because he’s two… but you know what I mean.
Case in point: This morning we snuggled together on the sofa and watched Little Einsteins before school. The morning was completely without incident; we had cereal bars and juice/coffee, and snuggled and then we were out the door. On the way to school, he was very quiet. Finally, as we pulled into the daycare parking lot, I asked him what was wrong.
“I sad.” He said, not looking at me.
“What made you sad?” (All questions must be formed into “what” questions and not “why” questions because he doesn’t quite understand “why” just yet.)
“What did mommy do that made you sad?”
“You put me in time out this morning and I cried.”
Nope. Sorry. None of that happened. There were no tears. There was no time out. There was nothing sad in our morning. It’s kind of funny…
And kind of not.
Because ultimately, it lead me to think about bigger and scarier things… how do you teach your kid how to tell the truth? How do you encourage his creativity in making stories and exploring imagination while still instilling an understanding of “this is what really happened?” It’s no big deal if he tells his teacher that mommy put him in time out, even if it’s not true. But what happens when he decides to tell someone that mommy hits him? Or that daddy hurts him? Or that anyone does anything that they shouldn’t and didn’t do?
He’s only two. He’s creative and I love that. And I want to raise a son who tells stories in all the best ways.
But I also want to raise a son who knows the truth and stands by it. And at two, I’m not sure how to start that conversation.