This post is an effort to glean from my readers' thoughts, experiences, and tactics for dealing with some child-raising issues that have developed for us recently. 2 things have arisen recently with our daughter, which raise questions with me, as I find myself almost tongue-tied when responding to her, so great is my ignorance for dealing with these issues. I hope you will comment liberally!
Firstly, LYING. How do you teach a child to tell the truth? When do you gauge they are old enough to understand the difference between what they *want* the truth to be, and what really happened?
Here's the scenario: "Violet, go to the bathroom and wash your hands." she obeys. 2 minutes later, she comes out with an absent-minded look on her face. "Did you wash your hands?" I ask, feeling that they are still sticky with supper, and indeed, she has not. "Yes, I did." is her confident reply, while looking me straight in the eyes. Hmmm.....what is going on here? What should my response be? Is it even important yet, that I point out to her that there is a difference between the truth and an untruth? She certainly carries no deception in her. Guilt, she sometimes has, when she is caught in a wrong (playing with books and toys during naptime). I know how to read guilt in her. But in this, there is no guilt. I am not sure how to proceed. What do you think?
Secondly, there is consistency in obedience. As Violet grows older, I want her responsibilities to grow with her. With baby #2 on the way, I want to be able to say, "Violet, go bring me such-and-such." while I'm nursing, and have her do it. However, she gets easily distracted, especially when I send her on an errand in another room, where she is not under my watchful eye, conscious of my command echoing around her. I understand that this ability to retain a command and accomplish it without supervision comes with growth. However, I am seeing complications with just letting her mature in this without responding to her actions, in addition to another bad habit forming during this "growth period."
Here's the scenario: "Violet, go upstairs and get into your bed and wait for me." She trots towards the stairs obediently. On the way up, she pauses on the landing to reach for blankie. This reminds her of "paci" and she detours to my bedroom for paci. Once in my room, she sees "Mr. Putter & Tabby" on the floor, and decides to plop down for a read. When I get upstairs, she is nowhere near her bed, as I've asked her. I call her, and usually she responds with a guilty start, and hurries towards her bed, bottom first, hands splayed protectively. Obviously, she's had a rush of conscience (and memory), and realized she's disobeyed. It is difficult not to apply the stick of training to assuage the guilty conscience at that point, since she's realized that she has technically disobeyed. However, I'm reluctant to administer a spanking for "forgetting" or "getting distracted" with one so young. Yet, how DOES one help a growing child to retain a command for more than a few seconds? I dislike just letting it slide, for then I begin to notice the trend worsening, where she will not even run straight away to the stairs at my command, but while still in my presence, she will delay obeying while reaching for this toy, or finishing up with that puzzle, or something like. See my dilemma?
Tell me your thoughts on this, friends. I am eager to hear of your successes/failures/untried theories.