Lately at Benji’s school, something’s been happening that I’m not sure what to do about. I don’t want to get into too many specifics, but the short story is that this mom has repeatedly told her kid something untrue in front of other kids, including mine, in order to keep her kid from doing something.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that she told her kid not to yell in the hallways because it would make other people go deaf. She’s doing this to curtail an unwanted behavior her kid engages in (one that I actually think it’s that bad in the first place), but it seems manipulative and, besides, it’s simply not true. I avoid lying as much as I can, although I’m as guilty of lying to my kid as any parent. But I’m not going to lie when a perfectly good truth exists and would work just as well.
Since then, Benji has started asking about this. In my example, Benji has started asking if yelling hurts people’s ears. My response (keeping with this hypothetical example) would be to tell Benji separately that no, yelling won’t make people go deaf, but it’s thoughtful to to use your inside voice when inside.
Today, Benji directly asked that mom about yelling. She reiterated to Benji the same untruth she has told her kid. Shortly thereafter, in a related activity, I told Benji that what the other mom had said wasn’t actually true. The other mom apparently heard me (this is where I made at least one error) because when I went to sit in the voyeur-mom room, she confronted me and told me that while I could teach my kid whatever I wanted, would I please refrain from loudly saying she’d lied. I simply apologized and said nothing further, and that was it.
But what’s bugging me is a couple things:
- Isn’t she doing the exact same thing she just accused me of? She’s telling this lie in front of my son and other kids, and they’re listening and believing it. Should I confront her and ask her to keep her lies to herself, and refrain from telling them where other kids can hear?
- I shouldn’t have said that to Benji right then, even though it was timely, and I guess although I thought I wasn’t being loud, that mom heard me anyway. But what can I do so my kid doesn’t buy this load of tripe she’s peddling?