One day recently, Ava went to school wearing a super cute pink headband. When she got home, she wasn’t wearing it. I asked her where her headband was and she said, “I don’t want to tell you.” I knew immediately that she had broken it at school. (Thanks to my decision to be intentional and under-react, I managed to keep it together so we could discuss the issue.)
A year ago or so, I checked out Parking Lot Rules from the library. I read it cover to cover, but I didn’t really take away much. BUT, there was one thing that made it worth my time to read the whole book… “The truth reduces the punishment by 90%”.
When I read that, it really resonated with me as a brilliant way to encourage open and honest communication. Our kids are still young, so they don’t really lie much. Plus, I can totally tell when they are lying by the look on their faces.
So, flash forward to the broken headband incident. Ava went to hide in her room because she was feeling bad. I followed her in there and reminded her that she could talk to me and that the truth reduces the punishment by 90%. I also told her that it was entirely possible that she might not even get in trouble. So we worked it out. She told me that she broke her headband by stretching it out and I told her that that’s the reason I always tell her not to do that. I also told her that she needed to tell Lia sorry since they share the headbands.
And that was the end of it. She was over it and ran out to play. It would have been really easy to overreact in this situation and make her feel really bad about breaking the headband. But in the end, it’s just a headband. And I’m hoping that over time, this practice of encouraging our kids to tell the truth will help us cultivate a closer bond. And maybe, just maybe, when they’re teenagers, they will be able to come to us with anything.
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