When Friends Lie
My first grade daughter has a friend who has been everywhere, done everything, and owns every toy that was ever made. The stories this child tells are incredibly outlandish, and thankfully, my daughter has come to understand that they are often not quite true...or true at all.
But she has also encountered friends who lie from time to time making it difficult for her to know who to believe if anyone.
We are in the midst of preparing to sail on the new Disney Cruise Line ship, the Dream, which boasts a first of its kind over the water slide called the AquaDuck. Emma is a mixed bag of excitement and concern when it comes to this water slide and has been talking about it often in the last few weeks. She apparently told her friend R about it last week at school. His two cents?
"I've been on the AquaDuck and you're going to be really scared. It even goes upside-down."
The catch to this little anecdote, of course, is that no one has been on the AquaDuck because the ship has yet to even be christened. Emma was unsure how to respond to him, not wanting to catch him in a lie, but not wanting him to intimidate her with this tale of terror.
As parents, what can we teach our children to help them deal with friends who sometimes embellish the truth or simply outright lie?
In our home we've started by teaching how to take things with a grain of salt. Remember that friend who has been around the world and lives in a palace? Clearly she's a grand story-teller and as long as Emma knows that not all of what she says is to be believed, I have no problem with their friendship. She's a fun and caring friend and they won't be six forever. At some point she'll discover that telling the truth is just as fun as making up a story.
As for the kids who slip in the occasional lie, we've asked Emma to stop and think about why the child may have chosen a falsehood over the truth. Perhaps her friend R wasn't sure what to say. After all, it's not every day that your pal at school talks about a water slide that juts out over the ocean from the top of a cruise ship. He may have lied to feel more included or maybe just wanted to top Emma's story about her upcoming trip. We've helped Emma understand that the "Oh, I have that, too's" often appear when a child really means, I'd love to have that toy/experience as well.
Above all else, we've pointed out to our little creative thinker how she feels when she realizes a friend has lied to her so that she might think twice before telling a grand story of her own.
What have you done to help your child navigate this complicated area of friendship?