Four Moms Q and A

 

Q. I have scoliosis. How do you manage baby-wearing if you have a bad back?

I have scoliosis, too. sat down or laid down with fussy babies more often than I walked them. I used a sling with the youngest two, and that helped. I used the rocker a lot. I sometimes just endured. Back-aches are a daily part of life for me anyway.

Q. What are some suggestions for teaching children about honesty?

Obviously, parents begin by being honest themselves- no answering the phone and telling work that your husband isn’t home when he is home. No telling a visitor you just love a gift, and then once they leave discussing how hideous it is.

Add all attempts at deception immediately and consistently, even if the child immediately tries to take back the dishonest words. Dishonesty is a pernicious habit and you aren’t doing a child any favors by being inconsistent.

Point out examples of commendable honesty and reprehensible dishonesty in the stories that you read.

Charlotte Mason suggests taking children on walks in the country and having them take a good look at some part of the scenery and then describe it back. This not only teaches children attentiveness and some observation skills, it is useful for the mother who is:

training her children in truthful habits, by making them careful to see the fact and to state it exactly, without omission or exaggeration. The child who describes, ‘A tall tree, going up into a point, with rather roundish leaves; not a pleasant tree for shade, because the branches all go up,’ deserves to learn the name of the tree, and anything her mother has to tell her about it. But the little bungler, who fails to make it clear whether he is describing an elm or a beech, should get no encouragement; not a foot should his mother move to see his tree, no coaxing should draw her into talk about it, until, in despair, he goes off, and comes back with some more certain note––rough or smooth bark, rough or smooth leaves,––then the mother considers, pronounces, and, full of glee, he carries her off to see for himself.

More here.

She also says:

It is unnecessary to say a word of the duty of Truthfulness; but the training of the child in the habit of strict veracity is another matter, and one which requires delicate care and scrupulosity on the part of the mother.

Three Causes of Lying––All Vicious.––The vice of lying causes: carelessness in ascertaining the truth, carelessness in stating the truth, and a deliberate intention to deceive. That all three are vicious, is evident from the fact that a man’s character may be ruined by what is no more than a careless mis-statement on the part of another; the speaker repeats a damaging remark without taking
the trouble to sift it; or he repeats what he has heard or seen with so little care to deliver the truth that his statement becomes no better than a lie.

Only One Kind visited on Children.––Now, of the three kinds of lying, it is only, as a matter of fact, the third which is severely visited upon the child; the first and the second he is allowed in. He tells you he has seen ‘lots’ of spotted dogs in the town––he has really seen two; that ‘all the boys’ are collecting crests––he knows of three who are doing so; that ‘everybody’ says Jones is a ‘sneak’––the fact is he has heard Brown say so. These departures from strict veracity are on matters of such slight importance that the mother is apt to let them pass as the ‘children’s chatter’; but, indeed, ever such lapse is damaging to the child’s sense of truth––a blade which easily loses its keenness of edge.

Accuracy of Statement.––The mother who trains her child to strict accuracy of statement about things small and great fortifies him against temptations to the grosser forms of lying; he will not readily colour a tale to his own advantage, suppress facts, equivocate, when the statement of the simple fact has become a binding habit, and when he has not been allowed to form the contrary vicious habit of playing fast and loose with words.

Exaggeration and Ludicrous Embellishments.––Two forms of prevarication, very tempting to the child, will require great vigilance on the mother’s part––that of exaggeration and that of clothing a story with ludicrous embellishments. However funny a circumstance may be as described by the child, the ruthless mother must strip the tale of everything over and above the naked truth: for, indeed, a reputation for facetiousness is dearly purchased by the loss of that dignity of character, in child or man, which accompanies the habit of strict veracity; it is possible, happily, to be humorous, without any sacrifice of truth.

I would add that one reason I believe children begin to lie is simply the realization or discovery that they can. Up until a certain developmental stage, they thought that anything they can see or know is something you also see and know. Then one day they realize that this is not so- you don’t actually know everything they do. Just as a child wearing a sweater with a hole in it will pick at that hole, making it wider, the child who has just discovered this remarkable hole in his universe will pick at it. Or think of it as a super power- he’s learned he can know things you don’t know. This is exciting and maybe a bit scary, and sometimes lying is just a child experimenting with this newfound superpower.

This is no excuse, as dishonesty, as Miss points out, is a vicious habit and can ruin reputations and cause serious harm. It’s also unfortunately easy for a child to develop this habit if the parents are not quick to aid their children in keeping the sharp edge on that blade of truth. However, it does help to keep things in perspective so you aren’t crying yourself to sleep at night worrying that your child is growing up to be a psychopathic con-artist because at 4 he has suddenly taken to lying about everything under the sun.

Another training tool that is sometimes hard to remember is not to accidentally give your child a chance to lie. We usually do this by asking questions to which we already know the answer- “Who colored on this wall?” for example, particularly when the crayon is still in the culprit’s fingers. It’s better to say, “Junior, since you colored on the wall, you will clean it up and I am taking the crayons.

Q. What’s the Q and A schedule?

We usually do these on the fourth Thursday of the month.

 

What Question would you like to see answered?

Visit the other Four Moms and see what they have to say!

 

smockityfrocks.com Connie at Smockity Frocks, married 25 years, mom to 8. We were blog buddies for a year or two before we realized that we had very dear mutual friends in real life. How cool is that?!

Life in a Shoe

Kim at Life in a Shoe, homeschool grad, mama to a family of 13

 

 

raising olives button Raising Olives, married 15 years, mama to 11, homeschooling graduate herself-
Me, DeputyHeadmistress and former Zookeeper (I gave up keeping a zoo when coyotes and coons killed our chickens) of this blog, The Common Room and our cooking blog, The Common Kitchen; married 30 years, mom to seven plus unofficial foster mom to two little boys, Mama-in-Law to two, and Grandmama to four blessings under 3, with number 5 on the way, and yes we are very proud.=)

 

We four moms also wrote a book together, and you can buy the Four Moms parenting book, which you can get as a Kindle or as an e-book document:

Here’s where to get more information on how to buy our parenting ebook or become an affiliate, which is another way of making some extra income.

 

See my other Kindle books, too:

101 Answers to the Summertime, “Mom, I’m Bored” Blues; help your kids use their free time creatively and productively. Give them ideas that will help them use their time and energy to create, to learn, to grow- to contribute. This is not your average ‘keep the kids out of your hair’ book.

Required Poems for Reading and Memorizing (annotated); Charming collection of older poems that you and the kids just might love.

Ten Low-Carb Snacks and Quick Meals Okay, actually, there’s a little more than ten, and they aren’t merely low-carb, they are also sugar-free, grain-free, gluten free. NOT dairy-free.

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5 Comments

  1. AC
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    “We usually do this by asking questions to which we already know the answer- “Who colored on this wall?” for example, particularly when the crayon is still in the culprit’s fingers. It’s better to say, “Junior, since you colored on the wall, you will clean it up and I am taking the crayons.”

    I’m totally NOT being snarky here. Did you mean to say, “We usually do this by [NOT] asking questions to which we already know the answer”? I read the paragraph four or five times and can’t figure out which is the WRONG way to go about this (in your opinion). I am truly interested to hear what you have to say. Reason being, I have one who is not opposed to lying when the occasion suits, and I have occasionally purposefully asked a question I knew the answer to in order to catch said child in a lie. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      I see where I wasn’t clear.
      I don’t think it’s a good idea to trick our kids into lying, to give them the chance to lie when we know the answer to the question (especially younger children- when we get to, say, 12 give or take a couple years, it’s a different issue).
      What I meant by ‘we usually do this’ was to give an example of ways we accidentally entrap children.

      The *reason* why I don’t think this is a good idea is because lying really is addictive and far to easy a habit to develop, so I think it’s best not to put them in situations where they are tempted to do the easy thing and lie.

      I’m not saying I was really good at remembering this- it’s just what I think is ideal. Does that help?

      • AC
        Posted November 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes, thank you! That’s very helpful.

  2. Vi
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a question for you for the next 4 mom’s Q&A. How exactly does it work that some books are banned to certain children, logistically wise? I mean, do your minor kids have to ask you before starting any book? (i.e They pull it off the shelf at home and have to ask you before starting?) Are books that not everyone is allowed to read kept on a special shelf or something? (BTW, I’m not criticizing banning certain books to certain children until they are mature enough or anything and actually think it’s a pretty wise decision, but am just curious as to how it actually works in everyday life.)

    Thanks!

    (And yes I did leave a comment asking this previously, but am still curious to know the answer :) )

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for asking again! I knew there was a question I’d been asked recently that I wanted to answer, but I forgot to save it and couldn’t find it when I went looking. I’ll copy this to a saved draft now.=)

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  1. By 7 Quick Takes Friday « Suitable For Mixed Company on November 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    [...] This post at The Common Room has what was to me a surprising way of teaching children honesty. After a bit of thought, it made [...]

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