My children… the two that are biologically claimable by me… hate that I have this innate ability to get the truth out of them. Oh, sure, they will tell you that I am not always right or that they have been able to lie to me, but just remember, that is from their perspective. From mine, it tends to be more the matter of whether or not I allow them to know that I know, or I feign ignorance to lull them into a false sense of security just to see how far they will go.
I have developed several tactics over the course of my parentage to them and I feel ok sharing this with you because they are both over 18 at this point and, well, they have gotten to the point where their need to lie to me is only outweighed by their realization that it is only detrimental to them in the long run, because, honestly, I’m going to find out anyway.
One of my tactics is something I learned from the most nefarious group of individuals to ever grace the planet. I am talking about none other than lawyers. Yes, that special breed of liar that goes to school to learn to lie even more and then gets tested on how well they lie, only to get paid to lie then lie about what they did so they can lie to you about what they are charging you. But… I digress.
What is that tactic?
Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer too!
Yep, pretty straight forward. Granted, I took it to another level with my children. I would ask them a question I knew the answer too, not to catch them in lying, but to learn how they responded to a question when they lied. Did they look around, did they fidget, did they play with their fingers. All those become important clues to learn as you raise your children. I believe in poker they call them tells. What a wonderful way of putting it, because when you learn them, your children’s tells will tell on them.
Another tactic that I employ is to:
Ask in a way that they have to tell the truth
Ok, this one might be a bit more on the manipulative side, but, hey, you’re a parent, so you need as much help as you can get. Right? But basically, with this one, you start with something like, “So, why would your teacher call me about you today?” Notice, and it’s very important in this part, I never lied to my children. No, their teacher didn’t call, but I never said they did. You can phrase any question you have for them in such a manner if you just put a little thought into it, and in the end, they will spill their beans about what they did and why they put paste in little Mary’s hair.
The last tactic I would employ was:
Mess with them. Hard!
That’s right. Mess with them. Keep them guessing. You’re a parent, you should have fun with this, it is your right as the person/s who brought this small being into existence. On top of that, you only really get 18 years to mess with them like this, might as well make the best of it. How I would do this is I would sit across the table from my children, look them in the eye then demand they give me their hands. Once I had them, I would hold their arms and put my fingers on their pulse, look them in the eye and ask them a question. Now, it’s important to already have gotten a good baseline read on when they are lying from the first tactic, and it also doesn’t hurt to utilize the second tactic here either. In the end, your kids will think you are some kind of human lie detector and will be afraid to even think about lying to you.
(yes, I got this from “Meet the Parents”, I do a pretty good DeNiro if I do say so myself, which I just did)
In the end, if you use these three tactics with your children, you will have them saying such great quotes as “No, I’m not holding your hands again.”, “You are just weird, why do you do this to me in front of my friends?”, “Seriously, you have never caught me in a lie.” or my favorite, “You’re an idiot.”
But, I know. And I know that they know that I know. And that they know that I know that they know that… ehhh.. how many was that?
Just remember, whatever tactic you use, raising kids is hard. Have a little fun with it.
Even if it is at their expense.