I had this conversation with my three year old yesterday afternoon. A good lesson in how to set up a good hustle.
“Have you had a bath?”
“Are you sure?”
“I’ll ask mummy y’know.”
(covering her mouth and whispering) “Will you ask mummy?”
“Yes. Then we’ll find out if you’re lying. Do you know about lying?”
So I start telling her about lying. I use examples to provide consequential outcomes. She seems to get it.
“Let’s say I break your lego castle while you’re at big school. Then, when you come home, you will say ‘Who broke my castle?’. How would you feel then?”
“Sad. And cross.”
“What happens next if I lie and say it was mummy who broke the castle?”
“I would laugh.”
“You would laugh.”
“Yup.” (big show of pretend laughing)
“Because it’s funny.”
“But then we’re all cross! Because of the lie I told you would then get cross with mummy. Then mummy gets cross with me.”
“And then mummy is cross then you are cross then you make me cross.”
“And how would we all feel if I had just told the truth in the first place.”
“Happy. And I would say ‘don’t worry daddy. We can fix it together.’”
(One hour later. In walks mummy. To much delight a question is asked.)
“Mummy we have something to ask you. Have I had a bath today?”
The look she shot me when she’d seen I had realised she’d been telling the truth all along was the only lesson I learned worth remembering that day. Adults don’t know anything.