How to resolve lying to your parents.

Lehshan asks: I’m feeling nervous right now. I’m lying to my mother all the time. I didn’t enroll in my summer class. What should I do?

Okay, let me be clear. I have a very long nose. So I’m not making fun of anyone’s nose when I say that the wonderful old story “Pinocchio” really had it together, with the idea that when you tell a lie it just grows bigger and bigger till it’s as clear as the nose on your face. Your job, if you’re dealing with having lied, is to somehow stop it, and resolve the problem, so you can move on from it.

See, dogs don’t lie. We don’t know how to. So we never can get caught in one. We get caught at other things – digging out of our yard, disobeying, stealing food off the counter when the humans aren’t looking (I have to admit, I generally hate making Handsome mad at me, but a couple of those nibbles were worth it!). But never lying. So telling the truth always looks easy to me, but I know it might be really scary and hard for you. But it’s also hard to not tell the truth, right? That’s why you’re so nervous. So between the two, it’s probably way better to tell.

Now it sounds to me like you’ve got two things to resolve. One is the summer class. Is it too late? Can you call the school or whoever’s teaching the class and ask about late enrolment? Maybe they’ll let you take it if you help out? You definitely want to check that out.

But the other thing is talking to your mother. Do you know if there are better or worse ways to tell her such a thing? Is she in a better mood at certain times of day? Are there things you could do to make her feel better about you (like… how clean’s your room right now?) before you tell her?

Now I don’t know your mother, and I can’t speak for all people. But most people are pretty accepting of things, when someone comes to them and admits the whole truth. Your mom might actually be very impressed with you if you tell her that you messed up, that you lied to her to cover it up, that you are sorry, and that you want to stop the lying. You see, in the long run, that’s probably a more important lesson for a kid than that summer class teaches! You’ll show her how mature you are, how you’ve thought about things, and how you care about her.

Or maybe she’ll just scream like an angry Cockatoo. I don’t know!

Either way, you’ll feel better about yourself. So I’d suggest, as long as you don’t actually think she’d do you any harm, that you find a way to tell her.

And then, next time? Just sign up for the class ontime!

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