“My Kid Would Never Lie”

Yes, they would, and probably did. I could probably stop the post right there and hope that people would read the first line and say, “Dave, you’re absolutely correct. My unrelenting love for my child has blinded me to the fact that everyone fibs, especially kids.”

But, I can’t stop (won’t stop, icky icky), because people won’t say that. They’ll think I’m not speaking to them, but I most definitely am.

As a principal, you would be surprised (only if you aren’t in the education field) of the amount of parents that will email me directly with a specific concern about a teacher. Okay, that might not be surprising, but what is surprising, is when I reply back asking the parent how the teacher responded to the issue/incident, and their response is, “I haven’t reached out to the teacher.”

Oh, your 6, 9, 11, 14, 17 year-old came home and said something negative about their teacher and you took it as the gospel truth? Did you ask any questions? Or, at least try to get to an understanding of why the teacher would do that?

Not to get too “back in my day”, but back in my day, if I went home and told my parents that a teacher was sabotaging my schooling, my dad would have flipped the conversation in 30 seconds. It would turn into an interrogation with me answering questions about why my grades weren’t better, how lazy I was, and the quality, or lack thereof, of my friends. Walking out, my takeaway (other than I need to pick friends who don’t shave half their head), would be, “I’m never complaining about my teachers again.”

In one generation, to see that paradigm shift, where credence is given to every word spoken at home, is pretty crazy.

Everyone lies. Kids lie, parents lie, grandmas lie, educators lie, movies lie, songs lie, writers lie, and if dogs could talk, they would lie too. My three boys are pretty fantastic (brag), and each of one them has lied to my face multiple times. As a three-year old, my eldest son snuck chocolate chips from the pantry. When we approached him about it, it took several minutes of hard core questioning to get him to admit to his deviant behavior. He lied. A three-year old, with chocolate smears around his mouth, told us that he was not stealing chocolate chips!

What Should you Do When your Child Shares School Concerns

  1. Ask questions.
    • Kids can’t keep a story straight. If you ask enough questions, something they say will contradict something else that they said.
    • Ask the question, “What would your teacher say if I asked her?”
    • Before you even start asking questions say, “I am not going to ask you questions that I don’t already know the answer to.”
  2. Reach out to the teacher.
    • Teachers hate it when you circumvent the chain and reach out directly to an adminstrator.
    • More often than not, the teacher is able to provide parents with a different perspective, which when attached to your child’s story, paints a clearer picture.
    • Sometimes the teacher might not even know that there is an issue. Bringing it to their attention allows the teacher to repair the relationship, if needed, with your child.
    • It’s one less email that I have to respond to, giving me more time to write mediocre blog posts.

Other than being little liars, kids are very smart. If you believe everything that they say, they’ll internalize it and use it as they get older to manipulate you in situations where the stakes are much higher than not having enough chocolate chips to make chocolate chip banana bread.

Take the time to ask your kid questions and reach out to their teacher before jumping to conclusions…trust me.

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