My 6-Year Daughter Made Me Stop Lying

And A Child Shall Lead Them

Previously published on February 27, 2014

daughterShe was only six or seven years old but this was the most gut-wrenching experience with her.

It was also a most life-enhancing one for me.

Money was tight with us. We were still renting and although both of us were working, our responsibilities extended beyond our household. My baby girl was in prep school at the time and that was a fee we also had to cover. Her birth father was to help with that but as with many other things he was to help us with, it fell by the wayside.

Stretched to the fray, when she told us about the all-day fair and concert at school, we knew the budget would have to be adjusted. Thinking that a 6/7-year-old could eat and ride so much, we gave Princess Chulumba (our nickname for her), Jamaican $500. That would have been about US$12 or so when this happened (1993/94).

Teaching My Daughter Money Management

We were trying to teach my daughter about budgetting and accountability, even at that age. Actually, it was more my partner who had taken on the challenge and every evening as we were driving home from work and school, she would have to say how she spent her lunch money.

That evening was no different. As we drove home, Princess Chulumba recounted the excitement of the fair, all that she ate and the rides she went on. Little did this sweet, tired but deliciously happy child realize that her expenditure was being tallied.

Bookkeeping For Kids
Bookkeeping For Kids

She had spent well over J$500 and a recount was definitely in order!

The following day was a Saturday so we were home and the Princess was at her desk with pencil and paper explaining her previous day’s expenditure. What followed was nothing short of high drama!

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It took all day, adding and subtracting, then finally the confession that floored and changed how I related to my daughter on money matters and truth-telling in general came.

I never lied to my baby girl but I was careful about some of the details – either because she did not need to know yet or for effect. Well, when she finally confessed that day it caused me to reconsider my truth-telling with her.

My daughter confessed that she had stolen money from my “mother-in-law’s” purse. Another J$500.

The Lie: “We Are Poor”

That was how she paid for all those rides and food not just for herself but for her friends as well. She thought what we had given her would not have been enough. My six-year-old said that she did not want to ask for more because “We are poor.”

Shocked, flipping mad and yet brokenhearted, I cried and cried.

The Confession
The Confession

The next day, we drove her to my in-laws and had her confess to them what she had done and made a promise to pay the money back through chores.

Over the six years of her life, I made no bones about our financial situation and that we could not spend on unnecessary items simply because my daughter wanted or liked them. I was also open with her about aspects of my relationship with her father, not all and certainly not the domestic violence.

What that experience taught me was how to exercise “wise counsel,” meaning be sure to know my audience and how much to disclose to them based on their capacity to understand. Filter became important. I did not begin to lie to her but became more discerning about what she was ready to handle.

Speak The Truth And Speak It Ever…

A firm believer in honesty and straight talk, I have learned that not everyone is ready to handle your truth. My favourite example of this is when you pass say a coworker in the hallway and they ask,Β “How are you?” Do they really want to know? Or is it just a common courtesy?

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Now, if you ask me a question about myself I will gauge my response based on:

  1. The nature of our relationship and whether I feel you are just asking for the gossip
  2. How well you have handled my truth in the past
  3. How ready you are for a straight answer
Being Always Truthful Is Being Courageous
Being Always Truthful Is Being Courageous

For sure you will get a truth-filled answer from me but, depending on who you are in relation to me and my life, some details might be filtered. However, you will see my truth if you are really looking and listening to me.

“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” James E. Faust

Re-posted this story as we have explored the issue of teaching children boundaries. What I hope you have gathered from this is that while it is important for children to learn where the invisible lines are in the various relationships they will have, it is equally valid for them to hear the truth – in age-appropriate language. Another lesson from my daughter.

Ask yourself these questions in relation to your children but also in your general relationships:

  • How honest am I with my child/friends/family/co-workers?
  • Am I a practitioner of truth-telling?
  • Do I speak my truth first to myself?
  • Who in my life can handle my truth?

Would love to hear your opinion and comments on this whole matter of speaking your truth to your children, family and when it really matters that you do so. Leave your comments below and let us “draw long bench” on this. Are you a part of our Facebook community yet? Hop over, Like the page and join in the conversation!



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17 thoughts on “My 6-Year Daughter Made Me Stop Lying

  1. […] in day out. My daughter was actually the one who led me to changing this. You can read about that here. Not having the money to buy the things that you need and/or want can be one of the major life […]

  2. It’s never too early for kids to start managing money. The earlier, the better! ^_^

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are absolutely right! Thanks for dropping by! πŸ™‚

  3. I agree that sometimes when people ask that they’re not REALLY asking that. It’s just a courtesy question. But with your daughter’s situation, it sounds like you used it well for a lesson.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I think we did as there was nevr a repeat of the situation and she never sported “Orange!” Thanks for passing by! πŸ™‚

  4. I love how you handled the situation. She did something wrong and you made her confess to your inlaws what she had done and she paid the money back through chores. It’s was a hard way, but what is important is she learned her lesson.

    1. Ms Claudette

      And learn it she did! Thank you for your kind words. I really believe that in every situation the first step to healing/correcting is acknowledge the “problem,” and accepting your role in it being one. This was that lessons in acknowledgment/acceptance and taking ownership for her. Namaste. πŸ™‚

  5. Elizabeth O.

    I couldn’t have done it better. That realization was a great turning point for your family and I’m glad you were able to let her make amends.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you Elizabeth! And thanks for visiting again. Namaste πŸ™‚

  6. I love how honest you are in this article. You handled this very well. Kudos Mom πŸ™‚

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you very much for your kind comment! πŸ™‚

  7. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    Well, it sure sounds like she learned a great lesson that way. The hard way, but a good lesson none the less.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Indeed it was! Thanks for your comment. πŸ™‚

  8. It’s so true how we’re always learning from our children .I it sounds like your daughter learned a valuable lesson too .

    1. Ms Claudette

      Seems she did and yes, I am always learning from her! Thanks Shann for visiting again. Namaste πŸ™‚

  9. I think it’s a great thing that your daughter had to fess up to the grandparents and to have consequences (chores) for her behavior. I’ve tried to always be honest with my kids and to make sure I always shared age-appropriate information with them. I think the way you handled the situation was awesome.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you! I think what is more awesome is that she learned her lesson, along with me learning mine. Too many times we laugh at such behaviour as “oh, it’s just a kid thing,’ but if we don’t tell them, “no, that is not correct,” they will think it’s okay to keep doing it. I had no intention of being an episode of “Orange is the New Black!” πŸ™‚ Thank you for your comment Alli πŸ™‚

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