Secrets and Lies and Promises

I’m thinking of this today because my daughter, Ms. Mini-D, is in big trouble. She, with her best friend, managed to pull the wool over the eyes of both sets of parents. The friend’s mother is completely livid with me and my husband for believing her daughter. I would like to believe my daughter, but she’s been known to have secrets and tell lies. Let’s just say that the entire thing is based on some pretty well-known character traits of teenagers. Amazingly, they are much the same as when I was an adolescent. These items of contention include sex, drugs and rock and roll.

The friend’s mother has some written documentation as to the bad behavior of Ms. Mini-D. These are in the form of notes passed back and forth during school, and written in my daughter’s hand. The mother has informed me that she will give me the notes today. I told my daughter, whose reaction pretty much told me that the mom was right and not some kind of alcoholic-induced wacko like the two girls led us to believe last week. It ranged from “if I tell you what’s in the notes, will you shred them?” to “Mommy, you’re looking wonderful today, how’s your day going?” (A tip: the former revelation of honesty will work far better on me than the flattery of the latter.)

I’ve had the “secrets and lies” talk with her before. I would rather know the truth than have her tell me a lie. After all, I’ll find out about it eventually. In addition, I pride myself as being fairly liberal minded. I’ve invited her to share the minor details of her life, but have never forced the issue. She’s almost an adult, so I give her the benefit of the doubt. I know she thinks I’m stupid and/or judgmental. This is a phase that may pass as soon as she gives birth to a nine pound baby. Giving birth to a nine pound baby changed my outlook on my mother for the positive.

This morning before leaving for school, she reminded me that I promised I would shred the notes. (I did promise to shred them, but I didn’t say when.) I was fairly vague about my promise yesterday. Being a mother provides one with a lot of poetic license as to what the job entails, and that includes maternal promises. Besides that, I could always plead menopausal symptoms and temporary insanity. I know I didn’t promise not to give them to her father. He tends to look at his little girl like a “little girl” and not like some gangsta’s ho, which is how she sometimes dresses, or like a conniving female, which she sometimes is.

I personally don’t get the entire thing about lying and cheating. I’m not speaking as some holier-than-thou Bible thumper, although I do have a few years of Catholic school under my belt. Lying and cheating are not only bad ethically, they’re also empty actions that do not gain the liar or cheat anything. I’m pretty old, but I’ve found that it’s far easier to be forthright. Lying and cheating involve a network of support that’s flimsy at best. It’s exhausting to uphold.

Let’s just say that no good can come from it.

As for promises, I tend to keep mine. However, I reserve the right to change my mind. That’s what being a woman is all about.

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13 Responses

  1. Wow.

    I think lying and cheating comes with the territory of being a teenager too.

    Boy oh boy, I can’t wait til mine are that age!

  2. Make sure you have a prescription for Valium, Wanda.

  3. The lying sucks. The hiding things seems to me to be completely understandable. While some of it is surely with naughty intent, some of it can be attributed to space cadettedness. It even seems much closer to ethical. I mean, think of the 5th amendment. Perjury is still a crime though.

  4. I’m with ABS on this one. And I’m minded of one of our family things–if she won’t be honest with you at this point in her life, who’s she gonna be honest with? Anybody else, it’s gonna come back to bite her–telling a parent, you may take a hit, but it’s not half what someone else can/will/might be expected to do.

    The trouble is, if you hang with liars, they help keep you lying–and lying grows very easily into a habit.

  5. What I’ve tried to show my kids is that they have my trust until they lose it (through lying, usually). Once they’ve lost it, it’s a long way to rebuilding it. Once they lose my trust, they have to really work at getting it back.

    That said, I agree with you. You have to be the mom and do what you think is best, even if you promised otherwise. Just tell her why you changed your mind. It’s sort of the same thing with us. Once they lose our trust, it’s hard to get it back. One thing we need to do is keep that trust. Kids, especially teens will lie and hide things but they know, deep inside, that as their parents, they can trust us to do what’s right and to love them, regardless of what they do.

    We don’t have to like what they do or how they behave but as parents, we will always love them.

    Hang in there, Mom!

  6. I haven’t even called the other mom today. But, I won’t tell Ms. Mini-D that. Absence of notification is not the same as lying.

  7. I would tend to agree with Wanda here. Teenagers need a little time to acquire wisdom. We can’t expect them to know everything we know now after a lot of struggle, can we?

    I do like your last lines!

  8. This takes me back to when my oldest was in high school. She’d gotten in some kind of conflict with another kid, a boy, and was dead set on exacting revenge on him. His mother contacted me and accused my daughter of doing and saying some very vile things in her quest to ‘get’ this kid. I heard her out and said I’d talk to my daughter and see what was going on. My daughter looked me in the eye like the best actress ever and lied her little head off about everything she was accused of doing. She swore she didn’t do it, she crossed her heart, she offered to put her hand on the Bible, she cried over the unfairness of being accused unjustly. I confronted the other Mom and said she was mistaken, my daughter was innocent. That’s when she handed me several notes, in my daughter’s handwriting, detailing everything she’d said and done to wreak havoc on this woman’s son. I can honestly say it was years before I ever 100% believed her again about anything. I felt like the biggest horse’s ass in the world as that woman handed me those notes. Ahh, teens, aren’t they fun.

  9. My daughter is also one of those who will look you right in the eye an lie “like a rug.”

    It didn’t take long to figure out the more she protested the bigger the lie.

  10. […] “this” close to putting myself up for adoption on eBay. No, it’s not because of this that I’m looking for a new home. It’s because I woke up to six inches of snow, YET […]

  11. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this kind of thing.

    It could be worse, though, Pan — you could be my parents, who never had to worry about this kind of thing because I had no social life. Your daughter’s lying and rebellion, difficult though it may be to deal with, at least lets you know she’s fighting for a life of her own, rather than having given up before even leaving high school.

    With your excellent guidance, she’ll learn to push those boundaries in appropriate ways that will serve her well in life. But the pushing is, in itself, a good thing.

  12. Yeah, I know, Mr. Rochester, it’s a scary thing.

  13. As a child, my entire life was a lie. Nothing good comes from such a childhood.

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