Teaching a toddler what lying is has proven harder than I originally thought. Ali is either a) really slow to understand the concept, or b) really smart and pretending she doesn’t understand the concept.

At any rate, I’m hoping that we either a) made headway, or b) I blew her cover of plausible deniability with this exchange earlier this week:

I was sitting in another room, and Ali came up behind me.

Ali: “Hey Mommy, I’m happy. Can you clean that up?”

I turn around and look, and she’s holding her cup of milk.

Behind her, I see this:IMG_6066

Me: “Did you spill your milk?”

Ali: “No. I’m happy.”

Me: “Then what is that on the floor?”

Ali: “It’s nothing.”

Me: “Is it your milk?”

Ali: “It’s not.”

Me: “Did you spill it?”

Ali: “No.”

Me: “Then who spilled it?”

Ali: “Somebody.”

Me: “Baby, you’re lying to Mommy. You won’t get in trouble for accidents, but you WILL get in trouble for lying. Lying is telling Mommy something that is not true. When you tell Mommy it’s not milk when it is, you’re lying, and lying isn’t wise.”

Ali: (sigh) “It IS milk.”

Me: “Did you spill it?”

Ali: “Yes.”

Me: “What do you say?”

Ali: “I’m sorry.”

Me: “I forgive you. But next time you need to not lie, or you will be in trouble.”

Ali: “Okay. I’m happy! Look at the castle in my milk!”


I’m not sure if we made any headway or not, but at least we were able to visualize the lies.

Along with a Milk Castle.

16 thoughts on “Lying Over Spilled Milk.

  1. Man, I'm 0 for 2 in seeing "pictures" inside other images, first the Tom Thumb logo and now Ali's milk castle…guess I lacking in the creativity department! :)

  2. LOL!! Many years ago on his radio program Art Linkletter would say that kids say the darndest things. Now, it seems that Ali may be really smart in her replies to you, and saying some of the darndest things.. Give her credit for being innovative, but continue to try to teach her lessons of life and that one of them is that lying isn’t acceptable.

    At the same time, remember that spilled milk is nothing to worry about. Just clean it up and get on with life.

  3. Did you visualize the castle in her milk? Just a funny note. My oldest is autistic and didn't talk until he was five. He didn't learn to lie until he was 15 or 16. It is really a conceptual skill. I know something or did something and don't want someone else to know. Consider your daughter "gifted!"

  4. Love the castle! We are working on lying too…it IS a hard concept. But I think they understand more than we think they do. K is way too smart. I just need to figure out how to direct that intelligence to fight for good and not evil. :)

  5. That is too funny. We've had some of these same conversations. And it's so hard to get on to them when they're so cute some times. But well worth it:)

  6. man…lying is one of our biggest (and most important) battles! It's better to work on lying and trust when you're dealing with "who spilled the milk" than with "why didn't you get home until 1am?"

    As ali gets older (and therefore, more cunning and capable of trickery!), hold fast to your standard of truthfulness, and you won't be sorry!

  7. blueviolet, someone once said that art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Do you think that perhaps the eye sees something related to what is on one’s mind at the time? :-)

  8. and this brings out a whole new challenge, how to seriously teach life truths to an incredibly cute stinker without the squelched laughter coming out in a snort…

  9. No, I'm happy! Funny how kids think. I'm not lying because I'm happy. :)
    Thanks for linking up to Life is Therapy today. Truth and Lies is a hard concept to grasp for kids I think especially when they see us blur the lines. I like how you made sure that she would know the trouble was not the milk but the lack of honesty. Although I have to point out that I Ali pointed out and did not try to hide the milk which is a very good thing. I think sometimes kids "lie" because they are trying to give the "right answer". The magical answer that makes everybody happy. So in her own way, Ali may have been lying to keep everybody happy and don't we do that alot.
    As always, if Ali ever needs a lawyer, call me. :) I'm totally on her side!!!

  10. Arabella is 3 1/2 and we are just now starting the lying. We’ve had many a conversation about this. Please tell me it gets better…..any tips on how it finally clicked with Ali?

    1. You just kind of have to wait for their logic to catch up with their tongue. Until they can understand it, they can’t really understand what they’re doing. Does that make sense? We didn’t punish for it until we KNEW that she knew.

      The hardest stage was after she knew – she began lying about things that we couldn’t necessarily prove was a lie. She’s quit that since, but we didn’t know WHAT to do then.

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