This past weekend, we had a situation with the preteen. As the title eludes I debated with myself and her as to whether omission was a lie. You see, something happened, and mother I felt I should have known (I am a helicopter mom – I need to know everything!). She as you can imagine didn’t feel the same way, because she was afraid. So afraid of my reaction that, she requested that I not be told about it. It did come out by the grace of God, which I am very glad for. But man, I was hurt.
More than a little at that. For me and many others I know – not telling someone something because you feel they would react in a way that wasn’t favourable (omission by definition)… Is lying. It means choosing to withhold facts, because it would be unfavourable for you. Unfortunately, I have been in a few relationships with a-holes previously where I have had the “omission debate”. From past experience, I am absolutely certain of my views on this. There are no two ways about it. Black or white. Right or wrong. Yes or no. So when my preteen said “I would have told you if you asked”, I was little taken aback.
Honestly? Was I going to have this debate again? Will I need to go through a list of possibilities everyday so as not to miss what may have happened? No, but I do need to create a space where the opportunity arises for her to be able to tell me something outside of the ordinary. Something that may or may not upset me. I need to find time in our routine where she can say, “Something happened today that made me sad.”
Related post: Am I teaching my child to lie to me?
We have addressed that our home is a safe space before, but I felt the need to reinforce this. Remind her that no matter what, she can always come home and tell me. It’s hard to carve out this time and space, but necessary.
The first thing we started right off the bat, to try and create space for open dialogue is having a family meeting. Luchae from My Spreadsheet Brain chats a bit about what that entails over here. I want to create a space to share more, a space where everyone gets equal opportunity to speak and where all suggestions (within reason) are taken into account. (I sometimes feel like the parent child situation in our home gets a bit overwhelming.)
Low-lights and highlights have always been something I have wanted to do since seeing it in “The Story of Us” and just never got around to it. In case you didn’t see it, it’s a space at the supper table where each family members shares a highs and lows of the day. I hope that with more open communication, it becomes a little easier for all of us. Emilie and I are reading for 30minutes every night as part of her action plan for this term too. Although I cannot guarantee that any of these will work, it makes me feel better that we are trying.