The subject on my mind today is trust.
It’s become clear in the last week that Eldest has abused our trust. He is currently utterly and completely obsessed with his laptop and Minecraft especially. We have allowed him plenty of time on it during the day (a little more than I would like if I’m truthful but I’m aware that he’s on holiday so I am curbing my puritanical instincts!!), and he has been tremendously keen to have the machine in his bedroom overnight. Claiming that he could then use it in the morning.
Well… I was not born yesterday, I did not come down in the last shower and as it turns out my cynicism has grown over the years, so…
On the other hand, I’ve been working very hard to try and show him that he can earn my trust. I’m also aware that to an extent kids need to feel that they’ve pulled the wool over their parents’ eyes. So I’ve let it slide.
Eldest is smart. Really, scary smart. In some extremely narrow ways.
In other ways, eldest is plain slow and really rather dim, bless his little heart!!
And if you’re going to pull the wool over your mother’s eyes, you have to keep it “real”. Waking up at midday claiming to have been asleep since 9.30pm… not so real. Changing your story to explain that you did not sleep till midnight… not so smart. Further changing “facts” to say that you were reading, but you can’t remember what book? Just plain dim.
Darling man has been around this week and has made the end of the holiday a truly pleasurable experience. We have gone out and done things as a family in a way never possible before now. It’s been really lovely! So I completely understand when he tells me that he doesn’t want a fight. That the life we are living on the surface is very much the one we want, and couldn’t we pretend not to have noticed these glaring fibs?
Hmmm…. parenting is just a pain!!! No-one has made clear the boundaries between the importance of trust and that of truth. They are after all only two letters apart!
We let it slide a couple of days, then three. On the fourth day, darling man had a quiet word in the evening on the importance of getting up in the morning with a smile and some courtesy towards Mother. The message did not get through.
So last night, we informed Eldest that the laptop was staying downstairs. The resulting “conversation” was not pretty.
This morning, ALL the evidence was that the laptop had been tampered with. More denial ensued, with ever-changing stories in the face of incontrovertible evidence.
We were forced into a position that no mum or dad wants to be in. “I’m sorry if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe you”.
Trust… all gone.
Truth? Trust seems a high price to pay for it. And yet if he doesn’t learn that lesson with us, he will be far more vulnerable when it happens somewhere else. So we bit the bullet:
“We don’t believe you.”
The consequence was to lose access to his laptop for the day.
Miraculously, and rather wonderfully, thanks to patience and calm and an absolute refusal to raise to the bait or indeed back down, we had a good day. Darling man took Eldest and Princess for a bike ride while I stayed home with Little Man who desperately needed a rest.
Eldest is now back in front of his laptop. I fear that he doesn’t yet realise that he has fallen to the bottom of the mountain, that he now needs to earn our trust again. And that this needs to be done with truth.
One day, a long long time from now, our hope is that the little stand we took last night, to stand for the truth and against trust, will have helped our Eldest to a place where trust stands firm and backs him all the way in any difficult situation he faces.
A beautiful word, full of promise 🙂