liar Tag

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"My 12-year-old son has always been a funny, outgoing, and expressive guy, but lately I’ve caught him lying to me. It’s not about big stuff, but it’s still very concerning. Lying is completely unacceptable behavior as far as I’m concerned, yet whenever I try to impress rules and regulations on him, he just laughs and teases me about being a “fuddy-duddy.” Is lying suddenly okay these days?"...

Dear Vicki: My 12 year old son has always been funny and outgoing, but lately I’ve caught him lying to me. It’s not really big stuff, but it’s concerning. For example, when Todd spent the weekend at his fathers (we had an amicable divorce five years ago), Todd reported that he and his dad had lunch with the mayor. When I checked, it turns out that the assistant mayor is an old high school friend of my ex-husband and that’s who they lunched with. When I challenge Todd, he laughed and said it’s a better story to have lunch with a mayor. Another time Todd complained that his history teacher assigned 100 pages to read over the weekend. It turned out that the assignment was 50 pages, but they could do more for extra credit. His response when I asked was to cop a dramatic attitude and laugh. I’m beginning to wonder if Todd’s a Fire who’s out of control and that’s why he’s lying. Regardless, I'm very upset, my Metal will not tolerate it, so how do I get him to stop? Signed: Disturbed Outside Denver Dear Disturbed: Teaching children that honesty matters is an important part of parenting. It will be especially important to you as a Metal because following rules and maintaining high ethical standards matter greatly to Metals. The norm for our culture has been that lying is wrong, and Metals are our guides for determining right from wrong, so you are probably upset that your son isn’t getting with the program. In truth, your son’s lying strikes at the core of your values as a Metal. We’ll address his lying first, but I suspect there’s another issue at play that’s part of what’s upsetting you, and we’ll cover that later. But first, the lying. It’s interesting you suspect that Fire would be the element to lie. That’s possible, yet all of the elements will lie. But the reasons they lie will be different. When Fires lie, it’s usually for a sense of drama. Todd’s correct, it’s a more dramatic story to say one has lunched with the mayor than the assistant mayor. Fires exaggerate a story for the effect, too. Fires enjoy being the entertainer and garnering the attention. When Earths lie, it’s usually to protect someone’s feelings. Earths don’t like to hurt people or make them feel left out. They will deny attending a party to which you weren’t invited, or tell you that the painting you made for them is beautiful, even if it isn’t. Earths care and don’t want people hurt. When Metals lie, which isn’t very often, it’s usually to discredit a fact  or idea that would negatively affect something they know to be true. It’s much more compelling to say that the committee unanimously agrees with a specific course of action even if, in truth, there were a few dissenters. Other times Metals lie it’s usually because their secondary element kicks in for a sense of drama, to protect feelings, etc. When Waters lie, it’s usually...