Confessions of a parents’ evening

Last week we had Mia’s parents evening at school – a meeting where we get to discuss how she’s progressing academically, if there are any causes for concern, if we need to make heart-felt apologies for any damage to persons and/or property.

We were the smug parents when Dan went through the first school system. The only negative comment we ever got was that he was so keen to share an answer in class he’d forget to put his hand up and blurt the answer out. We secretly knew he didn’t forget at all and that his competitive nature had leaked over from the sports pitches into the classroom.

Mia is not that child.
Now the husband and I slink into the classroom with an almost embarrassed ‘we’re so sorry’ look about our faces.
We brace ourselves. Our sympathy is palpable.
That’s not to say Mia isn’t doing well at school. She’s doing REALLY well. She practices her times tables at home without anyone asking her to because “it’s fun”. She disappears into her room for hours at a time and produces a project no one expects her to do because she quite fancies researching something. She reads ALL the time.
She is a bright spark, of that there is no doubt. She is way beyond her eight years.

BUT. For yes there is a but.
Teacher: “Mia tells the most amazing stories. She’s very creative.”
Us: *Knowing look*
Teacher: “She’s such a caring child. Very helpful to younger ones; very compassionate. But there does seems to be an awful lot of ‘accidents’ which happen in the playground  which Mia is involved in. When we ask her about them, she swears blind it’s not her doing. It’s always an accident. I’ve talked to her about accidents and asked her if she really understand what it means and she totally does. But her stories get more and more elaborate. She has been with the head teacher talking incidents through and she totally convinces even her of her tale; it’s only because I know a different story that we realised just how convincing she is.”
Us: *Sink a fraction lower into our seats*
Teacher: “It’s all I can do not to laugh sometimes. She is SO convincing.”
Us: *Wondering if we should share this story of how she was like this even at the age of 4*
Teacher: “She really has made an art form out of fibbing!”
She’s saying it jovially, but we are squirming in our seats, which suddenly feel extremely small.

Basically what she’s saying is that my child is a liar. And we know it. But when does the fabricating stop?

Today I have been called into school to talk about it further.
I am actually at a loss. I have NO idea why she does it. We’ve talked about it, she’s apologised, said she recognises it’s not a grown up thing to do, that she must not hurt other children and that her good work will be undone because everyone will assume she’s not telling the whole truth. And she totally gets it. Then BOOM, in I am at school again discussing this strange thing that looms over us all.

She really likes her teacher (she mimics her every night when she gets home from school and goes to her room to ‘take class’). She’s had issues with some friends in the playground in the past, but it’s just regular girl stuff (“I want to be the horse trainer today”. “No I want to be the horse trainer today”).
But nothing I can put my finger on that would cause her to behave in this way.

I’m putting it down to a phase and she will outgrow it and move on and probably replace it with another, equally galling phase.
But right now, if anyone has experienced anything similar I’d love your feedback. I just don’t want her to get a reputation at such a young age.

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20 Responses to Confessions of a parents’ evening

  1. Iota says:

    My oldest was a fibber, but not as good at it as Mia, so it never got him into trouble. (Except he did once fib about not having received a message I'd phoned through to the school, and got the school secretary into trouble, and as a result, the school devised a whole new policy about message-giving!) I think it just became a habit. In the end (and I'm not sure this would be in any of the parenting books, and maybe he'll need therapy when he's older), we couldn't think how else to deal with it, so we made a joke of it. Not in an unkind way. But every time he fibbed (and it was obvious), we picked it up and had a little ditty we repeated. We tried to be light-hearted rather than crushing.

    That sounds so awful when I write it, but we honestly couldn't think of anything else – it had been going on a while, and wasn't too serious (in our analysis), but was a habit we felt needed breaking before it got worse. He was about 8/9 at this point, I think.

    There now. I've washed my dirty linen in public! I'm not sure it'll help you, but perhaps it will prompt other parents-of-fibbing-children to share their experiences. I found the whole thing quite embarrassing, and don't think I discussed it with anyone at the time.

    I'm guessing that my second child might be a fibber too, but just much better at it than my oldest, and so we don't know!

  2. mrsteepot says:

    I'm afraid I have no advice but I hope she does grow out of it soon.
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  3. Kathryn says:

    I can relate to the comment from iotamanhatten – my youngest was a fibber but there was always a reason to it (and now, at the age of 16 he is planning to go into politics – here in Italy! – connection??) But my point is really about me – Until I was about 8 I was a fibber and I stole money from my Mum – that sounds terrible doesn't it?? I would take money from a small pot she kept near the phone and then I'd go to the shops on my way home from school and buy a Mars bar! And I can remember the exact moment I stopped………when my mum 'caught' me for the umpteenth time and just did nothing. She ignored the fact completely. Didn't say anything, didn't get cross, just did nothing. I don't know if this helps but it is my very personal experience…..whihc turned out ok 😉
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  4. I'm afraid I don't have anything to add, but both my girl and now my boy have been through this in minor ways, and it has definitely been a phase. You just keep reiterating the good parts of her behaviour and the bad, and it will iron itself out

  5. jessicamilln says:

    You could try the double bluff approach. It worked with my son…when I said I wasn’t expecting to hear good news about him from his teacher any more…. He absolutely had to prove me wrong.

    Perhaps casually mention there are consequences for fabricating events, telling fibs etc. because in the end people never believe you when the truth is being told. So when she says she’d like such and such for Christmas, you’ll most likely get her something completely different thinking she’d couldn’t possibly have meant what she said.

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  6. HelpfulMum says:

    I used to lie a lot at that age. From about age six until eleven. I made up some awful stuff, really bad. I also used to lie about trivial stuff, like what my mum did for a living. I remember announcing to my class that she was an astronaut to try and make my life seem more interesting. For me it was a phase which passed as more hormones hit in, although I did used to lie about boys too (mainly telling people I had done more than I had). I don't lie any more and haven't done like I used to probably since I was about fifteen. It passed as I grew up. I think it was a lot to do with finding my place in life and comparing myself with others (which I also stopped doing as I grew up). She will be fine. She knows it's wrong, but it is kind of addictive at the time.
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    • Tara says:

      That totally resonates the finding your place in life and comparing yourself with others. Mia is SO competitive with her older brother – competitive for people's attention. As he's older, people natural spend more time talking to him and asking him about things, and I do think she feels slightly left out. Thanks for the input my friend x
      My recent post Confessions of a parents’ evening

  7. K-Ville says:

    If it makes you feel any better Kathryn, I did that too. I also used to take made up homework home and tell my parents a made up time it had to be in by that was like the next day so they would panic and help me, I think it was just attention seeking because they spent so much time helping my older brother.__Cog had friends that told whopping pork pies about where they'd been or things they'd done etc when they were at our house playing. We've just had a discussion about it, laughing at it. I only know one of those girls well now and she is quite normal! I suspect the other one is as well 🙂 But don't get me started on the who smashed the skipping rope handles with a hammer and who wrote on the ivory piano keys with a permanent marker days, because the tales that were told on those days were quite worthy of oscars. __In fact the more I think back, I'm even starting to remember the odd brownie that told news that was quite made up, so it's clearly common. The solution though?! I'm sorry. Parenting is hard isn't it. xxxx

  8. Elaine Livingstone says:

    I am another that would not worry too much about the telling lies and like the idea of the double bluff.
    I use to write in my school news what I had got for Christmas, my parents must have been rich for it to be believable but some years I got nothing as I had had a birthday present a few weeks earlier, and I never got both!!
    My son spent his weekends flying down to London in his dads helicopter, or going up north in his sports car.
    I would worry about her "accidents" if it involves younger children, but have no advise on how to handle it sorry.

  9. TheBoyandMe says:

    No advice but sympathies for the 'issue'. I'm sure it's just a phase!

  10. nappyvalleygirl says:

    I've been following your posts about Mia for a few years now, and I know you've had some difficulties before. Clearly she's very bright and very creative and I'm sure that's a part of it – now she's found that she's good and making things up, and being believed! Maybe rewarding her in some way every time she tells the truth and 'fesses up would help – and would hopefully stop her doing whatever she's doing in the first place? Good luck x

  11. We used to get some amazing and ridiculous stories from one of ours. They do grow out of it, but just occasionally at 15 she'll still swear blind that it never happened/aliens ate it/someone came into the house and stole her glasses because she'd never lose them etc and there's no point arguing, you have to point out that it can't be true because xyz and then leave her to think about it.
    It's the sign of a great imagination – get her writing!
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  12. Knackered Mother says:

    Years ago, my mother turned up at school to collect us and other mothers went up to her to say how sorry they were to hear about the burglary. Which really threw her, as we hadn't been burgled, as far as she knew. Turns out my sister had forgotten to take her reading book in to school to decided to elaborate the story a bit, saying that all we found was a few bit of silver on the common and a page of her reading book. She did grow out of it, but is an amazingly creative person to this day. I just like to think it was her creativity bursting out at an early age. Hugs, Mrs x
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  13. Jaime Oliver says:

    My daughter has been at it for about a year on and off .. it drives me crazy and upsets me in equal measures. Beth knows its wrong, however its like she just cant help it .. in fact she isnt even any good at it!

    I too am hoping is a phase xxx
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