Tuesday 25 April 2017

Siblings, lies and untruths

Anthony and Jane in the playground

"That's a lie."

"No, it's not."

I can not even hazard a guess at how many times I've heard this exchange in our house over the last few weeks. Part of this is due to Anthony, our eight year old autistic son who has never told me a lie in his life.  Never.  And he also has difficulty in understanding when someone is lying, and someone is playing or joking around.

This doesn't mean he has never done anything wrong. Anthony will admit when he has been naughty. The best he will do to avoid blame is not say anything.  But usually, he will offer up his guilt upon the first request of 'what happened here' and will even explain if he did it on purpose or if the event was actually an accident. He has always been literal and taken what he is told and sees as fact, which has proved difficult at times.  I don't know when we will decide to tell him the reality of the tooth fairy.

His younger sister Jane, is also very keen on the tooth fairy, despite not having yet lost a tooth. She has just turned four and to her the tooth fairy is also very real and she is looking forward to losing her first tooth for the chance to get a coin under her pillow.

But then Jane is very imaginative and this is where things can be difficult.

"I'm the tooth fairy."

"No, you're not."

"Yes, I am."

"Jane you are telling a lie."

"No, I'm not..."

Then ensues the latest argument of the day, which was is almost exactly the same as the last one.

Because the truth is that not stating fact or reality is not the same as being deceitful.  And it's this difference we are trying to highlight. Jane is not being deceitful, she is pretending.  She is not trying to be naughty by not telling the truth, but yes it is an untruth.

If I can catch the conversation in between "I'm the the tooth fairy," and "No, you're not," then there's a chance I can avoid a screaming match.   The last one was about what words were in a Disney song and they were actually both singing the same song, just different parts of it.

Anthony is nearly nine years old and Jane has just turned four.  But in many ways, they are not far apart on their understanding of truth and deceit. The first little fib Jane told caught be by complete surprise as Anthony could only be described as a terribly truthful child. It's been a bit of a battle since for them both.

On the other hand, it's at least great to see them interacting.  David is the middle sibling, he's still mostly preverbal and his play is very solitary sometimes in comparison. But perhaps this arguing is just a more common part of being siblings too.  Despite the arguments they look out for each other in a way only siblings can maybe.  Hopefully then, Jane can learn a little more about truth and Anthony about imaginative play from their encounters.  That could work and give my constant diplomacy skills a little rest too.


  1. A good perspective from a parent with two so different children. I'm sure they will develop a mutual understanding of each other as they grow x

  2. You have just given me a glimpse into the future. I am sure Number One will be equally furious when Number Two gets to the point of pretending. It's lovely to see them playing together though isn't it, learning from each other and just generally loving each other #PostsFromTheHeart

  3. What an interesting insight, and I wonder how you manage now this topic is coming up. Is it every day, or every now and again? My little is very into imaginary play and will swear blind she's a mermaid. Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam - I take my hat off to you! xx

  4. I dont know if this makes me almost glad I only have one. Intriguing insight. My one has a huge imagination so Im invisiging some rather tall tales
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime and don't forget to join us this Thurs.

  5. It's very interesting to read about your siblings struggles as they learn to adjust to each other. We are having a few issues of our own. Discipline is interesting and not really happening. There is the only not knowing when his little sister has had enough of a rough a tumble game they might be playing. It really is an interesting sibling journey, very tiring at times for parents but very interesting.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements


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