Stories and Lies
This is something I've struggled with for several years as I care for children. I've seen it in a lot of different scenarios and always done my best to allow children to "tell stories" and gently clarify that it is indeed a story. It was especially tender when I cared for a little boy whose dad was in jail and he would tell stories about his dad that I knew were not true. I spoke to him mom about it and we both knew that his stories were a way for him to comfort himself so obviously we never called him out or anything but if I had a moment alone with him i would try to initiate a conversation that would lead to some clarification that the stories he made up were comforting and that I understood that. Still, i wasn't totally sure that was the "right" way to handle it as I didn't want to encourage him to say things that were not true.
Now I care for a boy who tells stories all the time that are not true. He spins tales and claims them to be the truth. He is ten. His mom says she calls him out because she doesn't want him to get it twisted that lies are ok and she'd rather call him out at home in hopes that he learns from her instead of peers who may not put it so gently. He will stick to his story as the honest truth no matter what.
Savana also has begun to spin tales. Now, she never lies about direct questions. She is a rule follower by nature. But, for example, she will tell me she read an article in a magazine (lol she is only reading easy readers right now!) about a theater that makes the whole stage and all the costumes out of recycled carboard. I mean, jeez, the story sounds real! So I asked her a few more questions thinking maybe she learned it at school and that's when I realized that she was making it up. I thought it was brilliant but of course I asked her if this was real or something she invented and she sort of buried her head and blushed and said she invented it. I explained to her that I love her mind and her fantastic ideas and I think she will write brilliant stories someday but just to be careful that she is not making her stories seem like the truth because a person will not know what is true and what is not if she isn't clear about that.
Do you think that's a good way to handle it? The 3 scenarios are different and I guess all need to be handled in their own way. I hate to stifle creativity but obviously don't want to diminish the importance of honesty.