1)* Have your kids ever lied to you so glibly and plausibly that you believed them right up until either someone else dropped a dime on them, or you found contradictory evidence?*
Oh yeah. More than once.
2)* Have you ever known, or been fairly sure, that your kid was lying to you, but didn’t pursue it?..*
Oh yeah. More than once.
You know, it’s funny that you ask, because we’ve given this very subject a lot of thought over the years. It seems to come up a fair bit when we’re shooting the shit with other parents or what have you.
Basically I think that if they’re lying to me, they have their reasons. People usually lie out of fear in one form or another. It bothers me more that my kids didn’t trust me enough to tell me the truth than the fact that they’ve deceived me. And very truthfully, I am unfortunately far from perfect and have over-reacted, under-reacted or somehow failed to react adequately in some way, which of course teaches them that they can’t always trust me with the truth. Any honest (and/or aware) parent will tell you the same thing. Also, I remember being a kid well enough to understand their fears, not having been raised by perfect parents myself. Anyways, you know the old saw, that you always teach people how to treat you, by your own behaviour.
People lie, period. Obviously, none of us are always completely honest all the time. Kids are no different. I could be wrong of course, but I think my kids are honest with me more than not, that they trust me more than not. Essentially, it’s a two-way street whether I, as a parent, like it or not. They, at the ages of 13 and 16, still seem to mostly respect my authority and in turn I try not to crush, oppress or overwhelm them with it. For obvious reasons, that would be a big mistake in any case. Yet it’s not always easy to recognize it if you’re being too-heavy handed, at least not right in the heat of the moment. IOW, their general truthfulness or even just willingness to share themselves with me, seems to be in more-or-less proportion to my general even-handedness as a parent.
Sometimes I respect their decision to lie to me and just try harder to create a better atmosphere of trust within our relationships. I ask the same of them and because it’s a reasonable request, they usually try to meet me halfway. They can tell me the truth if and when they’re ready to, on their own terms.
OTOH, if it seems appropriate, sometimes I do confront them immediately about the lie. If it means an argument, so be it. At times, it seems more important to get things out into the open and clear the air. It just depends on the circumstances.