Sunday, January 8, 2012

To Tell the Truth

We try to teach our kids a lot of things before they grow up. One of our priority values is to always tell the truth. You can hear yourself now, "… what matters is that you tell the truth." For a person on the spectrum, rules are rules, and if one of life's rules is to tell the truth, then they're always going to tell the truth. But we all know, there's telling the truth for the sake of being honest, then there's not telling the COMPLETE truth for the sake of being polite. Did you color on the walls? vs. Do you like my fruitcake? Sometimes in life, we're better served by not telling the truth. So it's always interesting (and nerve racking) at Christmas or birthdays when people are giving Rye gifts. People often say, "I hope you like it." What do we ALWAYS say? "Of course I do, I love it. Thank you so much," (then return it or put it in the garage sale box in the basement). But if you ask him if he likes the gift you gave him, you better be prepared for him to say "no." 

Rye was recently given a toy. It was a a girl action figure in a pink suit. He immediately expressed his disappointment and wanted to call the person who gave it to him and tell them. We told him it wouldn't be polite to say that he didn't like it. We tried to explain that it might hurt their feelings. All of these things that fall into a more conceptual realm of something as simple as giving and receiving gifts, is hard for Rye to understand that it's okay to not tell the truth in this situation. We spent about an hour telling him that we weren't going to call and tell them that he didn't like the action figure (while he was crying and having a melt down). An hour of negotiating about what we COULD tell them, and landed on: "if we talk to them on the phone you can say you really liked the other gift they gave you and that your favorite color is red." Both of those statements are true. Fortunately, we haven't had the opportunity to talk to the gift givers and hope that our next conversation doesn't end in the complete truth.

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