Okay...I won't go into the gorey details, but we caught Austin in a lie. He came home from school on Tuesday and I asked if he earned a Computer Coupon. He told me "no" and proceeded to tell me that Seth (a boy in his class) had goofed off when they went swimming. His teacher, Miss Karen, thought it was Austin, but it was really Seth. I had my doubts from the beginning, but I also knew that Miss Karen would not have been in the boys locker room. So, I asked him several times if this was the absolute truth. Finally, I looked at him and said, "Austin...I need you to tell me the truth. I will believe you no matter what you say. But, the most important thing is that you tell me the truth." He told me that it was honestly all Seth. I believed him and had forgotten all about it.
Yesterday, I went to help out in his class. Another child, Carson, came up to me and told me what Austin had done at swimming yesterday. Ironically, Carson described exactly what Austin said Seth had done. Austin was in another group, so he didn't hear Carson tell me this information. About 3 minutes after Austin got home from school, he and Macy got into a shouting match in her room and woke Paige up (again) after only about an hour nap. They both got sent to their rooms to sit on their beds while I taught piano. During a break, I went into Austin's room and told him what Carson had told me. He immediately put his face into his hands. This is when my heart broke for him because I knew he had lied. My next piano lesson showed up, and I told him I would come back later. When I walked in his room, I asked him if he was ready to talk. He put his face in his hands again (he couldn't even look at me) and said, "Carson was right." I asked him why he lied, and he explained that he didn't want to get in trouble. I told him that he was in a lot more trouble now.
When Greg came home, he explained that he was very angry (when I feel empathy, Greg is livid; when I am livid; Greg feels empathy - it works out well), but we were going to sit down and enjoy dinner. After dinner, Greg talked to Austin about what it means to lie and that it comes from Satan. Austin came up to me, hugged me and said he was sorry. I told him he had done a really stupid thing, and he is going to have to work really hard to earn back the trust that he lost. I explained that we will always love him - he doesn't have earn love. But, trust is something that he does have to earn. He walked away, then came right back. He put his arms around me and said, "Mom, I'm not just normal sorry; I'm really, really, really sorry." And my heart broke again.
Here's the dilemma - What do I do now? I know he feels sorry, but I think it's more about getting caught. I want him to learn this really tough lesson at 6. I want it to have an impact on him. We can deal with anything - but not lying! Do I just punish the lying, or do I punish the original offence as well? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to punish lying? He has the entire week off of school next week. How long do I draw this out? HELP!