A dad got a call from his son’s teacher, "Mr. Jenkins, you’ve got to do something about Travis. He's been calling other kids names during recess and it's causing a lot of trouble. I think you need to have a talk with him."
"Well, Mrs. Alexander, are you sure? Have you seen him doing that or are you just taking the word of the other kids?"
"I'm sorry, but I've witnessed it myself, otherwise I wouldn't have called."
"Ok, I'll have a talk with him. Thanks."
Later that evening Dad talked to Travis. "Travis, are you calling the other kids names during recess?"
"Well, your teacher says you are. Now what's the story?"
"I don't know. She's lying."
If you know a child did something, don't set him up to lie by asking about it.
This was Dad's mistake. Kids, like most adults, will lie to protect themselves. Since Dad knew that the name-calling was happening it would have been better to handle it by saying, "Travis, I know that you've been calling the other kids names during recess. I expect it to stop." Travis will still try to get out of it with, "But I'm not."
Dad's response should be, "We're not talking about that. What did I say about it?"
Travis may still continue to try to protect himself with denials and Dad's job is to continue to say, "I know and what did I say about that?"
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