After weeks of missing lessons, El finally finished his painting of Mickey Mouse. His teacher had explained the concept behind it, but I had forgotten who the artist was. It was supposed to be have vintage feel, with all the patterns and designs behind Mickey Mouse.
When I saw it, I liked it very much. His current art school, HeART Studio, is more interesting than his previous school, where they did blending of colours all the time. He has a greater sense of achievement here because he gets to see his completed works on canvas or on paper, instead of sketches in a notebook.
When we went home, Gar saw the painting and immediately became insanely jealous. He started saying it was his. We brushed him aside and said it was done by his brother. Agitated, he threw a tantrum.
“I painted this,” he reiterated, when he saw the painting on the wall the next morning. He was lying through his teeth and became upset when we repeated that it was done by his brother.
I had remembered reading articles about lying. Lying is actually a good thing for the children, because they require cognitive skills to tell them. The earlier they lie, the brighter they are. However, we have to guide them and not let them get away with lying. If not, they will continue lying as they get older.
I went to search for the articles and read them. According to Victoria Talwar and Kang Lee’s developmental model of lying, they mention that at the primary stage of lying, which occurs around age 2 to 3, children lie blatantly. It is very easy to tell they are fibbing, because it is impossible for the event to happen. Gar’s lie was easily exposed. At the secondary stage of lying, which occurs around 4 to 5, children tell lies that are more plausible. At the tertiary stage of lying, when they are around 7 to 8, they will tell lies that depend on facts and they have follow ups.
The articles mentioned that we do have to address the issue right away, and not much later. We should not let them get away with the lies. Young children might not be able to tell between make belief and reality, hence the tall tales. He could have told the lie because he had liked it very much and had imagined himself drawing that. However, he did not express it the right way.
We should also avoid showdowns, and not accuse them of what they did. Very young children do not know that they are in the wrong. Instead, we could talk about the other party’s feelings, or mentioned that something had happened.
To resolve his issue, I asked him later in the evening who had painted that. Again, he said he did. I was a little glad he did, because that meant I could address this properly this time round.
“Do you like this painting very much?” I asked.
“Yes,” Gar answered.
“Do you want to have your own painting like this too?”
“Do you want Mummy to paint Mickey Mouse with you?”
“This painting is done by Kor kor (El). Is it very nice?”
I took a deep breath, and hope that he would be able to tell the truth this time round.
“Who painted this?” I asked again.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
El was in the living room when this exchange happened. I told Gar to tell El that his painting was very nice.
Gar shouted, “Kor Kor, your painting is very nice!”
El kept quiet and pretty much ignored him. I went to El and told him that someone had just paid him a compliment. He should acknowledge that and thank the person.
After some probing, El finally said, “Thank you for your compliment.”
I went back to Gar, and told him what to say.
“You are welcome!”
Children need to be taught how to respond in different social situations. I find that El can be quite nonchalant at times, and I need to get him to greet people, including his teachers and friends, or say goodbye to his friends.
Going back to the painting, I sat down with Gar to do the painting. I searched online for a picture of Mickey Mouse, and asked Gar which one he wanted. He said he wanted a blue Mickey Mouse, and selected a picture. I sketched it out, and got him to paint.
He had been doing some painting with my mother, who is very talented in drawing. My mother had reminded me to use the white colour to mix with the colours, so that the pictures would be more dimensional instead of flat.
He wanted various colours for different parts of Mickey Mouse, and after he had painted the mouse, I got him to paint the background. When he was done, I added the outline to make the picture a little better. I also added some touch ups to the side.
Gar was extremely proud of his painting and demanded that we put up his artwork on the wall too. When he observed that his brother’s painting had a name, he asked to include his name on his artwork too. His father wrote his name and he was as pleased as a lark.