Lauren Holly’s Blog: Am I Raising a Liar?

10/22/2013 at 08:00 AM ET

Lauren Holly Blog

After her hilarious first blog, we just had to welcome back Lauren Holly for a second installment!

Best known for her roles in Dumb and Dumber and on NCIS and Picket Fences, the actress, 49, is currently starring on ABC’s Motive.

In addition to her acting career, Holly is also mom to sons Azer, 11, George, 10, and Henry, 9, with husband Francis Greco.

She can be found on Facebook and Twitter @LaurenHolly.

In her blog, Holly recounts the mystery of the disappearing soda and fears she is raising a liar when none of her boys confess.

Honesty. We all want our kids to be/have it. How do we teach it? It is at the core of being a good person. Adults all know this. Ask any person over the age of 35, and they can tell you that the best people in their lives are honest ones. It’s a quality that always seems to be accompanied by others as equally positive traits.

Bear with me in the labeling of “adult” as anyone over 35 — every 17-year-old reading this probably moaned loudly at that one. (So close! But I’ll be even able to vote!)

These days, maturity seems to come more slowly. Personally, I blame it on all the societal coddling. We are raising kids who have no idea how it is to lose, as “everyone is a winner!” That really bugs me.

Some of my biggest leaps of growth came after stinging defeats. I think it somehow makes kids feel more entitled, less ambitious, less respect for a work ethic. Therefore, it takes longer to build a wealth of life experience — and those riches in one’s possession are how I measure being an adult.

Anyway, dealing with an honest person along the way is always pleasurable. They are our heroes, and ultimately, are whom we always want to win.

As a mom, I want my boys to be members of this elite group. I want them to be men that people look to with respect. It was the missing soda that made me think I might not be teaching it.

There was a crazy night of movie fun and junk that I approved of. I was away working over a weekend and I wanted them to have fun. After gorging themselves, there was a six-pack of soda left. Their nanny took it to her room. She knew better than to leave it in the fridge. With three preteen boys? Gone before lunch.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but I have a pretty hard time with my kids drinking the stuff — for so many reasons.

She told them to keep away from it. Every day after, one soda disappeared. The first day she thought maybe she had made a mistake. The second day she knew someone was taking it. She asked each of them in private. All said no, it was not them.

I came home on the third day a soda was missing. She still did not know who was the thief. At dinner that night, I asked all of them to confess if guilty. No one did. I took each in private. All claimed and professed innocence. Even worse, I believed them. So did their nanny.

Usually I could spot the signs — unique to each of them — of lying. This time I couldn’t. I was so distressed. Who had learned to lie so well that they fooled their mother? What would become of him?

Now, I don’t think my reaction was exaggerated. A liar at this age had a greater likelihood of going down the wrong path. You are, really, who you are hanging around with. Who would be friends with a liar? Sketchy types, for sure. If they were this good at it, they must have been practicing. What else did I not know?

I began to question my methods.

BY EXAMPLE: Huh. Not so good. They’ve heard the story I even shared with you all before — wrecking the one side of my parents’ Plymouth Valiant because of driving hijinks and not telling them until years later.

I’m an actress. I am dramatic. A certain flair (of exaggeration) is expected. I pride myself on storytelling. Did it really matter if I was playing a character? Kids do what they see.

Or, did they notice when what I said maybe wasn’t the complete truth? Was it understood when I only was trying to spare someone’s feelings? Could they separate the nuance from the core of truth I was trying to teach?

BY REWARD: Surely I told them enough the premium I put on telling the truth. Punishments were not as severe if one came clean. No matter how bad it was, I promised to make the consequence not as bad if they suddenly told me the truth.

Okay, so what then would happen to them for lying?


BY CONSEQUENCE: The rule was if you lie, you were in the biggest trouble of all. Wow. Looking at it now seems like I was just creating the super liar. Anything would be said and stuck to not to get caught.

You get my point. I was spinning out, trying to figure out how it came to be that I had raised a stealthy soda stealer. That one of my beloved angels was probably gonna end up in jail because I wasn’t teaching them, well, to be honest. It was going to be a sleepless night.

Then it occurred to me. Yes, I had dented my parents’ car, but I had worked like the devil to fix it quick. I repaired the gardens and mailboxes I hit. Were my parents really harmed for not knowing at the time? Not really. Was I spared from any difficulty in leading my life? Most definitely. Even though I was guilty of that subterfuge, did I know the difference between right and wrong? Yes.

Would I lie to the detriment of another? Would I break the law? Lie for my personal monetary gain? No. No. No.

So, maybe there is a bright spot in this current dilemma. It could be that all my hopes of respectability are not lost. Maybe my example of basic goodness is enough? That the flaws in my lessons are small enough to not hide the jist?

Maybe it is still reasonable that my boys will still grow into being good men. I guess the stealer of soda was spared some indignity, some embarrassment from my wrath.

They all brushed their teeth. I’m betting no soda ever goes missing again — maybe that is enough.

Still, a lie was told. We should talk about trust.

— Lauren Holly

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Showing 25 comments

Karen stairs on

I am also a mother of 3 boys. I have a 8 yr old 6 and 4.. I also have the problem if getting it out of them who did it!! Of course they all point to the other ones or blame the youngest.. He is now 4 so he is not taking it very well so it starts conflict.. I have to say though it is usually the middle child that stirs the pot the walks away watching it all unfold…

I would love to get some advice on how to handle the lying phase bc it happens a lot in out house.. Lying is the worst offense l keep trying to tell then but it’s a working progress..

J Barnes on

I’m a stay-at-home mom of five boys, four whom still live at home (ages almost 19 yr old, 14 yr old, 10 yr old and 6 yr old). The three youngest never confess to anything and they all point fingers at each other. I’m also up for any advice.

Carrie M on

Wow, all this over a soda, really!? I think the REAL damage here is plasting your children’s REAL faces on the INTERENT then more or less calling them liars and potential HORRIBLE adults for all the world to see including the kids they go to school with! I call THIS HORRIBLE parenting! Get off your silly useless blog and raise your kids in PRIVATE! What a horrible thing for a mother to do! I’m horrified at YOUR actions!

Jenn on

So funny, I’ll be an “adult” in a month, by your calculations. Enjoying my last weeks of childhood.

I think each of your boys had a soda, by the way, that’s why none of them told.

Amy on

I’m betting each one took one. No confessions if everybody did it!

.b. on

All of this over sodas, sodas that you didn’t even like to begin with. I guess next time, keep the sodas out of the home. And the worrying that because they wouldn’t admit to who stole them, you’re now raising potential convicts. Dramatic much.

.b. on

This would be my advice…
1. How did your parents teach you about not lying? Do that.

2. Talk to your children about the effects of lying and that it can reflect badly on their character, i.e. the boy who cried wolf. That by lying, you can no longer trust them and by losing trust, your trust, it will make it harder for you to allow them to do things, fun things that they might like to do in the future.

And lastly, punish them. Teach them that there are consequences when you lie and are dishonest. I think parents are so afraid to punish their children nowadays, which I don’t get. You don’t have to beat your kids to punish them. You know your children well enough to know what kind of punishment would really get to them. Take away privileges, toys, electronics, tell them they can’t use the car, they won’t get an allowance. Make them pay a fine with their back allowance or put a lein on their future allowance. And if they want anything back, they have to prove themselves, first by telling the truth but also by being good. If they tell the truth right away, you could give back the whatnots or hold onto them for a period of time until they earn back your trust and get it into their heads that they should be honest.

My mother always told me, if I was bad but didn’t lie and was honest with her, my punishment wouldn’t be as severe as she initially wanted. She taught me about respect for myself, respect towards her/others, and that by lying and not being honest, people would lose respect for me, that she would lose respect towards me and wouldn’t be able to trust me. But if I was honest with her, always, we could work out any problem and there would still be trust and respect.

Taylor on

“Who had learned to lie so well that they fooled their mother?”

It’s a natural thing. 😉 I would think that kids lie more to their parents than anyone else. I hardly got caught in lies by my parents, but my friends would know if I wasn’t telling the truth in a heartbeat.

K on

Just curious if she’s been honest about her plastic surgery. She looks different than she used to.

Jo on

She looks different because she has aged. Like normal people. She is still beautiful.

a1a73569 on

Repeatedly asking your child to admit lying, or confess the truth, only gives more practice in lying. ( I once watched a teacher give a student one full hour of practice in lying about writing swear words in chalk on the tarmac!)

Consider yourself to be the parent court: Like any court, you do not need a confession in order to deal with the perpetrator of a “crime”. Like any court, you consider objective evidence and CREDIBLE testimony. If you have sufficient evidence, deal with the misdeed. If you do not, walk away but emphasize that lies damage not only our relationships with others, but how we feel about ourselves.

Be a model of honesty, yourself (including misrepresenting your child’s age to access cheaper movie tickets or air flights.)

Michael McCloskey on

Model the desired behavior… all else stems from that; if you’re a liar ( and I mean even in the littlest way that you might justify as a parent as “doesn’t count”), then the ‘honesty’ message to the children is tainted.. and they know it! There are so many creative ways to address the missing soda, the fun-est, most engaging ones are the best.

aon on

I have to agree with Carrie M. I did not read the post but I saw you on Good Morning America and something about this just strikes me as wrong. I also felt really bad for your son.

Kim on

Kids lie. That’s the truth.

Miss Kiki on

She looks beyond different, I don’t even recognize her anymore


Carrie M., please calm down.

Anyway, Lauren, I feel your pain! Especially when they dig in their heels and refuse to confess. That is so frustrating for a parent. I think it’s unrealistic for a parent to expect that their kids will never lie, and that if they do, that it’s a predictor of an adult life of crime and debauchery. Some kids lie, even the really good ones.

Anonymous on

Awe! I thought you were going to tell me that your husband was taking the soda or that you caught the culprit! Real life endings sometimes suck a little – but honestly, having raised 4 (one still a teen, the others in their twenties) my expectation is that they will make age appropriate mistakes (as even the best of us did and still do), that they do not repeat those errors in judgement, that they show remorse (or the semblance of a conscience) and never make big, over the top screw-ups (the kind that involve police, the FBI, or the like).

Reminding them that being able to trust that they behave according to my expectations whether when I am not with them means that I can trust them with the independence they crave as they get older. If you lie to me when you are little, you need to regain my trust because one day sooner than you think you are going to want to go to the movies without me. Show me I can trust you, and you have earned more freedom – show me I can’t trust you and you need more supervision. Truthfully my kids turned out to be people that make the world a better place!

Jen on

Perhaps it is not the lying moments that matter, but what you do in the other moments… or what you do when you do catch them — what your main focus/lesson is.

In 1st grade I would only bring my good papers home, and throw the rest away before I got home. When my report card did not reflect the papers I brought home, my mom asked me what happened. I explained that she was so happy when I got good grades, but upset when i got bad ones, so I threw the bad ones away. She realized that my actions were a result of her reactions. She would rather have me be honest, than focus on the grade, so she apologized, and changed her reactions, insisting I bring it all home — good or bad.

Just My Opinion on

What’s the purpose of this blog, when she still hasn’t found out which of her boys drank the soda? I saw her on Good Morning America, and seems like she’s blaming parents for your child lying. Is she blaming herself for bad parenting, since she can’t get the truth out of those boys? I have twins so it’s not that hard figuring out who’s lying. Thank away those iPads helps also.

linsey on

Raising liars or gold diggers such as yourself? TOUGH call isn’t it?

Canada on

It is very rare to have a child that has never lied growing up, it is a very normal thing especially when the pre-teen and teen years come on. When I had this probelm with my children who fight like mad but decided to come together one day in the I will not tell on you for that if you don’t tell on me for this deal. Well they got caught and let me tell you I was angry and my usual yelling at them just wasn’t going to work. I ended up going online and finding this article about liars and what kind of lives liars lead, it was really quite good. So I printed off 2 copies brought them home to 2 very scared kids who had no idea what I was gonna say or punish them with; I handed each of them the liars list and told them to read and then I called them into my room one by one and had them read the list to me so I knew it had been read and that it would sink in. I then asked how it made them feel to lie and get caught, I then told them what could have happened because of their lie (it involved leaving the house to go do something without me knowing) and I asked them how they would feel if something had happened to their sibling because of that lie and me being at work not knowing, how would they tell me? How would they feel about themselves? So after a lot of tears on their part and some on mine, I told them I was disappointed and sad (lots more tears) and then I gave them the chance to come clean about anything else with repercussions, a fresh start as lies can eat you alive I said. At any rate this has worked wonders and with no yelling etc. I have been very happy how this all worked out and appealing on the basis of their honor to themselves and me has worked out fantastically well.

amyinaoaktown on

I would punish them all (no TV, no iphone games, etc)…someone is lying. If they all know they are getting in trouble, then the guilty one will either reveal himself due to brotherly pressure or someone will step up and name him.

ann on

This isn’t just about a soda. It’s about the lying! It’s the principal of the thing. At least one of them lied right to her face. Possibly as many as all three of them lied. Not a good feeling when you want them to grow up to be good people.

My mom would have probably starting punishing all three of us (I had a brother and a sister) until someone confessed. Taking privileges away with the promise that things would be less harsh if we confessed or got the guilty party to confess.

fanny_pants on

Love it Lauren! I think kids are always going to test you by lying, it doesn’t make them bad people or unreliable. It’s just important for you to continue to remind them that lying is not tolerated under any circumstances. BUT if your kids feel like they can’t be honest with you over the smallest of things, then maybe your approach is wrong? I know my daughter would always lie over the silliest of things, but I had to keep reminding her that if she promises to tell me the truth, then i promise not to freak out. Ever since, she’s been a lot more forth coming with information! 🙂

testwemn on

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