Don’t Just Accept the Quick Answer
You gotta love our impulsive, distracted kids. So often, when we ask them a question, their first answer to us isn't always “fact.” Typically, they don't mean to be dishonest, they are just answering fast to get on to the next exciting thing (or to get us off their back). So they say the first thing that pops into their head, a quick answer to move on. They're not exactly processing the information like we assume they are.
Also, on some level, they really believe that they actually sent off the homework in an email to their teacher, or fed the dog, or brushed their teeth, or whatever it was they said they did. They may even "remember" doing it – but that memory could be from a time long ago, in another circumstance.
This is a real challenge area for us as parents – we were actually talking about it with coaches just this week. We want our kids to be honest, and it feels like they're lying. We want to teach them to be truthful, but still respect that their intention may not be "bad" at all.
So, the next time you get a quick answer, instead of just taking it in (and then getting frustrated when it isn't fact), get curious. Ask a simple question that will ground them in what really happened, like – "Great, how can you double check?" Or, "Thanks. Just out of curiosity, when did you do it, since I've seen you sitting at the table doing your homework for the last 20 minutes?" This will help them to stop, think, and process what they think they did, and get them to communicate what actually happened.
You can help build your relationship with your child, and teach the fine art of double-checking, all at the same time!