It gained its name thanks to my oldest child. Someone had decided to do some scribble art on our wall. My husband asked who wrote with a black pen all over the wall. It was fervently denied by both her and her brother. Caught in the act later, we asked why she lied? Her response – I didn’t; it was a blue pen. Hence the black pen/blue pen phenomenon.It may be because I teach English that my children are so aware of how to use language to get around things. This, however, is a bad thing. Most recently it was about smoking. Why teenagers choose to try smoking being fully aware of all the dangers and nastiness associated with it is beyond me! Believe me, we’ve gone out of our way to educate them about why it is wrong.
Anyhow, that discernable smell began appearing on my oldest son’s clothes. I ask – Are you smoking? No, mom! My friends smoke, I don’t. Then other signs, cigarette pack in the car, the occasional butt on the ground, lighters – are you smoking? No, Mom, it’s my friends. Finally, caught in the act by a friend. Are you smoking? No, Mom. How can you say that, you’ve been seen doing it? Mom – I smoke occasionally. I’m not smoking. Smoking implies I do it all the time and am addicted. I’m not.Yes – he knows what he is doing. Yes, my heart broke a little.
So what does a parent do that has children who use the blue pen/black pen phenomenon to circumvent the truth:1. Stay vigilant
2. Try lots of different wording when asking questions
3. Check their text messages
4. Look for signs (you know in your gut the truth)
5. Look them dead in the eye
6. Explain that trust is a valuable commodity they will not quickly get back
7. Pray (actually this should first and after each on the list)
I hate having to be a detective parent. It’s worse though to be naive. Teens will get into situations they knowingly shouldn’t. We hope and pray we can trust them to do the right thing and to be honest when they don’t. However, that isn’t always the way it works out – even with the best of parenting. Trust your gut moms and dads! It doesn’t lie, and it doesn’t differentiate between black and blue.