I am writting this as much to remember myself than anything else,but please do enjoy.
Last night the boys were not going to bed nicely. It was getting late and they were not staying in their own rooms (they have rooms opposite each other). I went up to get them to settle to find one of them had poured water into a little cup with paper in it, water was also on the bedside table. In itself no big deal and easy to clean up but I asked them who had done it so they could help. Harry said Charlie and Charlie said Harry. After a little toing and froing they understood that if neither of them owned up they would both be punished for lying and making the mess. Still no change in answers. I had my suspicions but I thought this was an ideal situation to reinforce the whole take responsibility for your actions and not to lie. It also served as a good point to get them back to bed on.
The conversation started again in the morning over breakfast. Still no change in the story. So again reiteration of problems this was causing and how they would both be punished, i.e. no TV or Wii until one of them owned up. Anyway after no progress for a few minutes Harry starts whispering to Charlie and after a moment or two Charlie owns up. Not a great result as I don't really think Charlie did it and he did not fully understand the consequences of what he was saying while Harry did.
I tried to explain what this meant to Charlie and I think he began to understand and retracted his admission (he basically said he did it but Harry did it). A bit more toing and froing and a little more whispering and suddenly Harry and Charlie both say they both did it. More over while they were saying the other one did it, this is what they were trying to say and therefore they were not lying.
They had me, and they worked together to do it!
Yes I could have pursued it but it would have got way to complicated and they both would have been punished. The issue was small in the first place which is why I chose it as an example. Hopefully a lesson had already been learned. No one lost TV or Wii time. However they also understand that poor explanation of the situation is not going to be a defence next time :)
I am glad for me lesson on life given to me each day by Harry, Charlie and Jasper :)