Staying honest and balancing our maternal instincts, that’s good parenting.
Lie To My Children? I Don’t think I did.
We have reached active adult status over 55 years old. Some of us think our kids did okay in spite of us. We parented them to our best and brought them up to be honest citizens.
Oh, but really?
Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny all of the magical traditions. And how babies are made, about death, scary news events or whether we ever smoked cigarettes?
Anyone parent knows that preserving the magic for as long as possible and comforting a child are two parenting skills that gave us a great joy. It is difficult to understand how a parent can feel that “never” lying is the final answer. Read this article: Comforting your child is a core responsibility of parenting, and of course I do—but not at the expense of the truth.
A lie to my children is not the same as using a parenting skill to avoid the truth at times.
In reality, using our rear view mirror, we did this best by being skilled at avoiding the truth, not by declaring we refused to lie to our children.
With four children, I had plenty of time to consider how not to say “Yes, Santa and the Easter Bunny are real!!!!” We practiced an art form to move the conversation along to new topics.
Let the “truth” come to them from their experience as a child grows. It is not up to us to be in the forefront of forcing “truths” on them. Finding that the Easter Bunny is not real will be one of the easiest truths to absorb when compared to the realities they will be exposed to as they grow into this world.
The scale tips in the other direction at least for two situations.
This little lie to your children that can cause big harm.
This one is poison.
When parents lie for their own purposes. Sometimes it’s easier to lie to kids than listen to them whine, cry or throw a tantrum. A deception, a fake promise, is not for the child’s betterment, it’s just a parent coming up with a lazy answer.
When is a child is old enough to handle the truth?
This one, however, is so complicated that you almost never find the right answer.
A relative’s death, a parent’s death, the death of a pet…all are so distinctly different and require the skill of a parent agonizing, watching and hoping for the best for their child.
We all went through this trying to figure out what part of the story will be most alarming for the child. And trying to figure out how deep that alarm may be. And then trying to help them settle with the facts they are absorbing.
We all had different versions of the truth. Every parent knows it is wrong to get tied up in “you should never lie to your child.” A pet, parent and relative all need to be treated differently.
It’s not lying folks, it’s called being a parent and each of us doing the best we could.