Not too long ago, I flipped out because my daughter kept something from me, something I felt I should know. (I wrote about it here.) I later thought about how I am constantly trying to teach my child “life lessons” by example, like learning how to love the skin you are in. Mostly I feel pretty strongly about it in most instances, but when confronted with whether I lie to my kids, I wasn’t as confident about the answer. Which brings me to my next question – is it okay to lie to your kids?
To be honest, right off the top of my head, I do. I lie to my kids. Sometimes I come home from the work with a chocolate I bought with the intention of eating in the car on the way home, alone and in peace. Someone finds it in my bag, and I pipe up – “Yes, mommy bought that for you”. I may even when something goes horribly wrong, pretend that that’s how I planned for it to go. (This is fun – every mom should try it!)
I see you right there nodding your head as you think of instances you have told white lies. The lies, we can justify. The ones that make tantrums, preteen drama and home life just a little bit simpler, easier, and more manageable. Is this damaging to them? I guess if you think about them as young adults, knowing that their favourite pet fish died 5 times, before you forgot to replace him in time. Which resulted in the shock and horror – and a little backyard funeral. Your kids probably won’t be as concerned, that you flushed Nemo down the toilet each time, and it probably won’t damage them for life.
There are however lies that will. I remember when Emilie was a lot younger and she would ask me about her dad and I. Why other parents were together and we weren’t. I remember trying to figure out how I was going to tell her that sometimes things don’t work out. Coming from a divorced home myself, I know how important it is to be as factual as possible. This without swaying the truth in your favour no matter how hard it is.
What am I trying to say? Well – lying to your kids is ultimately your decision, your parenting, your way. I don’t know that I can confidently answer if it’s okay except to say that we will all have differences in terms of our relationships with our children. Based on that only you will know when it is okay to lie to your kids. When the truth is too much, or when the lie will cause them pain later.
I do personally though want to stay mindful of the fact that I respect this relationship, I want to create a mutual trust between us. Having said that, I need to be careful about if I do choose to lie to my kids – why and how. For me it’s not okay. Do you have any hard and fast rules you stick to with regard this? I’d love to hear your comments!