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?

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.

lie to your kids

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!

In the Meantime – The parenting juggle – no one could have prepared you even if they tried. Do you think it’s okay to lie to your kids?

5 Comments on Is it okay to lie to your kids?

  1. I think some lies are easier than others. Like the chocolate. I hate telling my child something simple like: We’re going to the park later!

    Later comes and they’re like: When are we leaving?

    And I have no intention of going to the park. So then I either piss them off by saying that I’m tired….it’s something I HATE when I do…not following through. Making promises that I don’t keep. So I really don’t like lying to my kids, but we all do it…though I try to be as honest as I can about more sensitive/serious matters.

  2. I probably lie to my kids because it’s easier. But you are giving me a food for thought here; being mindful and respectful are important. And if they find out you lied, you basically screwed – unless it’s about chocolate.

  3. The title of this article caught my interest, because it’s something I get pretty passionate about – lying to our kids to make things easier for ourselves, or for some other reason we think is good enough.

    Parents lie to their children often – they go to work, so they tell their kids a lie so the child won’t cry. They lie about Father Christmas (this one to me is unacceptable because you’re basically teaching your children that God is not real when they find out that Father Christmas is made up).

    But as I read your article, it struck me once again that not everything is clear cut. I still don’t believe lying is ever justified, but I can see how parents would do it so their children don’t get hurt. I suppose that’s what’s called a white lie. So I get it.

    But I don’t.

  4. Honest parenting in an age appropriate language with detail depending on level of maturity. Not always easy, and specific to questions from my child.

  5. It’s a tough one. Sometimes we have to keep those fantasies alive but even then for what? This whole thing about the tooth fairy is getting to me. I mean to get that tooth out and put the money in. Then in the morning he can’t find the money and I said “It was there I promise!” he is looking confused. But we eventually found it. Honestly I can’t wait until the whole thing is over, I find it stressful!

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