Friday, November 13, 2009

Do You Lie To Your Kids?

I’m not talking about BIG lies, just little ones. For instance, a few weeks ago I told Tysen that we were going to visit a farm the following day. He was quite eager and kept insisting we go that day to visit the farm that afternoon. I told him that we couldn’t go because the farm was closed, which was probably not true. The truth was we couldn’t go because it was cold and rainy and getting dark outside, and the farm was over 30 minutes away. He doesn’t quite understand that these things prevent us from playing outside, so I doubted he would see it as a reason to not visit a bunch of animals and plants. It seemed reasonable to tell him simply that the farm was closed, because that he can fully understand.

I related this story to college age coworker and he had a different take on the situation. I can’t recall his exact logic, but it made sense in a surprising way; this gist of which was that Tysen inherently trusts what I tell him to be the truth and I am violating that trust by not giving him the full story. I didn’t go into the exact detail with Tysen, because it was mostly for my benefit and not his, I didn’t want to deal with the not understanding of the situation.
This was not the first time I’ve told Tysen an untruth: I’ve told him that he can’t play outside because the outside has gone to bed, and he understand that. When in truth, it’s too dark and too cold for him to be running around outside.

Most of the untruths are things that I cannot change, like weather conditions or a relative not being home that maybe he wants to visit. And Tysen believes me and trusts that what I’m telling him is true. Is it possible I am taking advantage of that trust? I know there will be a day when he won’t believe anything I say, because how could a mom possibly know, right?

I’ve never really considered another side until my coworker mentioned it. So now I’m wondering if there could be a better way.


2 Awesome Comments:

Jan said...

Little white lies like "we can't go to the farm because it is closed" is NOT violating the trust your child has in you. I'm guessing your college-age friend is childless and has never had an hour-long conversation with a 2-year-old about why he cannot do something - a conversation that is likely to end with a frustrated parent saying "Because I said so!" Even a very small child knows he can refute "It's too dark and cold and rainy for us to go outside" with "No it's not!" But that outside has gone to bed? Bedtimes are an absolute for most toddlers; case closed.

I suggest you approach this college-aged person in ten years, after he's got a kid or two underfoot and see what he says about "We can't go to the store for the toy right now; the car has gone beddy-bye for the night" as a reasonable weapon in the parental arsenal.

Steph said...

I probably will do just that. :) It's hard to see the little man so upset when he can't do something, I think trying to reason (ie, explain the entire logic/truth) with him would only make it worse.

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