Thursday, October 27, 2011
You Should Never Lie To Your Children
Think of the most difficult things you have to explain to your children – sex, debt, violence, divorce/breakup of relationships, life, love, career choice, death, (if you think of any others, feel free to comment). Now I want you to think about what and how you are going to explain these difficult parts of life. All of these things are part of our culture whether we like it or not, and for some, the hardest part to accept is that they all lead to the same place. Is it a blessing that I have experience with all these things? Not really, but I think I would rather be aware of what’s coming instead of being completely blind-sided and unable to adequately react.
Your child is exposed to all kinds of stimuli, some of it we can control, others we can’t. I think the mission of a good parent is to position himself or herself to be an objective sounding board to a child’s questions, so that a parent can give solid and truthful answers, and also get solid and truthful answers in return. “Solid and truthful” does not mean laying out every fact or opinion - it means giving just enough information to answer the question and leaving the door open to further discussion. This allows the child to formulate their own opinions and make decisions for themselves. Over time, their opinions may not match your own, but the world is an ever-changing place. The job of a parent is to care for and prepare their children for their own future, and what the children choose to make of their lives should wholly be their own. We also teach that every decision has a consequence, and by that, attempt to set reasonable limits to their decisions. Someday, people may be able to fly when they jump off the roof, but until humanity learns to defy gravity and physics, isn’t it safer to leave flying to the birds and aircraft?
There is the impulse to skew or stretch the truth to suit a parent’s personal needs. FIGHT IT! Your children may not be academic whizzes, but they’re a lot smarter than they may let on. The questions they ask may not be so much to get an answer as they are a test to see if they can trust you. If you do not answer with love and your whole heart, children ( and savvy parents) can smell a lie from miles away. A child’s behavior is modeled directly from how a parent acts and what s/he will permit. You cannot teach what you do not practice yourself. If truth is what you seek, truth is what you must reasonably spread.
Don’t lie, folks, don’t lie.