Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lie to Me: Do You Do It?

Yea, I do it. So what of it??

Apparently you're not supposed to lie to your children, according to experts cited in this article. Apparently we are shielding our kids from the harsh realities of the real world when we tell them a little fib, like saying that they did great at the recent school concert, or the proverbial "good try" that we all shout at our kids' soccer/hockey/baseball/football games. We're damaging the poor souls by perpetuating these types of fibs. 

Are these "experts" for real?

I can't imagine providing the sobering truth to my kids right from the outset, not offering them support or a loving nudge in the right direction. Because isn't that what I'm supposed to do as a parent? Help them find their way, give them some encouragement (albeit based on a half-truth in some instances) and generally provide them loving support. We're apparently supposed to open up the doors to the harsh realities of the real world as early as possible and where we might have said "you did a really good job on this drawing, Johnny," we're now obliged to say something like "Your picture is ugly and you'll never make it as an artist." Okay, perhaps not so harshly, but you get the point.

Image courtesy of
Most of us lie to our kids all the time, in one way or another. Just last night, I made a huge deal about my son Erik making a poo in the toilet. "Great work, Erik!!," I screamed. I even called in the rest of the family to observe and to make Erik realize that using the "big toilet" was a big deal. Okay, using your bowels on a toilet is not "great work" but it helped facilitate the toilet training and the light at the end of the tunnel: no more Pull-Ups and better yet, no more "accidents." So there is definitely a practical purpose to some of the lies that we tell, that's for sure. What about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? By these experts' rationales, we should eliminate these folks as well, no? They say not to lie to our kids and lets face it, these lies are pretty big, as we perpetuate them for years. Do they damage our kids? Some would say "yes," but many others would say "no," as they provide a sense of fantasy and anticipation. We find out the truth at some point and I'd venture to guess that most of us are not scarred as a result. 

In case it's not completely clear in this post, I'm advocate of telling my kids "little white lies" for the sake of support, adventure and, sometimes, my sanity. Call me a bad parent, so be it.

What do you think? Do you lie to your kids? Why or why not? Should we stop lying to our kids? Can't wait to hear your feedback.


Holly Ann said...[Reply]

People who say they never lie to their kids are liars. ;)

Samantha said...[Reply]

@Holly Ann
So true, Holly - so true!!

Rachel Howells said...[Reply]

It is refreshing to read some commonsense from a real mother and not this nonsense from the so-called "experts". As mothers it is our job to help our children feel secure about themselves so that when the world DOES throw harsh realities at them they don't fall apart. We are their safe zone. I don't call them lies, I call them confidence builders so that we are able to send out into the world well functioning human beings, capable of dealing with whatever life throws at them.

Another thought-provoking post!

Rachel :-)

Samantha said...[Reply]

@Rachel Howells Thanks so much for your kind words, Rachel.

I agree- our role as parents means that we provide a safe place for our kids to well as building them up in the name of providing them the tools to grow their self-confidence and self-esteem. To this end, I think it's important to sometimes tell these "white lies" as they do more good than bad, in my opinion. Life is harsh enough - why make it more difficult for them unnecessarily?

Thanks for your comment :)

Make Mommy Chic said...[Reply]

Hi, I am guilty of telling 'half-truths' to my kids. Like when they ask me if there is any chocolate in the cupboard I say no (knowing damn well there's a king size Mars bar in there with my name on it). As parents, we can't tell the truth 100% of the time, it's impossible. I also tell my kids that I have eyes in the back of my head, and see everything, and that scares the hell out of them and I don't care that it's not the truth. Put it this way, no kid will ever be emotionally scarred from some white lies that their parents have told them. For example, when was the last time you heard an adult telling their therapist 'my parents lied to me about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny- that's why I'm so screwed up now'? People really need to chill. There are more important things to worry about out there :)

Samantha said...[Reply]

@Make Mommy Chic
HI Sharon, I'm totally with you on this one. I don't know how a person could get through parenthood without telling a number of little white lies. If you don't then THAT'S when your kid will be scarred for life, hands down! I have no apologies about doing what's best for my childrens' self esteem and if it's a bad thing according to the "experts," oh, well!

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