Why I Don’t Lie to My Baby

May 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm 2 comments

Over at Kveller, Carla Naumburg has a funny little post about all the lies she tells her kids, from promising they can go to the zoo “tomorrow” (aka “never”) to pretending there are no more crackers in the house.  But although it might be funny to convince your kid that the ice-cream truck is the “pretty music truck” this approach can backfire.

Lying is an easy way to keep unpleasant situations at bay, but it cheats your children out of dealing with real life.  When Mom says “Fluffy went to live on a farm,”  the kids don’t get an important lesson on dealing with grief. (As an aside, my husband’s dog, Zelda, was actually sent to a farm in Vermont, but he always assumed his parents were hiding the awful truth!)  If you don’t want your child to have cookies, don’t tell her you’re out of them, just say she can’t have them.  Or better yet, say yes and have a cookie for dessert.

If you get in the habit of lying, when will you stop?  When the kids are too young to catch your lies, it might seem harmless to use lying as a tool, but how will you know when they are old enough to see through your fabrications?  Best case scenario your favorite parenting tool is now worthless.  Worst case?  Your children learn not to trust a word you say.  What happens when they are humiliated at the park when they learn why the pretty music truck is covered in ice cream stickers?

I can’t guarantee that I’ll never lie to my kid(s), and I fully expect they’ll lie to me. But I hope to keep honesty the default setting, at least for now.  Luckily, I have time to practice:  I figure I have at least another year before my little guy knows how to ask to go to the zoo.

Do you lie to your kids?  Has it ever backfired?

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tim  |  May 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Hey Laura,

    I dig your blog. I don’t even have kids and am interested in what you write. I even read Cameron’s too. Good stuff. Keep it up. I see you being really successful at this.

    Tim

    Reply
  • 2. Heidi  |  May 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I don’t lie to Tyler, well not on purpose or that I can remember. It probably also helps that he hasn’t learned to ask why yet! But I’m not planning on lying to him as a parenting tool. I do find myself using the same phrases over and over again now that he is 2…..not yet, wait, take turns, share, all done, no more.
    I’m pretty sure that when I tell him no more cake, he’s all done, he knows we have more cake in the house but he doesn’t get anymore right now.
    When I can’t stand listening to another Raffi song in the car, I tell him it’s mommy’s turn for music. I guess when he learns to ask why I’ll tell him it’s because we take turns, not because Raffi’s broken or napping or annoying me at the moment.

    Reply

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