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MANN: When is it OK to lie to your children?

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October 11, 2018 - 12:00 PM

OPINION


I have always had difficulty lying.
 
When I lie, no matter how small a lie, it makes me feel like I’ve done something really bad and it’s going to cause a domino effect.

And the longer I live with the lie, the harder it is to move on.

Just ask my close friends and family. Even when I do find myself stretching the truth, it is not uncommon for me to return to the scene of the crime and admit to the lie minutes, hours, or days later.
 
And I don’t think it is a terrible quality to have.
 
But I also know that sometimes lying is easier than telling the truth, or has a purpose.
 
There are moments when we have all chosen to lie, and if you say that simply isn’t the truth, well I know for a fact that you are telling a big old fib.
 
When it comes to children, I understand why the lies from parents can come quite easily and frequently — and I've seen and heard them.
 
But we also have to realize children are surprisingly smart (and they are hearing not only the words coming out of our mouths, but they are watching our body language).

Sometimes we tell our children that the candy they smell on our breaths isn’t candy at all, but rather toothpaste.

When we are tired of battles over the TV, the TV becomes ‘broken.’
 
And when our children struggle, fail or are rejected, we often lie to them to cushion the blow
 
And let’s not forget about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the going rate from the Tooth Fairy for teeth.
 
We all have justifications for some of our lies right?
 
I mean really if you think about it, we spend an awful lot of time lying to our kids.
 
And then I start to wonder, if I lied to my husband, even once, and was caught in that lie, how would that affect our relationship?
 
Does the intention of the lie make it OK? Does the end justify the means?

Let’s face it, most of the time we lie to our children because we want to protect them.

We want to ease their anxieties, strengthen their self-confidence and help them have a little fun and a little magic in this life.

But we also have to be aware that trust is the most important factor in building a successful relationship with a sister, friend, boyfriend, or dog (just to name a few).

So wouldn’t the same be said for a child?

For the most part, I don’t see the harm in little white lies, especially when they come with good intentions. But children are building relationships right from the womb, and although they might not be angry when they find out you have lied to them and forgive, they may be hesitant to trust you again.

— Becky Mann is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking, She knows there is so much more to come and is looking forward to the continued adventure.


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