My friend Laura recently realized she was lied to by her mother when she was young. Laura used to find her crayon drawings in the garbage can. Her mother told her the reason why she threw them away was because a spider walked on it. Another friend Jessica’s mother told her that if she picks her nose her nose will get bigger. These moms were obviously trying to protect their children with their innocent lies. Protection is a common reason for lying to our children. In my mind, that makes it ok to lie.
What about when Jessica herself became a mother and told her son the reason bad guys are mean is because they did not take a nap? Or when her son was afraid of ghosts in his room they told him that when they built the house Daddy ghost proofed the room? I like to call these lies just plain Creative. As parents, we have to be creative to maintain the harmony in our household. Life is just plain easier when we can throw in a few innocent lies.
But sometimes I wonder how our lies affect our children? Do we tell them impulsively without any thoughts of the consequences? What are the consequences?
We were lied to in elementary school. It wasn’t until college that I learned that Christopher Columbus did NOT discover America. Why do our schools lie about this? Do we really think our children lack the emotional maturity to understand the truth?
I do not lie to Jackson very much. HA! Let me re-type that. I like to think I don’t lie very much. As I write this, I will
probably tell him a lie later today. I like to think I tell half-truths because they are more age appropriate for a 4 year old. Yeah, that’s it.
“We cannot get a cat, Mommy is allergic.”
Although I am allergic, that is not a lie. However, the primary reason we are not getting a cat is that I.do.not.want.one. There is a part of me that feels like I’m crushing his youth by lying to him. That I’m holding him back from life experiences. Am I also holding him back from forming free thoughts? On the other hand, maybe I am encouraging him to question the world in search of the truth.
Regardless of our reasons for lying to our children, we, as parents, should not beat ourselves up over it. I have to think it is a part of childhood to be told innocent lies by our parents. I mean, at one point in our lives we all believed in Santa Claus, correct?