I think most moms can agree that they have lied to their kid a time or two.
There are times when we have to fib a little. Times when your kid is having a tantrum and you say things that aren’t true to get her to do what you need her to do at that moment.
For example, if your daughter fights to get dressed in the morning, you might say something like – “well, we will just go naked, then. Come on.” She starts freaking out and crying that she can’t go naked. And you know darn well, you would NEVER allow your child to leave the house in her birthday suit. But, you are trying to scare the bejesus out of her. So, you resort to low levels. And you are so thankful that she realizes this too. Because if she was totally on board with going naked — you’d have to come up with something else at 7 a.m.
Or when you are brushing her hair, and she is twisting and turning and whining about how bad it hurts (if you would only stay still, child – you repeat. repeat. repeat) until you resort to, “we will just cut it all off then.” And she cries the big, “noooooo.” Then she sits as still as she can. Problem solved.
Another example of parental fibbing is when Christmas is near, you might say, “Santa is not going to stop at our house this year if you keep being naughty.” What a lie, mom! You know there is no fat man in a red suit running around to everyone’s house on Christmas Eve to deliver presents. It’s all a Big. Fat. Lie. You play it along anyway though. You follow the tradition of your parent(s) and everyone else and speak of these non-existent characters; Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy. You do it at times to coerce better behavior, to make them feel better about losing a tooth (the Tooth Fairy is coming!) But, it’s a lie. And it’s not a bad thing. The white lies are universal for all – in every parents’ arsenal. It does feel weird at times to talk about Santa and to get a picture with the creepy Easter Bunny, because we know the truth. And we are in fact lying to our children. But, we tell ourselves its make-believe. We want them to believe in magic. Though, one day, it all catches up with us. One day, when they are old enough to not believe any longer, we tell them — the truth. They get upset. And rightfully so. They wonder why we led them on with such tales. And why do we? It’s not to manipulate or deceive them. Merely, we do it because its tradition. It bestows creativity. Wonderment.
So, when do the fibs turn into hurtful lies? Is it OK for a mom to lie to hide the truth for something that embarrasses her? Be it something from her past she is ashamed of? Or to lie about family events that never occurred, but she says did. About things that were supposedly said but never were. Lies that over time become real in the owner’s mind. Lies that you see now as an adult but didn’t as a child. Lies that were told because you were a kid, and you didn’t know any better.
I never want to be the mom that lies to my girls about something I did or didn’t do to make myself seem better. I will always tell them the truth when they ask me personal questions about sex, drugs, alcohol, and life in general. I will be the best example I can – good or bad because no one is perfect. And lies will not serve them but will haunt them. I will not manipulate the truth. The truth will be what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.
Mothers have the most important work of all. We give life. We nurture. We should be the ones that our children can always go to for anything. We should always speak the truth, even when it hurts. When a mother lies to her child, a trust is broken. A heart is bruised. Children look to us for trust, love, respect and most importantly — guidance. We should give them precisely that. In raw form.