Is It Possible to Never Lie to Your Kids?
I always told myself I'd never become one of those people who lies to her kids. No one lied to me -- I got the truth straight up whether I liked it or not -- and I came to expect such behavior from everyone else. I am not going to get into the intricacies about what's wrong with viewing the world this way, besides the many nights sitting up crying, but despite that, I still value honesty. Complete and total, brutal, painful honesty.
Turns out, however, I've become (with the help of other mothers, of course) a bit of a liar with my kids.
The lies are mostly benign and generally in the best interest of my children, you know, as in, "Sorry, honey, no. We don't have any more cookies," or the ever-popular, "Caillou's all over! Time for bed!" Some will say it's a necessary evil, and I guess on some level it is, but it feels so wrong.
I've heard the old, "The ice cream truck plays music when it's out of ice cream!" enough times now that I've begun to believe it. I'm starting to think the Tooth Fairy will really show up my house. But I wonder: What is this teaching our kids? Are they old enough to remember the lies, and if so, will they feel betrayed when they learn the truth? I remember my cousin, bitter thing that she was, one day telling me, matter-of-factly, that Santa was not real, turning on her heel, and walking away. But I wasn't broken up about it. I'm pretty sure I didn't suffer any emotional trauma there. Plus, I kept getting gifts.
But back to my own children. I often tell my son, when it's extra difficult to corral him to bed or a nap, that, "Momma forgot which room is yours. Again! Can you believe that? Mom's so silly! Do you know which one is yours? I'd hate to put Michael in Matthew's bed by accident." And it works. Every time. He leads me up to his room, shows me Michael's, and everyone gets to sleep. And each time I see him smile and begin heading towards me at the gate, I feel a twinge of guilt.
So, I guess my question is, is it possible to raise children successfully and tell them the truth ALL THE TIME? I just don't know. But I'll tell you what I do know: Trying to rationalize with a toddler is fruitless and exhausting. And what will happen when I am trying to rationalize with all three? My twins will be two in a mere six months. What then?
I'm not a good liar. Ask anyone who knows me. I'm also all about valor and doing the right thing, even if it's not the most comfortable or convenient choice. That's just the way I am. Which is the reason for all this cognitive dissonance.
If I didn't lie to my son, though, here's what would happen:
"It's time for bed."
"Let's head on up to bed."
"No! Hahahaha," jacked up on sixteen chocolate chip cookies and four glasses of chocolate milk.
"We need to go to bed now."
"No way!" (chuckles, then kicks one of the twins over)
(Maniacal laugh, trips over foot while running in circles, falls down, starts crying)
And then I nurse his wounds, and then take him up to bed.
So, in the interest of avoiding unnecessary boo-boos, keeping the pantry stocked with enough food for everyone, and being sure my children get enough sleep (which is kind of a joke around here), I am thinking that a light sprinkling of untruths may not be so bad after all. I can only hope that he appreciates that I'm doing everything within my power to ensure his health and happiness, and eventually finds it in his heart to forgive me. See that? That's Mom guilt right there. My next project.
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Photo Credit: mckln.