Is Lying to Kids Okay?

I want to believe that I’m not the only parent who lies to her child. Recently, my 4- year old daughter has a clearer view of what lying is  and I realized that it’s time to stop using “sweet” lies when I need to make her do something I want or just to shorten things and avoid the long WHYs.

When Role Modeling as Parents Backfires

When Role Modeling as Parents Backfires

I mean my child can easily get back at me and say, ” You lie to me Mom, so why is it not okay for me to lie a little bit?” Oh, I can see her sweet smile while saying this. I’ve read several articles from Mommy boards and mom blogs and I found out that the ideas and opinions differ. It really boils down to how you handle the situation and how you explain the situation to your child. I mean is it okay to be brutally honest to a child and pop their bubbles on fairies and Santa Claus?

Where is the line between hard lies and more subtle lies we tell kids to to mislead them? 

I got lied on a lot when I was a child (I’m sure you feel the same way too!)— well not the bad lies, but the sugar coated ones. I think my parents enjoyed sneaking at night trying to put up Santa’s present on my Christmas socks and delight on my reaction when I wake up the following day; that they did not let on that the Santa I believe in,  isn’t real. Most common answer when you ask a parent why they lie to their children is – they want to protect them. Truth is, KIDS DON”T NEED THIS KIND OF PROTECTION. I know that because many times while I was growing up (or even until today) I ask myself, “Why didn’t Mom tell me about this?” or “Why was I not included on this?” or simply, “I didn’t know it was like this”. I would have known better if only my parents exposed me to some truth. No, I don’t take this against them- I love them to bits! I’m just saying, our kids can do so much better when they know the plain and simple truth rather than misleading them into a bubble wrapped world we want them to stay in to.

What are the times when you had to lie to your child?

Stop and think about it. Was there another way to do handle the scenario? I know I’m so guilty on this- BIG TIME. Like when Peaches was making a fuzz about taking a bath, I had to tell her if she doesn’t take a bath, all the cockroaches in our building will smell her and will crawl up to our house and will  go to her because cockroaches like smelly kids. Or when the time when she wouldn’t nap and I told her, her eyes will pop out because it’s so tired it needs rest.  Ekk! I know, I’m guilty, so shoot me!

It’s called PARENTING. 

It’s not so bad to lie like that to kids, I’d like to call it “Parenting” rather than outright lying. BUT, I know that how we are to our kids, they will bring this with them for life. This is also the reason why I had to step back and re think how I handle and react on such situations. I do not want to preach to my child about not lying and then doing it to her! I’m not saying we should stop lying but re think what lies we tell and why. For me, I resigned to the fact that there are truths that kids can’t handle yet. When I feel and see that my child is ready to let on the truth, I will tell her but right now, I will let her bask into her own fantasy world of fairies, mermaids, princesses and magic. Heck, I even play along with her pretend plays and her invisible friends.

What seems to work to most parents when faced by sticky situations with their kids is that they FIRE BACK A QUESTION. Like when a child asks about, “Mom did you do drugs?” (and then you did) You think the kid’s not ready to handle the truth, you ask instead “Why do you ask?” or “Is it important to know and why?” then follow up with “What do you know about drugs and its effect?”  This way you can gauge the emotional and mental capacity of the child if it’s time to have a sit down and talk about serious matter such as drugs, sex and the opposite sex.

With all these said, I vow to try doing the harder way- telling the truth if she can handle it. It’s also a good practice to avoid lying to your friends and other people you deal with. This way, less burden to think about at night.

How about you? I would really love to read your stories about how you told a fib to your child to make them to something or stop doing something! No one’s going to judge you here 🙂

About the author

Jhong

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