Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why would you lie to your children?

"Shhh! Stop that! If you don't be stop that right now, the Boogey Monster is going to come and get you!"

This is what I heard a man telling the toddler in his arms. Seriously! That is what he said!
Why would you lie to your children? Why!?
I think that lying to your child is a terrible parenting method. If you can even call it a method. 
It teaches your children that it's okay to lie.  
Some day they will grow up and realize that there is no such thing as a boogey monster, but you told them there was! So it must be okay to lie. We all know that kids learn best by example. They mimic all the adults and other people around them.  Have you ever seen a toddler pick up a phone, hold it to their ear, and start pacing while jabbering?  Yeah, that's what Mom and Dad do.  And if you lie to them to get them to do what you want??? That's asking for trouble! They will start doing the same - lying to get what they want.
In this case, I think that the parent is also telling his child that he is not important or valuable to him (the parent).  I doubt that the man stopped to wonder why his child was complaining.
If he was hungry, tired, or needed a diaper change, and he was letting Dad know, the response he got from Dad just told him that his needs are not valid.  What a way to build self esteem!

A few years back, Dean and I were planning on going out with the other grown-ups in the family, and we were all leaving our kids at Grandma's with a babysitter. As we were getting ready to go, one of the kids asked, "Where are you going?"
Someone immediately jumped in and said, "Nowhere." 
As if that was going to work! They realized that and said something like, "Oh nowhere fun, they're just going to the doctor to get shots."
First of all, kids have an uncanny ability to see through lies, whether they are big or small ones.
Second of all, I don't lie to my kids. Period.
"No," I said, "We are going out."
I explained to the kids in a simple, matter of fact way where and why we were going, gave them my expectations of them, and told them when we'd be back home.
The kids accepted our reason (with a few tears I'm sure) but they knew it was the truth! 

Here is an added benefit of us always telling our kids the truth, especially when we are leaving them: 
they start to think of others!
While at the lake this past summer, Dean and I were taking turns bringing the kids out on the inflatable boat. My oldest piped up, "Mom, next time you and Dad go on a date, you should come to the lake so you can go boating together."

That day he put a grin on my face that still surfaces when I think about it!

because what's a post without a picture?

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