As a parent, you expect total honesty from your children. The tables might turn, however, when they expect the same from you – and you aren’t necessarily comfortable with that.
There are times when it’s perfectly acceptable to tell a small fib, because your ultimate goal as a parent is to help protect them. Don’t worry about being a hypocrite.
Ultimately, these small “lies” are okay to tell your children.
1. Yes, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny do exist…!
Young children enjoy believing in the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and other mythical creatures that we all know don’t really exist. If your child enjoys believing, play along!
Yes, there will come a time when your child is exposed to non-believers, and another kid at school or an older sibling might try to expose the truth. If your child seems genuinely upset, tell him that people believe different things and it’s okay if others don’t necessarily believe in the same things he does.
If, on the other hand, your child seems perplexed and wonders how Santa Claus can possibly visit every child in the entire world, he’s probably ready to hear the truth. Use your head – you know your child better than anyone else, so you should be able to tell when it’s okay to tell the truth or keep the fantasy going.
2. Where do Babies Come from?
Children seem to be asking this question a lot earlier these days, but base your answer on how old your child is as well as their maturity level.
You don’t need to out and out lie (please don’t tell your child that babies come from magical rainbows or birds or any such nonsense,) but do tailor your response based on how capable they are of understanding the facts.
For example, it’s perfectly fine to tell younger children that babies happen when two people really love each other and leave it at that. Older kids are often more curious, so you may have to decide which facts they can handle and which to leave out.
3. Family Issues
An illness, job loss, divorce or other family issues happen. Your child will be able to tell that something is going on, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them every detail.
In the case of a divorce or illness, let them know the basic facts but try to give it a positive spin no matter how old your kids are. If a beloved grandparent is in the hospital, it’s okay to tell your kids that the doctors are doing all they can to make sure Grandma/Grandpa comes home safe.
Sharing needless information that will only make your child worry about problems he can’t control won’t help, so give only the barest information they need to hear.
4. Mommy, did you ever try drugs?
If you aren’t sure your child is old enough to handle the truth, try to spin the answer to this question in a different way. Instead of telling your child simply not to use drugs, tell them why it would be a bad idea and how you feel about the issue. This allows your children to understand the dangers of drugs without you having to give up your privacy when they may not be old enough to handle all of the facts yet.
While honesty is always the best policy, certain fibs may be necessary to help nurture and protect your child. Children don’t always have the capabilities to handle the entire truth, so use your best judgment to know when a little white lie might be the best course to take.