Is It Okay To Lie To Your Kids?

The earliest lie I remember telling my daughter was that the dead bug she found in the garden was actually sleeping!

We all do it. Lie to our kids so that life becomes easier, not just for us but for the kids too! But is it an acceptable form of parenting? We believe not. Parents lie about death, bad news, etc to protect their children. But in reality, children understand much more than we think! Whether we like it or not!

So what’s the alternative? Read on to find some alternatives to lies which we put together for you.

If you don’t do this, I will…

Making up a consequence and threatening your kids with it is negative reinforcement. For example, ”If you don’t listen to Mamma, the monster will come and take you away”

Alternative: Motivate instead of threaten. Kids can eventually see through our attempts and will not trust our responses in future. Instead use positive reinforcement. “If you listen to mommy, we can play together in the sand pit” (or substitute with something your child likes doing.)

The Cover-Up Lie

Sometimes we lie to make things easier for us too. For example, when you don’t want to buy that unnecessary toy in the supermarket a typical response is “I've forgotten my wallet at home.”

Alternative: We agree that this is an easier response. I mean who wants a wailing child in the middle of a supermarket! But instead of avoiding creating a scene, tell your child the truth. “I think you have enough toys so you don’t need anymore. But we can have an ice-cream together” It’s better to tell the truth and allow your child to experience and live through the feelings of controlling their impulse.

Different rules for children

You hated math as a kid, but want your child to love math, so you tell him/her “I loved math as a kid” in a bid to have him/her take to it.

Alternative: Don’t be tempted into this kind of lying because honestly it won’t really affect the kids’ opinion of Math and you will be wasting your precious words. Instead, don’t say anything. When they realize on their own whether they want to love or hate or remain neutral towards math, respect that feeling.

The Protective Lie

“Daddy and I are not fighting, we’re just talking..” Shielding children from uncomfortable circumstances will never teach them to confront such situations later in life.

Alternative: Instead, state facts. “Daddy and I are having a discussion and we don’t seem to agree.” Follow your child’s lead. If telling only a bit of truth seems to satisfy him/her, leave it at that. Else, keep giving facts till he/she appears satisfied.

And finally, no matter what your kids ask you, try to answer their questions truthfully. Keep answers simple, don’t overburden them with lots of unnecessary information.

At MLZS, we believe that every child is born with an inherent integrity that always makes him/her say the truth. That is why children are so innocent and truthful most of the times. We strive to keep the inherent integrity of every child intact through role modeling. Our teachers and our entire staff lives through this value every single day.