If you can help it, don’t lie to your children

Whether it’s saying “the park is closed” when you just want to go home or “out of cookies” when you know your child has had too many sweets, most parents know what it is like to lie to their kids. Sometimes parents may think lying to their kids is better than dealing with arguments or tantrums.

Parents may think that innocent lies and bending the truth are acceptable. However, when parents lie to their kids, it could be detrimental to them growing up. They may take these lies as truth into the real world, where people may ridicule them for believing in them.

While the decision to lie is ultimately up to the parents, some believe that parents have to stick to not lying to their children. Parents must either take the time to explain to their children what the situation is, let the children know what the case is and tell them you’ll explain later, or let the children know that you don’t feel they are ready for that discussion and explain why you think like that.

You may be surprised how your children can understand and appreciate your honesty and imperfection. It’s better to say, “We can’t go to the park today because Mommy is too tired. Maybe we can go on Friday” rather than say that the park is closed. The only catch is that the agreed day is a contract you can’t break. You should always hold your end of the deal. 

Also, keep in mind not to be upset when your young child starts lying to you any chance they get. It’s a part of their development and shouldn’t be judged by the same standards. You can talk to your child then and tell them that they can be honest with you and that you can be trusted. 

The best way to create more honesty is to be an example; remember that honest parents raise honest kids. And yes, parenting includes a lot of trial and error. Still, the most challenging conversations are better made between a parent and a child. Of course, things need to be age-appropriate, but it doesn’t mean you have to lie to your child if it’s harder to explain. Children need to understand the world’s truth, but it’s up to you to decide which information you share and how you share it.

People don’t want to be lied to, and we especially don’t want our children to lie, so, if you can help, avoid lying to your children. The world is chaotic enough for a child, and they look to their parents for stability. Discovering that your parents lied to you later in life can shake up the reality of who you thought they were.

At the end of the day, you know your child best. Every situation will be different but lying may leave your child wondering if people think they aren’t smart enough to understand or not worth the trouble of explaining things. Neither is a good feeling. So, again, if you can help it, do not lie to your children.