“If you keep doing that, your face will freeze that way.” How many times did we hear THAT when we were little? And did we believe it? Most times, we were too scared to test it out, so yes, in a way, I suppose we did. But why did our parents tell us these lies? Was it to avoid having to discipline us? Was it to scare the shit out of us? In either case, it worked. I guess I wonder now, as a mom myself, when I should be telling my kids little white lies to protect them or save myself the battle.
We probably lie a lot on a daily basis. Without even realizing it, we lie to our kids, significant others, ourselves. If I suck in my stomach, this shirt won’t look quite so tight. No, honey, I don’t mind if you go golfing today instead of spending quality time with us. If you keep standing on that, you’ll break it. Whether we are trying to save face, protect someone or something, or just fed up with the usual, we lie. Sometimes the battle just isn’t worth it. Now, where exactly do we draw the line with our kids? Ourselves and our significant others, well, that’s not as big of a deal as lying to our kids, right?
Please don’t do that, you two will end up getting hurt. Mommy doesn’t want you to do that, you’ll break it. If you don’t eat that now, you’ll be hungry before it’s time for snack. Usually I am right with the first suggestion. Not always, as my kids have started to point out to me lately (“no we won’t mommy”). The second one is definitely a sort of lie, because I don’t honestly know if they’ll break it. But having that threat there, and the 1% chance or times it actually does break, I can point it out to them (“see, I told you it would break”). The last one, I am usually right; I get the “I’m hungry, mommy, can we have snack?” only about an hour after we finish breakfast because they didn’t eat it all or didn’t want that much (it’s happening right now, actually, that my youngest is FLIPPING out about eating their bagel). Sometimes we guess as to what might happen, which I suppose makes them little white lies, to protect our loved ones from doing something that might actually hurt them or simply stop them from annoying the piss out of us. In either case, when should we stop telling lies? However small they are, could they be detrimental to our kids?
I don’t think that little lies are that bad, especially if we tell them to truly protect our kids. We really don’t want our child to fall and split their head open, so saying they will hurt themselves while standing on the chair might not be a bad lie. Some of the holiday lies we tell aren’t bad either, especially if they keep the magic of the season alive for them in their young minds. Saying that there is a T Rex outside the car window to keep the kids occupied on a long car trip? Probably not a good idea (yes, my husband did this to keep them looking – nightmares, anyone?) So I think that as long as our intentions are good (and innocent) enough, we can tell our kids small lies in hopes that it will have a positive impact on them or us. Score one for mommy for preventing a trip to the ER. Again.