Fatherhood²: Should we Lie to our Children?

November 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Whilst browsing my Facebook feed the other day, I happened upon a status update which a friend had commented on. I’ll paraphrase it a little, but the basic message was thus:

“What does everyone think about the whole Santa thing? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with lying to my children…”

Whilst it provided an initial chuckle (as I imagined Santa adding said poster to his “non believer” list), it got me thinking about whether or not this poster was actually serious. Can there actually be a parent who DOESN’T lie to their child, even if only once in a while?!

I know that sounds callous, but come on – surely nobody truly believes that a child’s life is made somehow better by being completely brutally honest with them, right from day one?! That’s got to be one shell-shocked child!

Let me give you some examples, to illustrate my point.

Do you REALLY want to give a small child the truthful answer to these questions?

“Mummy, do you like this drawing I did for you?”

“Will the tooth fairy really give me money for my tooth?”

“Daddy, will Santa Claus REALLY put me on his naughty list if I don’t wash my hands?”

“Mummy, why do I have to eat the crusts on my sandwich – I don’t WANT curly hair!”

“Why shouldn’t I say the naughty words I heard daddy saying at the TV?”

“Can I live with you forever mummy, even when I’m 50?”

…and of course the classic:

“Mummy, what WERE you and Daddy doing on the bed when I came in last night?”

I guess you might make an agreement with yourself (or your partner) about what constitutes a “harmless” lie, and what you should be more truthful about – though I’m not sure my wife and I have had this conversation yet, four years in.

What do YOU think constitutes a reasonable lie to tell your child, and where you draw the line?

Let me know in the comments below! And make sure you’re truthful…