Parent Moments: Mom's a Liar
The other day I overheard a discussion between two mothers about whether parents should hide the truth about scary world events from their kids. "Kids are smart -- they'll know you're being dishonest. Parents should never lie to their children," one of the moms argued.
I must have missed the memo. Parenthood has turned me into a world-class fibber.
Off the top of my head I recall being deliberately dishonest three times -- and that's just in the last hour. In fact, if you asked me to think back over the course of a day, I could probably come up with at least 20 lies I've told my kids. They come in several categories:
First, there's the lie-to-them-for-their-own-good category. This includes fibs like:
"I've been told that Peter Parker's Spidey-Sense is directly proportional to the amount of broccoli he eats."
There are the lies I tell to get myself off the hook:
"You can't find your headless G.I. Joe, eh? I'm sure it'll turn up." (Mr. Real American Hero went to the dump months ago).
And lastly, there are the lies I tell because a white lie comes easier than the uncertain truth:
"Don't worry, the Ebola virus will never come to America." (Well, at least I hope not...)
With the amount of fantasy flying around here, the Tooth Fairy and her ilk are just the special sauce in a life full of whoppers. I lie easily, creatively, and without regret: It's a tactic I use for saving fragile feelings and thwarting oncoming whining, relieving disappointment and calming fears. Yes, I sometimes lie to my kids because it makes things easier on me. But just as often, I fib out of love.
After all, I can think of several times in my own life when I wish somebody had lied to me. For instance, the question "Do you think I'm a good dancer?" should never have been answered truthfully.
My boys have only got a few years of innocence left. As they grow older, wiser, and more cynical, I can only hope they'll forgive me for once letting them believe that the world is a safe place and that bad guys live only in the movies, and that fairies really exist.
And if they won't forgive me -- if they feel forever wounded by the way I exploited their childish trust, allowing them to believe in fictional creatures and false ideas about the world -- I'll move to the well-practiced plan B.
I'll just lie. And blame it all on their dad.
From Santa Claus to the tooth fairy to broccoli-gives-you-super-powers, what's the silliest fib your child ever believed?