Why You Shouldn’t Tell White Lies to Your Kids
We often tell white lies to get out of an awkward or stressful situation. We tell white lies to our kids because we don’t want them to see that we’re hurt and weak. We tell them these little lies when they ask for a lost toy or when we have forgotten our play date. We think that these white lies don’t hurt them, so we continue telling these lies because they protect our kids’ emotions and we can control their behavior better.
But white lies are still lies. They are meant to deceive your kids when you take them to a kids’ dentist after telling them that you’re going to get ice cream. You tell them another white lie when you say that you will take them to a theme park after the dental procedure. You know that’s not possible because the nearest theme park is a two-hour drive away.
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When Do Kids Begin to Realize You’re Lying?
At around the age of five, your kids are going to notice the change in your behavior when you feel sad, happy, angry, and frustrated. They are going to be more in tune with your feelings. They have already developed the capacity to empathize at this age. If you’re still lying to them by the time they’re five years old, you’re indirectly telling them that it’s okay not to be honest.
Failing to share your true feelings with your kids will make them think that it’s wrong to feel sad or anxious. They will not share their own feelings with you. Kids whose parents are allergic to open communication will begin to construct walls around themselves. They won’t be as carefree and open as other kids their age.
How Dishonesty Affects Your Kids’ Long-term Development?
Your kids are going to learn about honesty and authenticity in your home. If there is a disconnect between what you’re telling them and what you’re showing them, they will begin to disassociate themselves from you. They will lose trust in you. They won’t believe what you tell them because they see something different in your actions. When they grow up, it will be harder for them to trust anybody. They won’t believe it when people are open to them because they haven’t experienced that from their own family.
The way they interact with the world will be ultimately shaped by your authenticity or lack thereof. If you show them that it’s embarrassing to feel emotions of fear, anxiety, and sadness, they will take that with them when they grow up. They will see these emotions as signs of weaknesses. As a result, it will be harder for them to develop relationships, maintain friendships, and work with people.
You have to be honest with your kids, no matter how the “truth” might hurt them. Even in the simplest thing like telling them that they have to go to the dentist should be founded in trust and honesty. This is the only way for your kids to learn about opening themselves to you. Honestly and trustworthiness are values that they should take with them wherever they go. Telling them white lies will dampen that wide-eyed innocence.