parent opinion

'Apparently there are 11 common white lies you shouldn't tell your kids. I disagree.'

I recently came across an article about the "11 common lies our parents told us as kids - and their effects according to a child psychologist."

At first, my knee jerk reaction was to think 'I am totally f***ing up my own children’ (while blaming my own mother for my array of issues). But then I read on.

Watch: Lies every mum has told. Post continues below.

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Before I get into this, I would like to declare that I am a VERY honest person. I have made a conscious choice not to hide things, especially significant things, from my children, because ultimately I don't think this does anything to help. 

That being said, I am a fan of a good white lie - a bending of the truth that doesn’t hurt, and allows them to be happy. To be kids and enjoy this stage of their life. 

But according to this article, some of these lies may potentially cause ‘issues’.

It suggests that some of the common “fibs” that our parents told us and that many of us tell our own kids in order to prevent tantrums or spare our children’s feelings, create future problems for their relationships with us and the world around them.

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I have told almost every single one, and despite what this articles says, will continue to do so - because when I dish out my white lies, I do so masterfully, where risk is minimal and the benefit far outweighs the risk. 

Let me explain, using four key examples.

White lie number one: “That is the best drawing I have ever seen.” 

The issue with this, according to the article, is that these complements eventually become redundant. 

I have most definitely said this to both of my children, more than once, and never have they realised that this is assessment of their work means that the previous artwork that was also “the best” is no longer “the best”.

And as a little disclaimer - I have been to the Louvre and seen pretty top-notch art so no, no artwork they ever show me is going to be “the best” I have ever seen, but at the time it was probably the best drawing I had ever seen that they had done. So technically, it’s embedded in truth.

White lie number two: “The toy store is closed.”

This white lie was not deemed “damaging”, rather a “missed opportunity to help children deal with adversity.” But you know what? I think between school in general and COVID-19, kids have been dealt with enough adversity so it’s definitely not a missed opportunity in my eyes.

Plus, as parents with budgets (and our own psychological and emotional needs), the toy store, the zoo and the play centre have been ‘closed’ at different times, because to us they very much are. 


White lie number three: “It’s a tie!”

Whether it's game of Uno or a running race - even how they hold their knife and fork - in my home it's a competition. Always. And now, these competitions always end in a tie. Problem solved.

While I truly do understand that they should learn how to win and lose graciously, I also know that they can learn this at school, where they won’t throw the epic tantrums that seem to be reserved for their parents.

White lie number four: “Sorry, we’re out of cookies.”

The article's advice is to be honest. To say there are cookies, but you can’t have any. It helps them process disappointment. 

But who helps me process my disappointment when my daughter refuses to get into the car for school until she has a Zooper Dooper?

This is why the answer is, and always will be, there are no Zooper Doopers. My point stands.

Shona Hendley, Mother of cats, goats and humans is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education. She is an animal lover and advocate, with a morbid fascination for true crime and horror movies. You can follow her on  Instagram.

Feature image: Supplied/Shona Hendley.

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