Google+ Authentic Parenting: Little white lies

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Little white lies

We all want our children to grow up to be truthful people, to not tell lies. But how many times do we ourselves lie to our children? How often do we change the truth to obtain something we want, or to avoid a confrontation? Maybe we even make our children lie for us? Or maybe are words are true but our actions are not.

See if you recognize yourself in these examples:

  • Oh, mommy can't open that bottle, it's stuck (in fact you can open it, but you don't want the content to end up smeared all over the place)
  • We can't go to the park today because it's closed (the park is open, but you are too busy to go)
  • When your kid answers the phone: "tell them I'm not home."
  • You tell your kid:"I'm on a diet" and then drink a regular coke.

How do these little white lies influence our little ones? Aren't we sending them mixed messages when we tell them not to lie, but then twist the truth ourselves.

Small children do not grasp the subtle nuances of irony and sarcasm. For them there is only the truth and non-truth, which to them, is a lie. It is very disturbing for them to have a parent twist reality, for whatever reasons.

Consider your words and actions more carefully, and become a truthful person yourself. Model the behavior you want your child to adapt.



  1. I will admit to doing the first one, never the second as I honestly know they will know that what i am saying is false - a park doesn't close.
    I've never asked anyone to say I'm not there to avoid a phone conversation and I would never get my children to lie for me.
    The last one bothers me because I hate the notion that children should even learn what "diet" is in that context. I believe in telling them the nutritional benefits and letting them choose the food they eat. And I also don't believe in dieting, I want my children (in particular my daughter) to love themselves and look after themselves, not think about losing weight.
    I only just recently made a sarcastic comment near my son (who is 4) and he couldn't understand, and it was right at that moment I realized from his point of view how it didn't make sense. So I now avoid sarcasm.

    Yes we do need to model the behavior we want to see in our children, they are mirrors or ourselves.

  2. How funny - I have a post on this exact subject scheduled for next week. It relates to my third "guilty secret" that I posted about yesterday.
    I totally agree with you - I don't like lying to Kieran at all, even the lies of the white variety.
    ~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

  3. Yes my husband and I don't lie to our children about The Easter Bunny or Santa so why would we say little white lies that wound be very contradictory parenting. Thank you for another wonderful blog.

  4. Dionna, great minds think alike ;) You have posts lined up for weeks to come? Wow, you're an organised woman

    Samantha, I gave the examples just to show the different types of lying that can sneak up into ones conversation. The diet thing s sth my mother has always done, but it is actually just an example of saying one thing and doing another

    Chrissy... the easter bunny and 'Sinterklaas' (I resent Santa) are things I am still trying to figure out. Is it a lie or is it a fun fantasy?


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