Google+ Authentic Parenting: Why Is It Considered Normal To Lie To Children?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why Is It Considered Normal To Lie To Children?

Welcome to the February 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Honesty This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through honesty. We hope you enjoy this month's posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Self-Expression and Conformity.

I was supposed to write something about Sinterklaas (the original Santa) for this post... but since that topic was macerating, I got confronted with people lying to my children, time and again, and I felt like I had to adress this.

From my husband's coworker telling my daughter the food was finished (when it wasn't), to the gardener telling my daughter that there were big snakes in our garden, the lying doesn't stop.

Yet, when children lie, we consider it a serious offence.
And anyway you turn it, even though it's a repeat offence and even institutionalized for most people, lying isn't valued in our society.

So why should we model lying?
Is it because we lack imagination? Clearly not, because telling my daughter there are huge snakes that will bite and are dangerous is so much more imaginative then just telling her it's a deep pit, she could fall into it and break her legs.
Is it because we don't care or don't want to take the time? Again, clearly not, because both people who lied to my daughter in the recent weeks did take the time to create an imaginary tale and stick to it.

Sadly, I think the issue is much more profound. I think we lie to children v-because
  • We think they're stupid and won't understand the truth
  • We fear their reaction and want to create shortcuts
  • We don't consider that they should know the truth
  • We don't value their opinions.

People lie to children simply because they are children. Adultism at its worst.


APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month's Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!   Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: (This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 22 with all the carnival links.)



  1. I totally agree with this post! Must admit caught myself lying to my nephews a few times and honestly I felt it easier on them as well as myself to simply speak the truth especially about dangers yet putting a few petals over it lol!
    Great work :)

  2. Oh, Laura! You're bringing up some great points here.

    And it's interesting to me what people think is acceptable to tell children the truth about and when (the they're too young to know about THAT! argument). I think some parents tend to think,"If *I* don't tell them, they won't find out until I talk about it with them one day...later," with topics they're uncomfortable discussing. But kids ask their friends, who are generally just as curious as they are, and they make up answers! And these days, they can look up the answers on the Internet.

    So, it all comes down to this: Kids are going to find out what they want to know one way or another. When and what do you want them to know before they listen to everyone else's opinions?


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