As a parent, you’ve probably heard the expression, Do as I say and not as I do.
It’s easy to preach honesty and transparency to children and then proceed to tell a little white lie. You know, the ones that mean well, but fall short of the truth. Perhaps you tell little white lies to save someone’s feelings from getting hurt, or to beat around the bush when you’re in an awkward situation.
Regardless, teaching your child honesty means practicing the same ideals. Otherwise, you could be leading by a bad example, one that can last well into their adulthood.
It’s a tricky subject, but we attempt to flesh it out below.
Lying to Your Children is More Common Than You’d Think
Before you feel guilty, know that you’re not alone.
Many parents lie to their children, from simple things like “The store is closed,” to “We’re almost there!” In fact, a lot of parents all across the country engage in a little white lie every December about a certain visitor on that one special night.
These innocent lies aren’t meant to cause harm, but they rob your child of the opportunity to handle conflict. When you’re honest with them, “No, we can’t go to the store because we don’t have time today,” they’ll be better equipped at handling letdowns that come as they grow and navigate the world.
Telling Your Child Little White Lies Could Turn Them into a Liar
One study found that while lying might be helpful in the short-term, the long-term effects are what could be detrimental.
The study found that children who were lied to in their youth are likelier to become liars as adults. When asked, participants who were lied to as children, claim to lie to their parents frequently now.
Others cite difficulty dealing with psychological or social challenges, which brings us to our next point.
Being Honest Allows Your Child to Learn How to Handle Disappointment
Getting dealt disappointment is a bummer, but it’s inevitable.
When you tell your child little white lies in an attempt to save them from said disappointment, you’re doing more harm than good. They’ll be less-equipped at dealing with those situations as they grow up.
When you offer them the tools to deal with adversity, your kids will be better at overcoming challenges and obstacles. They’ll be more resilient, determined, and understanding.
Instead of lying, try meeting their sad times with comfort and offer praise for their accomplishments.
Is it Okay to Tell Your Kids Little White Lies?
In general, the consensus is “no.”
Evidence suggests that honesty really is the best policy. When parents lie to their children, they’re inadvertently telling them that little white lies are okay. It’s not farfetched to believe that behavior could translate into them lying in their adult years.
Parenting isn’t always easy, though, and these questions are complex. So, be sure to give yourself credit! Even the act of questioning the idea shows that you’re doing your best.
If you’re looking for a safe and smart environment for your child, consider sending them to Grow With Us Learning Academy. We pride ourselves on teaching children fine morals. Click here to view our curriculum.