Lying to our kids

First off I would like to say this is a topic that I am genuinely interested in some feedback on.  After letting this first sentence sit here for nearly a week without continuing to write, I am marching forth.  This is what I think is one of the more sensitive subjects I have written about, so I am choosing my words wisely, I hope.

Earlier last week (on my birthday to be exact) I received an extremely long text message from my ex.  Chewing me out for telling my children the truth about something.  Now, I am going to try real hard to get through this without actually saying what the thing is.  As, it has now been made clear to me that it isn’t my business to talk about. 

So, let me just say I completely understand why I shouldn’t speak about my ex’s personal life.  First of all, I know very little about it.  Most of what I could say about it currently, would in fact be speculation.  In addition to that, I am sure that everything I say about it to this day would come off as jaded, snotty and condescending.

Anyway, this particular topic is something that happened while him and I were married and has nothing to do with his infidelity.  It has something to do with me and my current family, just as much as it does him and his family.  Now, I have never brought the subject up on my own.  The kids do and so when they have asked about it, I have told the truth.

The truth, this is what Paul and I try to do on a regular basis with all of our children.  When they ask questions, we give them truthful information and based on their age, we give them more or less accordingly.  Our kids ask us a lot of questions.  I love answering them, knowledge is power after all.  

Kids ask hard questions, sometimes hurtful and personal.  There are times when they bring up memories, things you’ve nearly forgotten about and stupid choices from your teenage years.  That being said, I always try to tell them the truth.  

The only thing that I shield them from still is their Fathers infidelity.  Any questions regarding why we got divorced, why I don’t love him anymore and how Dad and Jess fell in love, I typically just nod and smile and let them try to come up with their own answers.  They are starting to get really, really close on that front though and biting my tongue is getting much harder.

I understand that not all parents or adults for that matter take the tell the truth approach.  I am most certainly not trying to say that my way is right, it’s just all I know.  I am truthful to everyone, to a fault, for better or worse.  I guess I figure, maybe just maybe, if I am upfront and honest with my kids from the beginning they will return the favor later on.  I can hope.

So…the questions is, are you honest with your children?  Are there certain topics that you are and others where you aren’t?  

My philosophy is if they are old enough to think about the question, they are old enough to hear some part of the answer.

  

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6 thoughts on “Lying to our kids

  1. Such a great topic, and one in which you are likely to get a broad range of opinions. I can only speak for myself and what I believe, so this is not a treatise on what everyone else should do. I think truth, age-appropriately provided, is the way to go. In terms of your ex H infidelity, it is an important part of the story of your children’s lives. Once I said to my therapist, “But the children…what if they find out?” His response? “They know.” Ugh. And he is right. Even if they don’t know, they know. HOWEVER, I think I would only present it (when the time is right…when the questions and concerns are legitimately their struggle for understanding and getting to their own peace) from my own viewpoint, and my own pain. I would not venture to tell my kids why ex did what he did, or what his thoughts and motivations were. I’d just share what I knew to be true…how the marriage changed for me…how I sensed distance, and ultimately discovered ex had created a relationship with someone else that violated the bounds of my marriage. I’d share the pain it was for me, and how hard I have worked to heal from it. That if they had questions for the whys and hows and whens, those would have to be for their dad because all I could answer was my own whys and hows and whens. This is tough, but to in my life and journey, I honestly have experienced that truth really does set me free. Thinking of you at this difficult time…Hugs!

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  2. Yes, I am. However, I don’t believe that I have to be brutally honest when they are still young and impressionable. If my son were an adult living on his own and wanted to know some of the reasons his dad and I failed I would tel him the truth at that point. However, I am a firm believer that it takes two people to get married and two people to end it. I wasn’t perfect and I will never make my child think so. I guess the bigger question would be “Will it affect the child’s view of the other parent?” If not then be honest. If yes, then don’t say anything. I guess I’m divided.

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  3. I wrote a post about this called “When your kids want to know the gory details.” It came about when they started asking questions about my husband and my teen years. It comes down to this for me: is it age appropriate and can I teach them a life lesson from my mistakes. I’m a big truth teller, mostly because I’m a horrible liar. But I think every situation is different, and you can’t really make it a blanket proclamation. That being said, truth is always better, so long as it’s MY truth and no one else’s.

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