Lying to Children
The environment children grow in is a major contributor in shaping their behavior. Parents must be good role models for their children. If a parent lies to his child, the child will eventually assume that it is OK to tell lies. They will start lying and use more lies to cover up for them selves or for friends. Such children may not think twice about lying to their teacher or about cheating on a test. When parents preach one thing and behave in a totally different manner, the kids see them as liars also. For example, a parent who punishes his teenage son for drinking or smoking, but drinks in front of the child is a liar in his son s view.
Children are very perceptive and they have lasting memories. They will learn to tell whether the parent is actually telling the truth. If the parent lies to his child all the time, the child will lose trust and stop communicating with the parent in an honest and open fashion. I remember an incident that occurred a while back, which I still remember. My best friend s husband passed away in a car accident when they were young. To avoid telling the child the bad news, she told her that her daddy went to work abroad. The child was looking forward to her daddy coming home one day with presents. One day she found out the truth from one of her classmates when she became few years older. She became very angry with the mother for hiding the truth and it took a while for her to adjust to the news.
There may be times when the parent would lie to hide bad news, death or disease from children. This may be intended to protect them, but in the long run they will benefit if the parent takes time to explain to them what has happened in language they can understand and help them deal with their emotions. It is not advisable to take a shortcut or sugarcoat bad news.
As children stop communicating openly with their parents, the gap between parents and children widens as if they are living on two different islands. Such lack of communication can have drastic implications as evident in the recent Columbine High School shootings. The parent must be actively involved in their children s lives and the children must trust them enough to let parents in on their feelings and emotions.