Why do we lie to our children? I’m not talking about imaginative stories we tell our children about the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. Those are things that most do not find harmful to our children’s overall well being. But why do we lie to our kids about things that are fundamental life lessons to try to soften the blow of the truth? I remember growing up always hearing, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. What? Lie, lie, LIE! Words can hurt you way more than sticks and stones. It often takes much longer to recover from someone’s cruel words than it does from a broken bone. People are in therapy for years and years over words that are said to them, especially if they’re not taught how to handle those words. Or worse yet, when those words come from the very people whom they are supposed to trust…their parents.
You want another great lie we tell to our kids? You can be anything you want to be if you just work hard enough! LIE, LIE, LIE! While little Timmy may love basketball, if he’s only 5’2″ will little coordination, it’s highly unlikely that he’s ever going to make it to the NBA. And becoming POTUS? Well there’s only been 44 of those since the inception of The United States of America…so that’s also highly unlikely. Does that mean we shouldn’t encourage our children to strive for their dreams? No, but it does mean there is a fine line between encouragement and setting our children up for failure by giving them unrealistic expectations.
We tell our kids that they’re perfect, that they’re angels…we give them trophies these days even when they come in last place for Pete’s sake! And then, we wonder why the latest generation is so entitled! Why they think the world revolves around them and why they think they ‘deserve’ everything their parents worked decades for the moment they leave college or just high school. Why they can’t handle disappointment and instead of persevering when life hands them a curve ball they crawl back to mommy and daddy to live in their basement. Those parents then complain because little Timmy hasn’t matured and doesn’t have the drive to deal with life, but they’re the very ones who are to blame….when they started lying to Timmy a long time ago and shielding him from life’s truths.
I’ve used ‘we’ a lot in the article when referring to these types of parents, but I don’t plan on being part of that ‘we’. I don’t want to stifle my child’s dreams and goals in life, but I do want to set him up for success. So I won’t be telling Creative Kid that he can be ANYTHING he wants, because that isn’t true. And I will be teaching him that words hurt and that’s why he should mind what he says. And although a healthy self-esteem is a great thing, and over-inflated ego is not. I’ll be giving him consequences to his actions, both good and bad, because in life every action you take has an effect on your life, who you are and what future choices you can make. I’ll be telling and showing him how much I love him and want him to succeed and how proud I am of him. But I will also be telling and showing him that it will take hard work and there will be disappointments along the way…that not everyone will be on his side like we will and that sometimes life isn’t fair. And more than anything, I’ll be teaching him to rely on God. That life isn’t all about financial success or being the best at something, but in what kind of person he is and how the love of God shines through him. I want to raise a good, strong man…not an overgrown boy. And isn’t that what we should all want for our sons?Thanks for reading!