Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lying to Children - Breaking Bonds of Trust

This time of year again reminds me of the simplicity with which adults lie to children and the cavalier attitude that they take towards doing such acts. The human specie requires the longest term of maturation of any life on Earth. From birth children trust their parents and must in order to survive. During periods of family upheaval such as divorce or separation that need is even greater as their foundation shatters and their risk of suffering harm increases.

It is this time of year that adults almost universally lie to children. They project a story of a mythical being who is all omniscient and doles out rewards for those who abide by an arbitrary standard of "right and wrong" while withholding such for those who have transgressed.

Adults support each other in perpetuating this fraud against the trusting and unsuspecting children. They often justify their conspiracy by citing that it is one of the "just for fun" childhood experiences. Ironically, many of these same adults will complain if their children lie about getting sh!t-faced drunk "just for fun".

No amount of rationalization negates the simple fact that parents lie to their children and then hypocritically expect their children to not do the same. A parent who uses bribery compounded with the threat of a third-party spy to ensure compliance with their arbitrary set of rules harms their children and their relationship to their children.

Discipline of children should be based upon mutual respect. Children want discipline. It is the responsibility of parents to effectively discipline their children which should not be done through threats or bribes.

When my son was three years of age I explained to him the concept of Santa Claus and the truth about the story as I have detailed here. At this moment, twelve years later, we have a rock-solid trusting relationship. There is no subject that he hesitates to broach with me when needing a truthful answer. He trusts my judgment because he knows that I trusted him with the truth. He has told numerous stories to me about the actions of his friends and he that few children would tell a parent. But I am not like most parents. I have been honest with him since birth and have built the foundation of trust that will last a lifetime.

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©2008, 2011 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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