Telling fibs is naughty – we tell our kids that everyday, and yet sometimes as a parent we lie to our kids without batting so much as an eyelid – you know the ones, like don’t make that funny face if the wind changes it will stay like that! Othertimes we know that we probably should tell our kids some version of the truth but we have to decide what is age appropriate.
This got me thinking about some of the things we tell our kids. I have heaps of examples I could use about small fibs I have told my kids, but I am going to stick with two of my favourites and not suprisingly they both involve Daughter.
Story 1: The Fairies In The Dining Room
Daughter is a phenomenally bad eater, that doesn’t mean she eats bad food it is just that she doesn’t eat much of anything. For most of her life we have had to bribe every mouthful of dinner off the plate and into her mouth. One night as we are sitting at the dining table, the light from the new downlights we had just installed reflected off my husbands cutlery and low and behold there a small dancing lights on the ceiling.
Daughter is mesmerized. Hubby and I don’t think, the fibs just burst forth of their own accord – The lights are fairies, they only come when you are eating your dinner. Sure enough she stops eating and the lights miraculously disappear, she puts food in her mouth and they are back. Amazing! And OMG she is eating! The fairies became a regular occurance at the dinner table.
Then one day, not long after she turned 4, Daughter turned to me and said Mum, the fairies aren’t real are they? Just like the monsters and witches, the fairies aren’t real either. *Sigh* Daughter had been having nightmares, we had told her witches weren’t real and she had decided the rest by herself. So what do I say? No sweetheart, fairies aren’t real. I go on to explain how Daddy made the lights appear (she now loves doing this herself).
I nod to myself, satisfied that I am a great parent – then it hits me. Crap! What about the tooth fairy? So far she seems to be okay with the concept that the only fairy that really exists is the tooth fairy – I will keep you updated.
Story 2: Chicken and Chicken
My daughter has a fasination with words. She is almost 5 and has just started learning to read. She loves books and has already started correcting her little brother’s grammar.
A few weeks ago we were at the shops, we had just finished a big grocery shop and had headed over to the butcher to buy some meat. She listens to my order (I am buying chicken wings for the dog) then she laughs. I turn to face her. And she says this “Chicken sounds the same as chicken – that’s funny.” “What do you mean sweetie?” “You know the chicken on the farm and the chicken we buy at the shops, the words sound the same.”
Oh dear. This is a conversation that I am not ready to have. Now maybe this one does make me a bad parent but I don’t think my daughter is ready for a knowledge that the animals that we sing about in McDonalds farm are the same animals we are eating for dinner. So I laugh with her and say “Yes, you’re right, that is funny.” This is a fib that I know I can’t maintain indefinately – at some point I will need to tell her the truth, and I will, eventually.
What about you. Have you told small fibs to your children? Did your parents lie to you? Were you scarred for life as a result? Love to hear from you.