Have you ever lied to your kids?
Now, don’t lie to me! I know you have!
I’ve learned from my experience with raising toddlers that deception is a very important parenting strategy.
See, toddlers don’t know anything. And one thing they certainly don’t know is when you’re lying to them!
They actually believe everything you say!
So, if it’s just 6:00 pm and you tell them it’s bedtime, they believe you!
And it helps that they can’t tell time either!
I figure that parents have to use the naïveté of our young children to our advantage as long as we can. You see, it’s not going to be long before they are teenagers and they will know more than we do because then they know everything!
Sometimes I tell the toddlers that McDonald’s is closed and they actually believe it!
I mean, do we have to stop at McDonald’s every time the toddlers get a glimpse of those golden arches?
I deserve a break (from McDonald’s) today.
“Sorry, kids. McDonald’s is closed today.”
“Why? It’s closed because the playground is broken.”
“All those cars parked at McDonald’s belong to the men fixing the playground. But it won’t get fixed today. It may be a long time before they get it fixed.”
“But I’m sure they will call us when they get the playground fixed and McDonald’s is open again!”
And what about those annoying Christmas presents I described in a previous post?
They’ve got to go!
“I don’t know where that whistle is, Kaleb. It seems like you had it yesterday and were blowing on it over and over. You must have lost it.”
“Why don’t you go look for it?”
“Maybe it’s in your room. Go pick up all your toys and put them away and see if you can find it!”
And if the toddler is just three years old (or less), you can actually blame your indiscretions on imaginary characters and they believe it!
“You can’t find your Dora microphone, Kenzie? I bet Swiper the Fox stole it and hid it somewhere just like he does on Dora the Explorer!”
So am I a bad parent for throwing away the toddlers annoying toys and then blaming them or an imaginary cartoon character for the loss? If I am, I can assure you I was going to be an even worse parent if Kaleb kept blowing that whistle!
And, it’s not like they don’t have plenty of other annoying toys to play with!
If you’re still not convinced that toddler deception is a viable parenting technique, what about all those idle threats you make? You know those threats that can’t really happen or that you’ll never follow through on, but you attempt to intimidate the children with to deter bad behavior…
“Kenzie, if you don’t stop biting your fingernails, your fingers will all fall off.”
“Kenzie, if you stay in bed, close your eyes, and go to sleep, then you can have some candy when you wake up in the morning.”
“Kenzie, if you keep running away from me, then I’m just going to leave you here at the mall and let some stranger take you home.”
Now, I know you’ve used this one:
“Kaleb, if you don’t start being a good boy, then Santa is not going to bring you any presents for Christmas!”
Don’t deny it, you’ve said it! Numerous times!
And, sometimes I embellish the facts to keep them from getting filthy or to prevent possible injury. For example, there’s a pond behind our house that I want them to stay away from, so I may occasionally refer to all the snakes and spiders in the pond that will bite them if they get near it!
But, I think child safety definitely justifies the use of deceptive parenting practices!
And though you may call it deceit, I like to think of it as an alternative representation of the facts, a different view of reality!
It’s a survival instinct…mine, and theirs!
As long as they believe me, why hurt their feelings with the cruel truth?
That McDonald’s was really open but I just didn’t want to go again;
That I threw the whistle away because it was driving me crazy;
That I simply don’t want them to fall in the pond and get all wet and muddy, or worse.
Pardon my parental indiscretion, but you do what you have to do when you’re outnumbered by toddlers!
Still, I have a feeling I’m not the only parent that’s lied to their kids.
So, it’s your turn to come clean.
Share with us some of they naughty ways you have deceived your children (for their own good, of course).