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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Honesty and Kids

Honesty and Kids

Whether or not to be honest with your child might seem pretty cut and dry in the beginning, but this can become a much more complicated topic as they get older. They will start asking many more questions, and expect you to tell the truth about them. It may be something that they don't need to know yet, though, and so you have to make the decision of whether or not to tell them the truth and how much of the truth to tell.

It also isn't as simple as just telling them the truth or not, either. You may decide that your child does not need to know something, and so you either tell them a lie, or stretch the truth so that they don't know whatever it is you don't think they should. Then, suddenly, six months later, your child finds out that you lied to them about it. They will remember, and this isn't good.

So, while you were trying to protect them by lying to them, you were also setting a bad example. And, since kids follow their parents' lead, this can be a very bad thing. This leaves parents in the situation of trying to withhold information that their child doesn't need, but also trying to set a good example of what you expect of your child.

While this is a very difficult balance to properly achieve, there are a few ways you can try to avoid this situation, or at least try to garner the best results:

• Say "I Don't Know"—while this isn't the best option, it is at least a choice that you have. If your child comes to you and asks you where their dog is (the one that got hit by a car but you aren't ready to tell them yet), instead of making something up that can teach your child a bad lesson about lying, you can simply say "I'm not sure." This doesn't always work, but it is one way to dodge questions that you don't want to answer without encouraging your children to lie.

• Be vague—maybe your child asks you if you where babies come from, and you either aren't ready for that talk, or you don't think they are. You can always be vague while still telling the truth by saying something like "From the mommy's tummy." This can work really well, but only temporarily. It is important to realize that it won't take your child long to begin asking even more questions. This may satisfy them for now, but you can bet that when they come back to ask you about it again (and they will), the next question they will ask is "But how did the baby get in there?" One way to put off these more in-depth questions is to fall back on the "I'm not real sure" answer. Just as with the vague answer, though, it is important to remember that it is only going to suffice temporarily.

• Tell them the truth—not the truth that you don't think they are ready for, though. Instead, you can tell them the truth by letting them know that you don't think that it is something they need to know yet, or that it's not their business, etc. While this may not satisfy a curious mind, and your child may still bug you about it, at least you accomplished both goals with it: you told your child the truth and you didn't have to tell them something you didn’t want them to know.

Debating between being honest with your child and protecting them can be quite a battle, because both sides have important points. You have to lead by example, and you need to be as honest as possible with your child. But sometimes, parents just aren't ready to share some information, or your child may ask something that they simply do not need to know.

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