LivingWhy you shouldn't tell lies to your children, even...

Why you shouldn't tell lies to your children, even if they are pious

As parents, it is normal to want our children to have full confidence in us and to look to us whenever something worries them or makes them doubt. But that trust is not obtained overnight, and it is necessary to work from the beginning to obtain it.

Among the many things that parents can do to build our children’s trust in us is to always speak honestly to them ; that is to say, not to promise things that we know we are not going to fulfill and of course, never lie to them , even if we do it with the intention of protecting them or we believe that it is a “little white lie.”

We explain why you should never lie to your children and what the child feels when he discovers that his parents are lying to him.

If you want your child to trust you, start by not lying to him

All children, at one time or another, tell lies, because lying is a sign of cognitive progress. Children lie because they need to understand what is in the mind of the other person, that is, to know what the other knows and what he does not know (the so-called ‘theory of mind’).

But in addition to ethical factors coming into play, lying is not something socially desirable , and although it is good to understand that it is a normal part of their development, it is also important that parents instill in them the importance of being honest with themselves and with their children. others, since sincerity is key to establishing a relationship of trust between people.

In this sense, one of the keys to educate children in sincerity and honesty is to be honest and sincere with them and with others, because we are the mirror in which they look at themselves and learn.

For example, if our children observe that we lie to the neighbor, that we avoid telling the truth to hide a mistake we have made, or even discover that we are lying to them, what kind of example will we be setting? Is this how we intend to educate them in values? How are we going to ask them to trust us when they see us constantly lying?

Lying is a form of manipulation

As if the example and education in values were not enough, it is also necessary to understand that in many cases the lie is a way of manipulating the other to get them to do, say or think something that benefits us. I mean, it ‘s a selfish way to get our way .

But when we talk about lying to children to make them obey us, there are those who even see it as something necessary and innocent. In fact, the very term “little white lie” seems to downplay the serious fact of lying.

Some examples of this type of manipulative “little lies” to children – and which are also socially accepted – are: “take all the fruit because if you don’t you won’t grow”, “don’t lie, or your nose will grow like a Pinocchio “, ” your friend’s mother has told me that they are also leaving the park “ , ” the Magi are watching you , so be good if you want to have toys “,” if you eat candy your teeth will fall out “. ..

With this type of lies what we want is that children eat healthy, “be good”, do not lie, go to sleep on time … in short, do things that benefit them.

But let’s reflect: is this the best way to educate children? Do we want our children to learn by instilling fear, threatening them in a subtle way or blackmailing them? Is this relationship with the children healthy? Obviously not.

But what if the lie is to protect them from a delicate situation?

Faced with difficult situations such as a separation, an illness, the death of a family member or even the death of a pet, many parents choose to lie to their children in order to protect them and prevent them from suffering .

But children, no matter how small, are excellent observers and know when something is wrong at home, because they may see us sad, worried or notice that the environment is tense.

In these cases, lying to them in order to protect them not only will not prevent their suffering, but could increase it, because although they are good observers, they are bad interpreters, and in their heads they could come to imagine things more distressing for them than reality itself.

Also, being overprotective to prevent them from facing life’s difficulties is not a good tactic. Children need to learn resilience and be educated in emotional intelligence, because only then will they be able to face and solve the problems that life poses.

Therefore, experts recommend always talking with our children and explaining the reality of things with delicacy and tact, adapting our language to their level of understanding and avoiding certain details depending on the situation.

How does the child feel when he finds out that his parents are lying to him?

Surely anyone, at some point in their life, has been the victim of a lie by someone else. Do you remember how you felt then?

You probably faced a mixture of feelings that ranged from the deepest disappointment and disbelief ( “how could you do this to me?” ), To shame at being deceived and manipulated, anger, sadness, disappointment, mistrust …

The same thing happens to children, but especially when they discover that the people who have lied to them are their parents; its main reference figures.

When lies to children are repeated or we use them regularly in parenting, the child’s self-esteem could end up especially affected, as well as their confidence in themselves, in us and in the rest of the people around them.

On the other hand, a recent study published in the journal Science discovered that those children who are raised with lies have negative development in adulthood, as well as imbalances in their psychosocial development.

What happens to the lies that are told to preserve childhood magic and fantasy?

At this point, surely many parents are wondering what happens to the lies that we tell our children in order to preserve their innocence for a longer time and enhance their magical thinking.

In these cases, our colleague Laura Ruíz, child and adolescent psychologist and therapist, believes that nurturing the illusion of children is not only beneficial for their development , but is also healthy and generates a lot of happiness.

“Personally, I do not believe that it is a lie as such , because we are not harming the child, but contributing to preserve the illusion and magic of childhood”

“Of course, I think it is important to address the issue with our children when the time comes, and clarify what is behind these types of traditions.”

In any case, it would be a personal choice that each family must make according to their beliefs.

Photos | iStock

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