Thursday, 1 March 2012

To lie or not to lie?

Is it me or as children get older are we confronted with the decision as to whether to lie to them or expose them to the often harsh reality of the truth becoming a much more frequent occurrence?

I honestly thought as our toddler creeps ever more rapidly towards school age I would insist on telling him the truth about situations as often as possible rather than trying to create elaborate cover stories!

Here are a few of the lies I have found myself having to tell in order for an easier life:

"The squirrel is just having a little sleep sweetheart, it's tired from all the nut collecting..."

"Yes we're nearly there..."

"spiders aren't scary..."

"Yes that was the biggest jump I've ever seen anyone do..."

"Nanan and Grandad's cat has gone on a really long holiday..."

"Simba's father is just tired..."

"The swimming pool is closed."

You get the idea.

My husband and I were confronted with the very difficult decision of what to tell our three year old when his baby brother had to be in hospital for a long time when he was born. 
In all honesty at first we just went for the easy option of telling him that all babies have to stay in hospital for a while. After that we progressed to the fact that the new baby was very small and so needed extra care. 

I wanted to avoid using the word ill and poorly when talking about his baby brother. With so many questions and phone calls to and from family and friends and with a very bright and attentive toddler listening in when you didn't realise, it was not long before he had cottoned on to the fact that things were not as they should be. 

It's so hard to know whats right and wrong when it comes to truth telling and children. Its our job as parents to protect them from things that they should not have to deal with until they are adults. 

We didn't have to lie to our toddler for long and maybe we underestimated his ability to cope with his brother being ill. He talks about visiting the hospital as if it were a very normal thing to be doing and he knows his baby brother needed the doctors help. He seems to take it in his stride when baby's check ups come round and actually said to me just as we were leaving for the last hospital visit; "let me know how he gets on Mum". I found that hilarious, he sounded like my dad rather than my three year old. 

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