While two of my children argued about who was being dishonest, a third piped up and said, “Telling the truth is hard.”
Have you ever thought about it? As an adult, we teach our children to tell the truth, but we wonder why it’s so difficult for them to follow through. Well, sometimes it’s hard for us adults to follow through too.
I think because it makes us vulnerable. And usually there are ramifications attached to it, like someone else’s feelings. It’s like we can’t manage other people’s emotions AND our own at the same time.
When my sister first died, someone asked me what my siblings did for a living, and I acted as if she was still alive. I was still in shock of course, but I also didn’t know how to tell her the truth. I wasn’t ready to handle the onslaught of emotions that came from the person asking the question.
This moment has stuck with me because I’m a pretty honest person. I always find a way to tell the truth with tact and love, and it bleeds over into my parenting. I am a stickler for being honest with my kids, even about things others may consider harmless. I don’t tell them there aren’t any more cookies when there are. I don’t say, “I’ll be right back,” when I won’t. And I tell them I need to think about things when I’m not ready to commit to an answer.
I have had times in my life where I’ve lied, just to spare myself someone else’s reaction. This has taught me that when my kids lie, I can be a part of the solution. I can create an environment in which my children feel comfortable being honest, and it begins with managing my own emotions. Like every other aspect of parenting, helping my kids tell the truth begins with my relationship with myself.
Is it similar for you?