‘White Lies’ to Kids – Telling the WHOLE Truth, Always?

How do you feel about lying to your kids?  I think lying is wrong.  But sometimes, lying is so right.

It’s 7:15 on a Sunday morning.  It’s dark still, and it’s rainy.  Makai’o wakes up in his room and I can hear him tossing and turning.  I go in an ask him if he’s okay.  He just wanted some water.  I gave him some.  Then told him it wasn’t time to get up yet, it was still dark and time for sleeping.  He didn’t argue and rolled back over, though I don’t know if he’ll go back to sleep.

Normally, if the time starts with a 7 it’s okay to get up.  On weekends, we try to push that to 8 if possible.  We are trying that today.  I could have turned on the lights, I could have said “Good morning Kai”.  I could have done a lot of things, but I did say it was still dark and time for sleeping.  Dark = Sleeping.  Not the complete truth, but not really lying.

What do you think?  Do you ever extend the truth to your children?  Sometimes I’ll shorten my answer to a question like, “just because” or “that’s just the way it is” in order to save myself explaining.  I think we all do that.  Right, do we all do that?  Is that lying when I clearly know the correct answer and just don’t feel like ‘getting into it’ with my very inquisitive four year old?  Humm.  Feedback please.

What about things like the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and of course, SANTA?  We are preparing ourselves for that to be the first year that it’s a big deal as Kai is in JK and Amaris in preschool…. Not sure how we are going to navigate that one!

Where do you draw the line on telling the truth to your kids?  What about if the truth will hurt them or scare them?  How do you decide what is age appropriate?  When I ask that question, it always comes back to the truth about the kids’ adoption.  We talk about it regularly, when it comes up naturally and when we bring it up every once in a while just to open the door in case Makai’o has some questions.  We go through their life books often talking about their lives until they came to live with us and became part of their forever family.  With Amaris’ speech and language delay, she isn’t able to verbally communicate a question, but we still talk about her birth family and foster family (who we see regularly) and how she became part of her forever family.  Makai’o is naturally a “WHY?” kind of kid.  He asks “WHY?” about 500 times a day.  Really.  That many.  We encourage him to ask questions, but sometimes I give ‘white lie’ answers when it’s something unimportant.  When it comes to adoption, his life story, his family – we never lie, but we cautiously explain in an age appropriate way the answer to his personal question.  At this stage, Makai’o is most curious about the pregnancy aspect and the “2 mommies” kind of thing.  Nothing melts my heart more as Makai’o says to me, “Ya, but you are my Mommy.”  Really.  It does.  I am his mommy.

We also have the opportunity to talk more about how families are made as their Auntie Hannah is pregnant (but lives in England) and a close family friend is also pregnant.  Pregnancy opens the door to a lot of questions for Makai’o and a lot of answers for us.  It also allows us the opportunity to talk to other families about discussing adoption and that “making a baby in your body” isn’t the only way a family is made.

How do you explain adoption to your kids?
Do you wonder what the healthiest and best way to explain it is?
Would you be interested in hearing what we say to other kids when asked?
Do you want to hear what we want you to say and what we need you to say?
Haven’t talked to your kids about adoption?  Why not?

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