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24 April 2013

Lying to Parents


So this morning I was eavesdropping.  I didn't mean to do it, but I was alone, the food I was waiting for was taking long, and the group of six kids were talking way too loud at the next table. I tried to occupy my mind with things like "why do I get migraines" or "the dis-ease portrayed in Loius Owen's 'Sharpest Sight'" or "I love Beloved" or anything really, but the topic that these young people were talking about was too hot. I was oh so curious to hear and understand their perspective. I know that Junot Diaz would justify what I did, saying that all writers, or aspiring writers eavesdrop in one way or another.... But anyway these young people, obvious first year college schools, were talking about lying to their parents.

One young man, claimed that he only lies to his parents when he has to. When he has to? I ask myself When would I ever have to lie to my mother as a young person? I never did. See my mother was one of those rare people who knew and helped my brothers and I figure out what we needed to do and what we wanted to do. There is a difference. She is also the type of person that I could have (still can) trust with my true self. My mother did not pretend that we were prefect angels. As much as she would have rather that I did all my chores before I went to youth night, or do all my home work before running over to the neighbours to play volleyball, and as much as she would have rather that I did not go to the river with five of my guys friends without any sister-friend amongst the group, she knew that I did not always live up to her expectations. She never tried to shame me into being prefect. Rather, whenever she got the chance, she asked me if that is what I really want to do. Did I really thing it was necessary to stay out until 1 am with my friends... Did I feel good about it? What would have happened if something went wrong? She did not throw a fit. She did bare a human child after all... why blow up when you child does something that is not healthy, socially or physically?



Another amazing thing that my mother did affirm my ability to choose. When my neighbors tattled on me (Did you know Beth left the house after dark?) or when I asked her a hard question  (Should I spend all my savings to go to a conference in Miami?) my mother let me know that I can make the right choice, that deep down inside, I knew what was good for me. She is the type of Mama to chase nosy hosuewives back home, telling them that her Beth has a good head on her shoulders. How can you lie to a mother that sees you for who you are, is not threatened by it, and lets you make your own choices?
There was no reason to lie to my mother because she allowed us to be human

James Lehman, MSW said something interesting, "Parents should hold their children responsible for lying but they should not blame them for doing so" he also claims that lying to parents happens because of the perception of the situation. If children think they are "bad" "horrible" "naughty" etc... they are going to hide the truth. Children do not want to disappoint their parents.Telling them what they want to hear is one of appeasing this desire.
My oh my what a long nose you have....

Jame Lehman makes me think of how my mother handled this. The first time a boy that I liked at school held my hand, I was excited. I was nervous to tell her because I did not know what she would like about it. Whenever we spoke about sexuality and romance, it was as if it was some far away event. At 12 years old I was not sure if my mother would like the idea that I had a boy holding me hand (even though I liked it). Her disapproval frightened me.  One day when I was alone with her in the car, I blurted it out, "R** *L***** is my boyfriend now". My mother's reaction won me over. She told me that I was growing up, I was a beautiful girl, and that she would like to hear more about him. Later I found out that my mother was worried sick about the idea of me, a little twelve year old, naive and easy to get hurt, would do something crazy, but she knew she had to let me be my own person, to make my own choices. Years later, I was still telling my mother the details of my relationships, friendships and all. Even after I got married it was hard not to go to my mother and gab about all the wonderful things Beloved and I do....

I am not a parent, but I have lots of children in my life and I have been a child myself. I think the best way to not have  your children lie to you is to not give them a chance to lie to you.


So if you don't want your children to go drinking or smoking or something unhealthy? Explain to them why.  Let them make their own choices. Nothing they do is so bad that they cannot find redemption.


Remember that children are people too. They will mess up from time to to time.

Any thoughts readers?



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