When my first child was born, my husband and I were overwhelmed by the fact that we were responsible for this tiny human being in so many ways. One of the first rules we made for ourselves and for our children was to abide by the truth, period. My eldest child is now eight years old, and I can blindly trust whatever comes out of his mouth as the absolute truth. We have tried to uphold this rule no matter how difficult or tricky the situation was.
Parenting: A long road ahead Photo: Hotblack, Morguefile
Telling the truth means imparting the value of honesty to the child. Honesty is related to many other values, in fact, we can easily say that honesty is a foundation for a strong moral character in any human being. This trait of honesty helps the child build good friendships and relationship throughout his/her life. It also means that he/she does not have to web a tale of lies to cover their initial lie (if they are in the habit of telling lies). It gives them the confidence of being a trustworthy person.
Toothfairy as drawn by a five-year-old girl from Illinois, Eden - Wikimedia Commons
For parents, telling the truth means that you don't have to reveal the facts of life that the child is not able to comprehend or may be too overwhelming for him/her. Be honest and forthcoming when a child asks difficult questions and disclose only enough information that the child can handle. It is okay to say to the child: "We can discuss this more when you are a little bit older but for now, this information should be enough".
The most difficult situations I have faced are when it comes to revealing the facts about cultural differences. For example, my children have known from the onset that Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny do not exist in real life. That is the truth. This was well and good whilst the children were at home, however, once they started going to school and met their peers who believed in Santa, Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny, we were faced with a dilemma.
My daughter posing with Santa Claus
The way we handled the situation was to tell our children that there are other children who believe in Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and other characters. This is due to cultural differences. But it does not mean that we believe in the same.
However, I would like to ask other parents out there, how much of "honesty" and "truth" should be passed on to children in their childhood? Is it okay to hide the truth in some cases, as I have eluded to? Leave your thoughts in the comment box. I look forward to hearing from you.