I wrote this September 20, 2011 in my housewifeinthecity blog 🙂
As my six year old son and I went over the scores in his Language workbook, he was so sad that he got one mistake out of ten items for one of the activities. He asked if it was okay so I immediately assured him that it was perfectly fine. I added that it was normal to make mistakes and from those mistakes we’ll eventually learn. He then said something that inspired the topic for this blog entry: “Don’t make up stories to make me feel happy” – what a line!
I told him I wasn’t making it up, that I was telling him the truth. This exchange served as a little reminder for both of us of a promise we made to each other when he was four. One evening we were talking about what’s been going on, what our situation is, etc (when I had this conversation with him I was a single mom), then I looked him in the eye and told him that he can trust that I will always tell him the truth, that I will never sugar coat an ugly situation just so he won’t get hurt.
I’ve tried my very best to keep this promise, specially when it comes to talking about family — his dad, his half sisters, his half sisters’ moms, my husband (his step dad) and our little baby girl on the way. Not everyone will agree and I totally respect that but I made a decision early on that I don’t want to lie to my son just so he won’t get hurt.
“What parent would want to break their little kid’s heart??” No parent would want that for sure and I get that, because when they hurt, we hurt too and it sucks big time. BUT what will be best for them in the long run? There are two situations I’ve considered: speak the truth now, talk about it, possibly hurt a bit or a lot, process it together, pray about it together and continue living knowing the truth and of course because our kids know that we tell them the truth even if it hurts them — they will trust us and eventually they will tell us the truth even if it hurts us.
The second scenario is sugarcoat the truth and make everything look pretty all the time/hide stuff from them/avoid answering their questions/lie to them. Maybe they won’t hurt now but one day they’re bound to find out what the truth is, maybe from you or maybe from someone else (specially the house help or some distant relative or family friend). Then they’ll hurt and start to think “so what are the other lies?” — obviously trust is broken and well, hopefully, ideally, thru talking and praying all will be forgiven and life will go on – how soon all the healing is gonna happen is the question.
I’ve chosen route one obviously and it has not been easy at all, because he’s hurt and I’m hurt BUT having done this for the past two years, I’ve seen how it has helped him mature and accept the status quo and I’ve seen how he has dealt with it. It has taught him to ask questions and seek the truth in everything. Knowing that, I am a happier mom because isn’t that one of our goals as parents? To prepare them for life outside the home, to equip them with what they need once they leave our nest? And we all know what life outside that nest is like!
I’ve never believed in the line “they’re too young to understand” — because truth is, children are way smarter than we think they are. You’d be surprised.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John1:4 (King James Version)