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Why It's OK to Lie to Kids

I Lie to My Kids All the Time, and I'm a Better Mom For It

Photographer: Diggy LloydRestrictions: Editorial and internal use only. No print or advertising.Product Credits: Model on Left: Bonpoint dress. Model on right: Juxtamod dress.

Lies — we all tell them every day; little lies, big lies, and those in between. They're just a part of life. We even lie to our kids. We sometimes have to.

Yes, we choose honesty, too. Just the other day, for example, my preschool-age daughter asked, "Mommy, how did I get out of your belly?" "My vagina," I told her. "You came out of my vagina." But, sometimes, to survive motherhood on a daily basis, we have to fudge the truth a bit, right moms? I know I certainly do.

Just today, I've told several lies to my small children.

"Mom, can I have one more piece of candy? No, you'll get a bad bellyache and horrible diarrhea."

"Mom, can we go to the Playland at McDonald's? No, they're closed."

"Mom, can I invite Suzy over for a sleepover? No, her family went out of town this weekend."

See how easy that was? Ahh, and such a relief, too. By telling those quick little lies, I maneuvered my way around the potential for World War III in our house. If I simply would have said, "No," my children would have persisted, and pressed on. Tantrums would have ensued. Tears would have rolled down their cheeks. My ears would have split. And the cork in my wine bottle would have been popped much sooner than it needed to be. I needed to tell those lies and didn't think twice about it.

Some lies, usually the big ones, are to protect my kids' innocence. I pretend Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Elf on the Shelf, and even leprechauns exist. We lie straight to our kids' faces about them because we want to preserve the magic of childhood. We want to witness the mystery and joy in our children's eyes, so we never hesitate to pretend certain things are a reality.

There's also lies we tell to protect them. The world is a nasty place. Guns and violence are hitting our kids' schools, so when the news is on (because I always forget to turn the TV off when my kids come into the room), and they see some "scary bank robber" with a black mask over his face and ask, "Who's that scary guy, mommy?" I never hesitate to say, "Oh, he's just dressing up for a costume party." My young child does not need to wrap his head around terrorism or gang violence at such a young age. He should be concerned with how he's going to catch that money-hungry leprechaun or get the Tooth Fairy to give him more money instead.

No, I'm not instilling dishonesty into my children. It's just that motherhood is challenging enough. Those white lies help me from fighting every single battle with my strong-willed children. So, if lying can save the entire family from yet another tug of war, another argument, or another cry fest, then I do it. Why encourage yells to echo and bounce off of the kitchen walls if I don't have to? Thank you, but I choose my sanity instead. No, I choose our family's sanity instead.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
Product Credit: Model on Left: Bonpoint dress. Model on right: Juxtamod dress.
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