I know from my fan correspondence that there is some cockamamie concern that lying to your child will lead them to lie as well. My first response is “duh- don’t get caught.” Here is the good news: children have faith in their parents- they believe in us blindly! So, how hard is it to exploit that? Come on, now! In matters of faith, truth is irrelevant. Hell, it can be downright dangerous! Adult up, stick to your guns and outsmart your children.
Anyway, lying can be a vague concept. In the case of lying to our children to protect them from the unsavory, it’s more like a postponement of the truth. By the time your children figure out what sex is, for example, they will be too horrified to talk to you about it. And the potential element of pity is worth capitalizing upon- poor mom and dad! They could have been spared the cost of in vitro if they had only known about s-e-x! And it does explain mommy’s divorce from her first husband….
But seriously, you can deflect your way out of any potentially incriminating conversation. Take the example below where I was able to slither easily out of a perilous exchange. I was in the midst of my first encounter with a new doctor and he was reviewing my health history.
“So, Elsa, do we drink too much?
“I don’t know doctor. I mean, I just met you- do you?”
“I meant you.”
“Ah! You had me worried there. I don’t do well with stranger’s confessions. I’m still reeling from having to read St. Augustine in grad school- quite the windbag.”
“Right… so- do you drink too much?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I see. A good gauge is if people around you think you drink too much.”
“Wow- I would never hang around those kind of people!”
“OK, my point is, do you have one drink per day? Two? A dozen?”
“Sure! But wait- what kind of glass am I using in this scenario? Are we talking a full up red wine glass or those puny little sherry glasses? Because that could entirely alter my response.”
“You know, let’s skip this and go straight to your family history.”
“Really? Because I thought this was going quite well.”
See? You can squelch anyone’s attempt to worm any sort of supposed “truth” out of you. For God’s sake, if I can deflect a highly educated adult who’s made it through med school, plus a strenuous, never-ending residency, surely we can pull the wool over our children’s eyes with ease!
Also, we eventually want them to learn to lie to our grandchildren. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end a fun weekend at Gam-gams with an overexposed six year old grandchild wildly describing the birds and the bees, while I’m spooning out Metamucil realizing that the most exciting movement in my life is now intricately associated with my bowel. I don’t think so!
Keep lying. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.