Moms should follow the Golden Rule, too.
Cara Gardenswartz: In almost every situation, telling the truth teaches your kids to do the same with you -- to be truthful. Every time you lie to avoid a difficult topic, you miss a precious opportunity to talk openly with your children. You want to let them know that they can always turn to you, no matter the circumstance.
The following examples are lies that parents make:
Lie: "The car doesn't work until your seat belts are buckled."
Alternative: "I'm not starting the car until the seat belts are fastened. This is how mommy keeps you safe."
Lie: "It's against the law for four-year-olds to use pacifiers."
Alternative: "I know you really love your binky, but as kids get older they don't use them anymore. It's better for your teeth. We can think of something else that makes you feel good to hold onto." (Don't forget to validate her feelings -- "I know this is hard" -- and let her talk about it.)
Lie: "Fluffy (the cat) went to live with Mommy and Daddy Cat."
Alternative: "Fluffy died" (wait to see their response). You don't want to give kids more information than they need. If they don't ask the question, they're not ready or curious. When they are, they'll ask.
Lie: "If you don't behave, Santa won't bring you gifts."
Alternative: "If you don't take care of your toys and put them away, then Mommy and Daddy aren't going to buy you more toys."
Lie: "We don't have enough money to pay for the toy you want."
Alternative: "We aren't going to spend our money on toys today." (This is a lesson in coping. When she gets mad at you, she can learn to tolerate her feelings -- and learn that if she gets mad at Mommy, Mommy can tolerate being yelled at and won't go away or stop loving her.)
Lie: "The shot won't hurt" or "You probably won't get a shot at the check-up."
Alternative: "You're probably going to get a shot ... I know, Sweetie, I don't like shots either. I do promise though it will be done by the time you count to three."
|Dr. Cara Gardenswartz is a licensed clinical psychologist who provides therapy to adults and couples, and specializes in relationships, mental illness, and group therapy. She has over 16 years of education, training, and experience in her field. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to earn her Master's and Doctorate in Psychology at the UCLA. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.|