"Daddy, can I have some of that chocolate?"
"This chocolate right here? Nah, you don't want this chocolate, it's nasty."
"If it's nasty, why you eating it? Why did you eat the whole pack of chocolates?"
"Sometimes grown-ups like to eat nasty stuff, remember how I liked liver and onions and you hated it?"
"Well, this chocolate tastes kind of like that, like liver and onions. You don't want liver an onions chocolate right?"
"No, I don't want that."
"Good, now go grab the remote for daddy and then go play."
The above conversation is fictional. Despite my online name, I do not eat whole packs of chocolate in a single sitting. Now, if we talking about Cool Ranch Doritos, well I'll admit to making that mistake once or twice. But, I digress.
I wrote the above conversation because it seemed like something that would happen in many American homes. A child starts asking uncomfortable questions or making demands, and a parent responds with a little white lie to smooth things over. Nothing and nobody is really hurt, since the child will probably one day laugh at the fact that he thought chocolate tasted like liver and onions.
Or, he might hate your guts.
According to this study there is an epidemic of dishonesty among parents. It appears that when the going gets tough, parents get to lying.
I don't have a lying problem. My momma beat that out of me when she caught me lying about vacuuming her room when I was seven years old. And folks say spanking doesn't work.
It's not that I don't get the urge to spin some tall ones for my little ones. Sometimes when my oldest is asking me questions, it seems much easier to answer with a little lie, then try to break down the truth. Yet, as far as I can remember, I've resisted the urge. I don't know if that means I'm really honesty, or that I have a selective memory.
Anyway, I know it seems cute to tell our kids these little lies to shut them up, but I wonder about the long-term effects of our falsehoods. When the truth is finally revealed, what happens to the parent-child relationship? I guess it's ok when they find out about Santa Claus, but what about when they find about that their "Auntie" Angie, is really the mother of their half-brothers and sisters?
My opposition to lying today is biblical now that the scars from my beating have worn off. I often wonder though if God permits some lies when they serve the greater good, or if they are always a sin. I guess it's one of those questions I'll never get answered definitively. Anyway, what I do know is that if you're one of those parents, or just plain adults, who thinks that lying to kids is no big deal you need to know one thing.
You ain't alone.