We have all had our share of manipulative, drama-filled friendships and relationships. We at The Honesty Thing have learned that honest relationships with others are possible, desirable, and easier than you might think. We disagree with the expectation to lie to our spouses, friends, and family. Relationships can thrive without little white lies (or big lies) if the parties are gentle with the truth. No one should need to lie to get what they want from someone else.
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy…how do we expect our children to trust us as parents when we engage in these elaborate, nationwide lies? Most adults we’ve talked to have admitted feeling mildly to very betrayed by their parents when they were children and finally discovered the truth about these characters. You need to make your own decisions about what you think is best for your children. Just because it seems everyone else does it, doesn’t mean we all have to continue the lie.
The Honesty Thing began with our relationship, and continued when we decided our children would benefit from us telling the truth as we know it whenever possible. We wondered how we could expect trust from our children if we lied to them, even if it was a socially acceptable, even expected, lie. At the time, we thought the impact of our decision would be contained to our little family. However, that was not the case. Though our children are smart and respectful, and don’t interfere with other children’s’ beliefs, it seems difficult for some adults to understand our choice.
When we don’t know the answer to a question, we tell them so, and we work to find the answer. Thank goodness for the internet, a resource our parents didn’t have!
Like any other parents, we make sure the kids take peoples’ feelings into consideration, and we are teaching our children not to say things that will hurt feelings. Having school-age children makes this an ongoing challenge, since other children are a big influence—sometimes good and sometimes bad. Both are opportunities to learn how to navigate the world of social interactions in a way that is kind and strong and good.
Since we value a good imagination and sense of wonder, we encourage pretend play and the telling of tales. We simply make sure they know the difference between fantasy and reality.
The Honesty Thing will share insights and experiences. Feedback, comments, and suggestions are very welcome as we navigate our way through our policy of truth.
So, how’s the honesty thing working out for you?