Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lying to your child

I've stretched the truth before with Ben to make him not worry. I don't mean to lie but sometimes I just say things without really thinking about the fact that it's actually not true, instead I'm just thinking about what I can tell my little boy to make him feel better. Rest assured I don't plan on lying to my child forever, or even mean to do it now. In fact I hope to be very open an honest with him. I hope that he feels like he can always come to us with anything and know that we will always be there for him. When he asks me where babies come from I'm not going to tell him the stork. I will be age appropriate though! But the point is that over the past few months I've noticed that I do this and that it can potentially bite me in the arse.

Like when he saw an earthquake on TV and he got scared and I told him that he shouldn't be scared because we don't have earthquakes in Cincinnati. Three days later we had an earthquake. Fortunately he was staying at my mother in law's and didn't feel it because if he had I'm sure he would have said "Mommy, you said we didn't have earthquakes.

Fast forward to two days ago when it was storming outside. Ben hates storms so I try to make them okay. We normally talk about how rain helps the flowers go. That particular morning I said "Ooh, did you hear the thunder?" He says "Mommy, that's not thunder, that's just angel's bowling." I did not tell him this lie, he's father did. Unlike the earthquake incident the only problem I can foresee is Ben raising his hand in science class and answering the question"Why does it thunder?" incorrectly. My hope is that by the time he gets asked that question he'll figure out it's not really angels bowling.

As we continued our morning and drove to school in the pouring rain a bright bolt of lightning flashed through the sky. Ben jumped a little and I immediately said "Don't worry, lightning can't hurt you." Before I could stop myself from finishing that statement I knew I shouldn't' have said it as lightning can clearly hurt you. So I start having a conversation with myself. Do I tell him it can? Do I tell him it can but it's very rare? Do I tell him not to hold a metal rod in his hand when it's lighting? Do I just let it go and the next time there's lightning I tell him it can hurt him? Honestly in a very short amount of time all these thoughts went through my head as well as how I needed to start saving for his therapy bill so he can talk to someone about how he had a mom who lied to him.

As I'm drowning in guilt my sweet, logical, creative, hilarious son says "I know mommy, those bugs are very little." It took about 20 seconds for me to realize he was talking about lightning bugs. I forgot the guilt and instead engaged my son in a discussion about how he thinks lightning bugs fly up in the sky to make lightning and then come back down at night and fly around our house.

He's three. He's funny. He'll be okay. The lightning conversation will happen but not too soon, Ben's version is much better.


Kimberly said...

Lightning bugs! So funny! I love the logic of 3 year olds sometimes!

Great post btw, and I'm sure he'll be well adjusted enough to hold down a job and pay for his own therapy bill... :)

Chris Salley said...