In the teacher’s lounge one of my co-workers had brought her daughter down into the room from babysitting to eat lunch together. My friends and I were sitting at one part of the table sharing a bag of chips, and the woman’s daughter wanted some. We happily gave some chips to the little girl. The mom told her that was all she was going to get.
After eating her chips, the daughter wanted more. The mom said no, but the daughter threw a fit. So the mom caved in and gave her daughter some more chips, again saying that this time was the last. Of course, the same thing happened at least two more times. After the third time, the mom finally decided to tell her daughter there weren’t anymore chips… she lied!
Well, after eating her chips, the daughter wanted more. So she started crying for it, again. The mom kept telling her the same old lie: there weren’t anymore chips. But she finally realized her daughter didn’t believe her, so she turned to me and said, “Can you give her some more chips?”
I was a little annoyed. Didn’t she just tell her daughter the chips were done? I actually mentioned that to her, “You told her there weren’t anymore…?” The mom said, “Yea I know, but she wants it now.”
Wow, way to lie to your kid.
When the mom lied, it didn’t even accomplish anything. In the end, after the mom lied, the daughter didn’t believe her, and the mom ended up giving the daughter what she wanted, thus proving to the daughter that she was lying to her. Now the daughter is going to have this idea in her head that if mommy says there is no more, it probably is a lie, and if she cries for it enough, what she wants will magically reappear.
It doesn’t matter how many tantrums your kids are throwing, parents should find an honest way to discipline their kids. For example in this situation the mom could’ve said, “There aren’t anymore FOR YOU to eat . You’ve already had your fair share.” Simple. That’s not lying. Saying this does two things 1) she avoids telling a lie and 2) the kid learns the idea of eating his/her own share of the food and leaving the rest for others.
Also, I know sometimes we think that rules about lying can be bent on kids, but the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam mentioned on multiple occasions that it is wrong to lie specifically to kids.
Lying is improper whether in earnest or in jest. (All lying is unacceptable) even if anyone of you promises his child something and does not fulfill his promise. (Al-Bukahri in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad and Abu Dawud)
This hadith shows how repugnant lying is viewed in Islam. Most people do not find anything wrong with not fulfilling a certain promise given to a young child. The child is bound to forget or can be easily appeased with something else. But deliberate unfulfillment of a promise given to a child is unacceptable. In order to emphasize this last point, let me quote this report by `Abdullah ibn `Amir, a young Companion of the Prophet. He said,
My mother called me one day when Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) was in our house. She said, “Come and I will give you something.” Allah’s Messenger asked her, “What do you intend to give him?” She said, “I want to give him dates.” The Prophet said, “If you were not to give him something, your statement would be recorded against you as a lie.”
If there are specific prohibitions about lying to kids, it shows how much more careful we need to be about it.
Parents, please don’t lie to your kids. They’re just like everyone else and deserve the truth.
Are there any parents out there that have any advise on how to avoid lying to your kids? Or how being honest has helped you in parenting?