Truth be told… Part 1: Parents lying to the child


“Mommy, what happened to my daddy, why don’t I have a dad like the other children?” asks Rachel who is four years old.

Mom freezes for a moment from the cooking she was doing and a rush of information from the past flows through her mind of the time her husband, her little girl’s father stepped out from their lives after an argument and chose to be free from the reins of family-hood.

…and begins to explain:

“Well, your father travels around the world a lot for work and one day, he will be back and bring you lots of dolls from all parts of the world.”

Off skips Rachel to her room, happily to continue to play.


Unlike other species that travel across the earth, only human beings are capable of lying.

Lying, is the act of defying what is known and understood and presenting an alternative in its place.

Without life’s experiences at hand for the child, aspects can be extremely difficult to understand, so to present a full complex explanation to a child all at once can be overwhelming therefore elementary explanations tend to be simple, concise, or simply incorrect (lying), but the attempt has been made to make it more understandable for the child and less uncomfortable for the parent, especially easier by avoiding any emotional trauma that comes with the truth. Lying prevents deeper discussions from ensuing as in the above case.

Why does a person lie?

  • The person does so due to a fear that he/ she may have.
  • To avoid a particular person or topic.
  • To impress others or seeking attention and needing a boost in their self-esteem.
  • To protect their child from certain information.
  • The person who habitually lies just seeks the short-term benefits of a lie.

The outcome of a lie:

  • It can bring about shame and embarrassment.
  • It can destroy the trust anyone may have for someone who lies.
  • And if uncorrected it can form into a habit.
  • Eventually, socially, the person may experience being rejected and have difficulty forming any meaningful relationship.
  • Emotionally, the person will feel a sense of loss of true-self and could lead to psychological issues or a physical dependency.

The person WILL suffer the consequences of what a lie may cause!

If a child enquires about a certain topic (be it sex, drugs, a family member, divorce, death, crime, etc…) or about something they may be experiencing in their life- BE TRUTHFUL. Too often, parents assume that they must have the answers and reactions immediately, and this misguided notion encourages conflict in the home. In fact, for parents’ benefit, it is well within your rights to tell a child that you need time to process that information with which they came forward and that a discussion will be tabled until everyone is ready or find someone that can assist you in sharing the information with the child as soon as possible.

Do not delay the discussion forever or withhold the information, as your child shall seek the information elsewhere and it will either be misguided information and the child will not rely on you for an answer in the future. Allowing the child to view you as an ally in their development is one way to hone the bonded trust between the two of you.

Be true to your children and set an example and be their compass in life in showing them the True North.