Is honesty the best policy?
Not necessarily, says Judi Ketteler, author of Would I Lie to You? The Amazing Power of Being Honest in a World That Lies. If Judi’s name (and voice) sound familiar to you, it’s because she’s been on the podcast before: in Oct. 2018, she talked to us about parenting risk-taking boys. (Her son, Maxx, is into Gtramp, an extreme trampoline sport.)
We all want our boys to be decent, honest human beings, but the truth is, honesty isn’t a black-and-white issue. As Judi learned, there are a whole host of reasons why people lie: We want others to like us. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We want to avoid a conflict. We’re protecting someone (or something).
In some cases, lying is healthy — so telling our kids to be honest all the time is actually a bit hypocritical because our kids see and hear us lying.
Believe it or not, a big part of maturity is figuring out when and how to lie.
“We think that our kids grow out of lying, but actually they grow into lying,” Judi says.
If you really want to raise honest, moral children, begin by investigating your own relationship with honesty.
“There’s such power in saying, ‘I’ll start with me,'” Judi says.
In this episode, Jen, Janet & Judi discuss:
- Why kids — and adults — lie
- How lying behavior changes as humans grow
- Prosocial lying, or lying for the benefit of others
- Helping kids be honest and moral online
- Why you should “engage at the level of reality they’re looking for”
- How to handle Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny
- What to do when you know your child is lying to you
- The connection between shame, lying and honesty
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
Risk-Taking Boys with Mom Judi Ketteler — ON BOYS episode 132
Should You Be Lying to Your Kids About Santa? –– Judi’s TIME magazine article
I Didn’t Do It! — Scholastic Parent & Child article by Jen
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