White lies are cute, but when should kids know the whole truth?
I remember holding my newborn in my arms and thinking about all the lies I’d be piling on this little bundle of joy in the years to come. Not a traditional first dad thought, but, hey, kids are resilient. Think about all the lies you’ve told that have generated childhood joy. Maybe you have a fond childhood memory fueled by a lie?
It’s great fun to tell kids wondrous tales during holidays, when visiting old friends or even running errands around town to increase your perceived wisdom or heroism. But when is it just a lil’ too much? When do you peel back the layers of lies you’ve laid on the fruit of your loins? I would suggest never. Remember: Practical lies make the world go ’round: Wonders of Wildlife construction is over when you say it is; Dickerson Park Zoo opens after “your room is clean”; and the fro-yo place will pass health inspection when momma fits into her swimsuit.
How can I discourage my kids from making gross eating noises at dinner?
I get it, open-mouth chewing is the worst. You’re not raising a gap-mouthed monster that musically masticates like a mule walking through mounds of mud, are you? To avoid any annoying behavior, I recommend tying the activity to an adulthood eventuality—things you know will happen naturally but in no way tie to the pesky activity. Por ejemplo:
• Stop fighting with your siblings or you’ll have to pay taxes (eventually, we all do).
• Whiners have to wait in long lines at the DMV (eventually, and perpetually).
• Chewing with your mouth open will give you arthritis (eventually, all bodies wear out).
Should you live long enough to see your kid pay taxes or queue up at the DMV, you have the satisfaction of saying “I told you what would happen.” In summary, to stop the behavior now, plant a seed for the future. This is a long-con.