Friday, June 29, 2012

Lying to your children.

The post today is inspired by a linky from Ninja Killer Cat in which she talks about lying to your children, and is looking for posts about whether we should or shouldn't.

I've never been happy with that.  I've allowed the AC to enjoy Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy and so on as part of his cultural heritage.  I've actively encouraged his belief in Father Christmas et al in the year after Rich died, because my little had had such a massive shock to his world, that he needed something to believe in.

I think Rich's death was the most complicated to negotiate in terms of lying to my boy.

On the day of the accident, I had to tell him Rich had died.  Because we didn't have all of the details, (and as it turned out, my interpretation of events was the right one) I had to tell him something.  He was 6 years 1 month old, and he understood Rich coming off his bike, but he wouldn't have understood how that killed him, so I told him that a car went over Rich and he died.  It turned out not to be quite a lie, but at the time it was all I had in my still-in-shock brain.

In the days after the accident, I told him that Rich's brother was going to sort everything out, and that we didn't need to worry.  That turned out to be a lie, although initially it wasn't a deliberate one.  As time went on, I wanted the AC to believe and trust the brother, even though I was having my doubts.  As it was, I was right.

Obviously, the most common lie was the "Mummy is fine darling, just having a moment."  which was code for "Actually, I miss him so bad my heart feels like it is going to explode out of me, but you still need things doing, so lets slap on a game face and go do stuff!"

I try not to lie to the child.  He is 9 now, and big and strong and braver than most, and has been through more than most, and survived with a smile.  I don't tell him "later" or "we'll see." if the real answer is no.  He understands about mortgages and bills and earning money and not having it for nice things sometimes.  Do I think he knows too much?  Perhaps.  Can I take it away? No.  Would I if I could?  I don't know.  It's made him who he is today.  Would I rather have lied, and said Rich will be back soon, just to delay the moment of breaking his heart?  No.  It had to be done.

Sometimes, perhaps, there are lies that need to be told, like Father Christmas, but mostly, the truth is like the sun - you can shut it out for a time, but it ain't going away.  (Elvis said that!)