Teaching our Children to Lie to Us - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-21-2002, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I know this probably happens to everyone here, but I absolutely HATE it when our family members sneak things to dd behind our backs and then giggle about it and tell dd to keep it secret from us (like giving her junk food, letting her do soemthing she isn't supposed to do etc).

It's not that giving her junk food would be that big of a deal, the issue is that they are teaching the child that it is ok to lie to and disrespect their parents, and that it is ok to trust other adults who "give" you things and keep those people's "secrets"
.

Why on earth would people do this?
I have seen my FIL give beer to my 7 year old cousin on multiple occasions. I have seen them do other similar things with the other kids in the family. Then the 7 year old makes such a big deal about his secret with his uncle ....

If you want children to bond with you, then play with them, talk to them, interact with them...don't bribe them!

How do you deal with this when it happens?
And do you allow your children to spend time with people who do this if you are not around?
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Old 03-21-2002, 12:55 PM
 
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LaLa,

ITA! And, I bet I'll be flamed for being a worry wart or not letting grandparents have fun etc. I think it is unsafe to create that kind of atmosphere or relationship where secrecy is involved. My ds is only 14 months, when he is older I plan on telling all adults in his life that we do not have secrets because if children think it's ok to have secrets from their parents it can leave a child vulnerable.

Hopefully my ds will never come in contact with a person who plans on harming him. Unfortunately, statistics show otherwise.

I know, I know, I am a little over the top... but hello, the child porn ring that was nabbed recently...had a priest and a teacher... yikes!

~Laura
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Old 03-21-2002, 01:18 PM
 
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LaLa, I think you are right to be concerned about this. It's not What they are doing, it is the lesson they are teaching about dishonesty, and I think that is your concern, right?

I don't (to my knowledge!) have this problem with dd's grandparents or anyone else, but if I did, I would find an appropriate time to sit them down and say something to the effect of, "I know you really value your relationship with dd and she just adores you, too. And I know that you enjoy "spoiling" her, and sometimes letting her do things that I would not normally allow. I would prefer if you didn't, but I'm not going to make a big deal of that. What does concern me is when you tell her, 'Let's not tell Mommy about this.' I think it is a dangerous lesson to teach children that it is okay and even fun to keep secrets from parents. We are trying to teach her that she should tell us everything and feel comfortable sharing anything with us, and that is for her own protection. If someone were to harm her in any way and ask her to keep it a secret, I want her to know that she should tell me immediately."

That was kind of long, but you know what I mean! Hopefully your inlaws will understand where you are coming from rather than interpret it (as so many inlaws do, grrrr!) as, "Oh, she's being so ridiculous...we're just having a little fun." As far as what you can do to help your daughter, I once read a really valuable bit of advice about teaching kids the difference between secrets and surprises - that a surprise is something you don't tell for a little while because it will be fun when the person finds out, like a present or a party, and that makes you feel good, but a secret is something you are never supposed to tell and it usually makes you feel uncomfortable or guilty. And then you tell them, "We don't have secrets in this family." This advice really made an impression on me, and i plan to use it!

Good luck!
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Old 03-21-2002, 01:21 PM
 
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we've decided that my dad isn't ever going to be left alone with ds. he has made it clear that he does not respect us as parents of him, always saying things like "just wait til he's old enough to keep a secret." thats when he says hes going to take him out for greasy hamburgers and milkshakes (we're raising him vegan). he has already given my nephew who's 2 1/2 m&m's and chocolate cow's milk, which he had only had soy or rice milk. he said that he when his cup ran out, it was either choc cow milk or kool-aid. hasn't he ever heard of water??? : he thinks that we are depriving our kids. i don't see that it is his decision to make how we raise our kids. maybe if we were unfit parents doing him harm, i would see it as his place to step in. he also always asks when i'm going to wean ds, who's almost 8 months, so he can come stay the night. "why don't you just give him a bottle? he can come stay here, we'll get him some cow milk or some formula." i see that as harm to my child and will not allow him to be left alone. so that is probably the biggest reason i decided to let ds wean himself whenever he wants to: 1, 2 3, 4 whenever it bothers me the most that he is trying to teach ds to lie to his parents, that it's ok. but hopefully it won't be a problem now
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Old 03-21-2002, 01:40 PM
 
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This is something we have done with our kids from the very beginning--no secrets! As they got older, though (8.5 year old twins; the baby doesn't talk yet ), we had to figure out what to do about special secret presents for Christmas and birthday, etc., so we called those kinds of things surprises. We told them that the difference between a secret and a surprise is that the surprise is always going to be told eventually. A surprise is something fun and exciting that will make the recipient happy.

Fortunately I haven't had a problem (yet) with the grandparents giving the kids things I don't want them to have. I really relax my guidelines when we're around them 'cause I figure that's what grandparents do. Obviously if they were giving sips of beer that would be an issue, but a couple pieces of candy or some Sprite isn't going to yank my chain. My ILs do keep saying, jokingly, that they're going to give Alec (7 months) Cheetos and potato chips when he starts eating food, so I just haven't told them that he's eating . I know they're joking, but they think it's okay for a toddler to be eating stuff like that.

Erm, maybe I went off-topic again.

Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

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Old 03-21-2002, 01:43 PM
 
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peacemama,

I like the idea re: surprise and secret.

And, you put my thoughts into words so eloquently - thank you

~Laura
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Old 03-21-2002, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, peacemama, I am thinking of snipping part of that post and using it for when we do talk to them!
LOL

I dont' know if I should just send it to them in email so they can think about it without confronation, or if I should wait until something happens again and then talk about it.

So far, the only thing I've done is when they were giving the child beer, I told the child he was too young to drink beer and he didn't need to worry about when he could have some because it would be many years later. Right after I said that, and in the same room, FIL said, you can have some, it's on teh counter. I was so upset! He completely undermined what I just said to the boy. Granted, I am not his guardian, but still...it was inappropriate. So I told FIL, "That is one reason why you will not be babysitting my dd"
I said it jokingly, but I think we both know that there is truth behind it.

Anyway, I hate to rock the boat by making a big issue of it now, but I would rather that we were all on the same page instead of continuing on in this fashion.

ARGH!
Why does it have to be so difficult?
My own parents have their own quirks, but it is so much easier because I feel so comfortable to come out and say whatever I wan t with them, and we resove issues as they happen.
I prefer that method so much!!!

Thanks for your ideas mamas.
Surprise/Secret...very good!
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Old 03-21-2002, 02:08 PM
 
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Okay, LaLa, but I expect to be paid royalties every time you use it!
:LOL
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Old 03-21-2002, 02:35 PM
 
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My mother overheard my MIL telling Dd, 3 months at the time, that they would just have to get away from Mom to sneak some candy. Starting early.

Thanks for the ideas on how to handle this double whammy of both sugar and sneakery.

Edited to add PS: Karma points (royalties) to all bfor this post, and for suggestions offered especially about the differences between secrets and surprises. I had a few quiet minutes with Dh and we had a wonderful discussion. Much of the things dIL's say goes in one ear and out the other with him - he's so used to various nonesenses that he's perfected selective hearing in their presence. He hears them with new ears when I bring things up, especially when I can make the topic less personal by saying someone else on the board had the same thing. Then it's more of a discussion of a subject, not of his parents. Thanks again!!!!
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Old 03-22-2002, 02:09 AM
 
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That was a really great idea Peacemama about the surprise vs secret. I haven't had any of these issues yet and I hope that I don't.
I do think it's important to set boundaries and tell this people that it is absolutely not OK for them to ask your child to have secrets with them.
Geez, people can be so dense sometimes. :
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