White Lies

Veronica - posted on 06/03/2009 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I think white lies are outdated -- I think being blunt, to the point, it either is or it isnt - is the better way to go, rather than trying to please others. We cant please everyone, and I feel white lies are hurtful to others and ourselves more than the truth is. And so I feel this is something Im going to bring my kids up with. (Of course respect and self-discipline have to go hand in hand so dont get me wrong there) What do you ladies think??

23 Comments

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Angela - posted on 05/29/2012

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I think you probably have a point there. But remember, saying absolutely nothing at all isn't telling a lie. Why make any comment? It's different though if you are asked for an opinion.

When you are approached by a friend wearing a new dress that looks absolutely hideous on her, and she asks you what you think - you can do one of 4 things ....

a) the white lie - say it looks wonderful
b) the blunt truth - say it looks dreadful
c) give the kind answer which isn't a lie and won't hurt her feelings either - find something about the dress you actually like and mention it. You love the colour, or you love the quality of the cloth etc ...
d) walk away and pretend you didn't hear her!

You don't only have the choice of the white lie or the blunt truth!

Jeanne - posted on 06/04/2009

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I do believe being honest and straightforward is the best way to go. But I have learned in my 40 years on this planet that sometimes not telling the entire truth isn't a bad thing either. I have eaten at my sisters house where she was trying out a new dish and when asked what I thought of it I said that I didn't like it (I was like 18 at the time) and that I personally wouldn't eat it again - well what a can or worms - everybody else told her it was great, that I didn't know what I was talking about and then they berated me for being rude. Can you believe that they still bring it up to this day? So I have learned that in some cases it is just easier to go with the vast majority. Call me a wimp or tell me that I am being weak that's fine but when it is something that inconsequential I think it is just better to nod and agree. If it were an important issue or something that could come back to bite someone in the butt I would say what I felt even if I were the only one to feel that way. I've learned to pick the battles I chose to fight.

Jen - posted on 06/04/2009

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Well put Jodi. Somehow I always knew the Easter Bunny wasn't real and that the Toothfairy was my mom also. But it never ruined the experience. We still to this day do family egg hunts for Easter and I plan on continuing the tradition with my children. :o)



As for my family, Veronica, we too belive in Jesus and will teach his birth as the focal point of Christmas but I really like your take on the St. Nicholas aspect.

?? - posted on 06/04/2009

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Anyone who claims that they don't lie is a liar. My mom told me that when I was about 5 years old. I believe that honesty is the best policy, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, as well as why sugarcoat something that doesn't need to be sweet. There is a way to be honest without being rude or mean or cruel and a way to be honest without completely destroying a childs fun outlook on things.



I also believe that imagination is a key factor to any childhood. Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Cartoons, Fairy Tale creatures, such as Pixies and dragons and leprechauns and gnomes... those are all things that have wonder and amazement to children. And they inspire thoughts and emotions.



I don't think you have to tell your young child that Santa doesn't exist - you can tell them that Santa's energy/spirit/whatever exists inside everyone whether they know it or not and you can teach them about St. Nick, the real Santa without 'taking away' from those children all the fun that they see every other child having. As long as you teach them that every family celebrates that time of the year differently it shouldn't be an issue. All in all I don't think letting your child believe that Santa is lying to them or telling them a white lie, it's simply allowing their imaginations to be untamed.



From what I can remember, I never once believed that the Easter Bunny was real, I just remember it being some of those things that we did every year at the same time and some people went to church and some people didn't but it was always a time to be with family and love each other and eat lots of chocolate and get sick cause we ate lots of chocolate. Paint eggs, hide eggs, find eggs and my mom had chickens so we always had more eggs than other people so we would give eggs to families so they could do it too.



The tooth fairy I think I always figured it was my mom, I just had no freakin idea how she got the money under my pillow without me feeling it! It was like a magic trick - like when those dudes pull a bunny out of a hat but he just showed you an empty hat!



I don't believe any of that stuff to be considered lying or even white lies. I believe it to be imagination and fun.



Now when it comes to when someone says "Do these pants make my ass look fat?" Like Amie said - you can be tactful about it. And as Veronica said - you can divert the question back to the person asking it, although I was taught that it's not polite to answer a question with a question haha my boyfriend is honest with me, and he lacks tact quite often haha I will say "How does this look?" and he will say something like... "It looks like an outfit" or "Great! Lets go!" I know he doesn't care what I wear, he thinks I'm beautiful regardless but sometimes he will say something like "Are you serious?" and I'll want to smack him! But then I think "Wait... am I serious?" and look at myself again lol like Veronica said.



But with children you have to be careful how you word things to them and you do have to be clear and as honest as you possibly can - cause they will make up their own variations of things if you are not 100% absolutely clear with them what you mean...



I forget where I heard this but this made me laugh on how children can misconstrue something that is pretty simple to explain...



A mom, dad and son go to a nude beach. They set up for the day and the son runs off to play in the sand, dad walks off to wade in the surf and mom lays in the sun to tan. A few minutes later the son returns and says "Mom, how come all these women have bigger breasts than you do?" and mom says "The bigger the breasts, the sillier the woman." The son satisfied with that answer goes back to play, soon to return and ask "Mom, how come all these men have bigger penis' than dad does?" and mom says "The bigger the penis, the dumber the man." Satisfied again by this answer, the boy takes off to find his dad. Soon he returns and says "Mom! Mom come quick! Dad is talking to the silliest woman on the beach and the longer he talks to her the dumber he gets!"



And when it comes to death I agree that honesty is the best way to go, without scaring your child into thinking that EVERYTHING will lead to death. I think telling them honestly about the seat belts is good, and with crossing the road. I know a lady that told her 4 year old daughter if she went outside without her a man would kidnap her and steal her and hurt her and kill her, and her daughter was so scared by this story that she never wanted to go outside without her mom cause she was so sure some man was gonna come and grab her up!



Being honest and teaching how to be honest in a positive way is always good. Being brutally honest is appropraite in some situations. Allowing kids to be kids is necessary and essential.

Veronica - posted on 06/04/2009

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That is sooo funny and cute - 'but you would kiss me..." im just giggling cause it reminds me of my son- he has the funniest comments too! lol Thanks, i needed that!! lol You are right though - this is one of those, 'it depends on the situation' aspects with white lies - but i keep this in mind all the time: It either is or it isnt, anything else is not of. That is what i try to live by... and it definatly helps -- cause i was a wishy washy person at one point - still fall there once in a while -- but i find that when i think of that statement - i make better decisions and am more responsible, and confident.

Sarah - posted on 06/04/2009

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Quoting Veronica:

A lying story i tell my kids is this: Two sisters were caught stealing from their mother. Their mother talked to each seperatly. One sister told the mom the truth, the other sister lied. The one who told the truth got a small punishment for stealing, but was acknowledged for telling the truth - the second sister got punishment for stealing and lying.

This seems to help (still working with the kids) but seeing the double punishment makes it better for them to understand that concept. (I think)

I am brutally honest with my kids. THey didnt want to buckle up in the truck - so i told them exactly what could happen, the whole gory details of an accident and flying through a windshield. Maybe it was harsh, but they always buckle up now. no questions asked. (Plus we wear our seatbelts all the time) Leading by example is the best way to teach your children. Thats what works for me.


i'm the same with my eldest, i told her that not paying attention when we're crossing the road will get you 'squished' and make you dead! bless her, she said, 'but you would kiss me and i'd wake up' (too many princess stories!) so i explained about real life and 'pretend' life, and went into detail about what would happen. i think when it comes to life and death situations, there's no point sugar coating things. i always answer her honestly with her questions (even the awkward ones!) 



honesty is definately the best way with such things! :)

Veronica - posted on 06/04/2009

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I can honestly say that i lie too. And im not excusing myself in any way. I just feel that its to be stopped, and its changed since ive been a parent.

Veronica - posted on 06/04/2009

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A lying story i tell my kids is this: Two sisters were caught stealing from their mother. Their mother talked to each seperatly. One sister told the mom the truth, the other sister lied. The one who told the truth got a small punishment for stealing, but was acknowledged for telling the truth - the second sister got punishment for stealing and lying.



This seems to help (still working with the kids) but seeing the double punishment makes it better for them to understand that concept. (I think)



I am brutally honest with my kids. THey didnt want to buckle up in the truck - so i told them exactly what could happen, the whole gory details of an accident and flying through a windshield. Maybe it was harsh, but they always buckle up now. no questions asked. (Plus we wear our seatbelts all the time) Leading by example is the best way to teach your children. Thats what works for me.

Sarah - posted on 06/04/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

I think honesty is a very admirable trait and if we can't tell the other person the truth there is a problem with the relationship. I plan to raise my son the same way. We always tell the truth and never tell a lie no matter how big or small.


you NEVER tell a lie???? wow!!!! i really can't imagine that! not that i lie everyday or anything, but not ever lying? ever? hat's off to you!! :)

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I think honesty is a very admirable trait and if we can't tell the other person the truth there is a problem with the relationship. I plan to raise my son the same way. We always tell the truth and never tell a lie no matter how big or small.

Veronica - posted on 06/04/2009

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Well put Sarah and Amie -- I do agree with "if you can say something nice..." I do agree with situational issues, too.

I guess my issue that i am getting to is this: for sooo long i have enabled my mother to fall apart after her divorce. When i sugarcoated things to make her feel better, to give her place to stand, told her things were ok -etc. -- its left destruction and despair behind. My mother is sooo resentful and angry, and sooooo negative. This is why i started this topic - i now see the long term damage it has taken -- and i have fallen myself really hard -- now im putting my foot down with her on topics, and i dont let her walk all over me anymore -- this is the point i wanted to get to..... this is why i disagree with white lies - to me it means enabling.



As far as santa goes, im not against santa - its just that my huband is - we compromised -- and im sure there are lots of peole out there who disagree about santa too -- i think teaching our children to stand for what they believe in, but to not judge others beliefs it would be a better situation. Cause not everyone feels the same way about stuff, or believe the same way either.



The best saying, " to each its own"

Susie - posted on 06/04/2009

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I agree....although I find my son lying all the time and being sneeky. I know he's afraid to get into trouble but we tell him its better to get the punishment then lie and get caught. we make him do push-ups when he's in trouble or just not listening... I dont know if its just the age but omg he never listens to us!!!!!

Amie - posted on 06/04/2009

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I think on the topic of holidays if your devote in your faith then explaining it to your kids is fine if you choose to but remember to tell them that other kids do not know this so be quiet about it. My daughter came home from grade one during the Christmas holidays a little upset that there were kids who said Santa isn't real. (it's the only issue we've had to deal with because for some reason the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, etc... are all still considered real by these same kids.) We sat her down and explained the origins of Santa and that he was a real person. But like all people he did die. His spirit is what we mean now when we say Santa. His kindness and giving nature are what is the important part and more people should be like he was. I gave her some things to read up on him. She was happy with it and when her friends started up about it again she was able to tell them the truth. She didn't just spout off Santa isn't real.
For everyday things.... there is a fine line that all people need to walk. Obviously if someone could be in danger.. why would you lie? That just makes no sense. If you would then you're a bad friend. Sorry but that's the truth.
... How do I look? You can tell someone they might want to wear something else without being a complete ass about it. It's called tact. It amazes me the amount of people who do not have this. I can be pretty tactless myself but I know I'm doing it, there are people who are just oblivious they are this way though. My FIL is one of them. That man is annoying.
There is nothing wrong with the saying "If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all" either. I was raised with it but I was also raised with it to use it for certain situations. Where you know a volatile reaction could happen. Look at some of the threads on here. It's a good example and I'm as guilty as the next person of doing it. You get worked up because you feel passionately about a certain subject and end up saying things that aren't the nicest. If we'd implement the "if you can't say ...." it'd be a lot better. So many fights start because of the passion behind their convictions. That's fine, it's great that people are passionate about the things they believe. But we need to remember too that others don't feel the way we do so sometimes it is best to keep it to yourself, especially when talking with family and friends. There are a few taboo subjects my family and friends don't talk about with me. They know my stance and I know theirs.. we leave it at that because we know if we start talking about it it won't end nicely.

Sarah - posted on 06/04/2009

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hmmmmm, i guess i'm somewhere in the middle! i certainly think that honesty is the best policy, i don't tolerate lying with my daughter and i praise her when she tells the truth even tho it she knows it will get her 'on the naughty step'. say, if she's done something naughty, but owns up to it, she will go to the 'step' but after, i will say 'well done for telling the truth'
from a personal view, i'm a very honest person, too honest sometimes. in the past it's got me in trouble cause honesty can sometimes seem rude. i've learnt (as someone else pointed out) that there's ways to say stuff rather than being 'brutally honest'.
i do think tho, that sometimes a little white lie isn't the worst thing in the world! i have been known to tell my daughter that a ride was 'broken' and the shop 'wasn't allowed to sell sweets today' does that make me bad?? i don't really think so!
so, i'm big fan of honesty, i think it is clearly the best policy! however i'd be a liar (haha!) if i said a little white lie never passed my lips!
PS. Long live Santa!! :)

Veronica - posted on 06/04/2009

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I think you all have some good points. As far as the santa issue -- maybe this will help -- (for us Jesus is the main point of xmas, and so we keep that a very important thing to talk about, recongnize and honor at that time) As for gifts - etc. I explained to my kids about St. Nicholas and that now as parents the Spirit of the Gift of Giving is what comes at xmas eve -- we keep it open that we put gifts under the tree, and that it comes from the Spirit of giving - that we all can give. (Dont know if this would help anyone on here - or give you ideas) Its hard cause we grew up with santa, and my family talks about santa, etc. This was a decision my husband and i came up with, because he didnt want to have santa -- this i thought was a good comprimise.

Any ways -- i dont think you should hold your tongue when it comes to someone being in danger -- if you feel she could be killed one day, why would you just step back and watch?? I would say something to someone -- if she stops being your friend because you tried to save her life - so be it - if she is safe and out of danger, its still a positive turnout. I also think we should be able to voice our opinions without it breaking out into a fight - we all get so defensive - too many people try to tell us what to do - right and wrong - etc. No one listens anymore.

I had a wake up call one evening with my friend a year ago -- she was complainig about her day, and about her son (he wasnt going to bed for her) -- So i jumped in right away with advice, what she should do, etc. -- and she said," Im only venting, i didnt ask for your help - i just needed to talk to someone" So to me that was a huge lesson in listening.

As far as white lies -- if someone asks if they look fat -- i would direct it back at them "What do you think??" Its not one someone else thinks that is important - its what you think about yourself. My husband will tell me if something looks good or not on me -- i got upset - but when i looked at myself again, i could see better. And i thank him for his honesty of how i look - not sugarcoating and telling me that i look good when i dont. (You see how simple it really is??)

We can go on forever. Oh, the battle i am having right now is this: my mother is heavy - and now my 5 year old son is referring to her as 'fat' grandma --- thats a kink to work out -- but i am not going to sugarcoat it either. Probably something like: yes, grandma is heavy, but no, we dont call her 'fat grandma' its not her name, and we dont refer to people by what they look like - that why they have a name'" We'll see where it leads.....



Great ideas and opinions - thanks for the responses!

Jen - posted on 06/03/2009

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I guess the reason I am very guarded on this issue is that I was brought up in a family where we were allowed to believe he was real. My parents didn't really ACTIVELY push the issue, but they didn't tell us he wasn't. I pretty much figured it out on my own around 5-6 but I didn't tell my sisters because my mom sat me down and explained that it wasn't my place to tell them and how would I feel if someone ruined it for me. They explained away other children's statements by showing that they either just did not believe for their own reasons or their parents did not want them too. That did not seem to affect our opinions on the matter. But they also were very poor growing up, so we didn't believe in Santa leaving presents. When we asked, they told us that Santa knew they (our parents) preferred to get us our presents, so he filled our stockings instead and presents came from mommy and daddy. That never really seemed to be an issue with us, and it explained why other kids got larger presents from 'Santa' and we didn't.



Conversely (and this is the main source of my guardedness), my husband's parents devoutely DENIED the presence of Santa and made their children understand that from the time they were old enough to. But the rest of the family (cousins and such) taught their children to believe, so there were issues. He tells stories of Christmas' at the family farm where all of the other children were allowed to open presents (or stockings) from Santa, and how much fun it was to make and put out cookies, but they were not allowed to participate and it was hard watching everyone else have so much fun. And he remembers how much it sucked to know the 'truth' at an early age and just sitting there while everyone else was reading stories. What bother me even more is that his mother would (and still does) tell stories of the wonderful Christmas' she had growing up, getting presents from Santa and leaving out cookies and how much fun it was. Yet she took away that joy from her own children, with (to this day) no reasonable explaination as to why. I have gotten the impression it was religious in nature, but I still don't understand why you would tell your own children about how wonderful your childhood was and yet remove that little joy from them?



*sigh*

Mel - posted on 06/03/2009

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i want to teach my daughter to believe :) however when i was in year 2, so when i was 7 my best friend told me santa wasnt real. i didnt believe her at all but i asked my dad he said i will tell you if you dont tell your brother. i was soo dissapointed. mum was angry he told me to. but i guess some parents dont teach their kids to believe in it but if they dont i think they shoudlnt be able to go around telling other kids at school

Jen - posted on 06/03/2009

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I totally agree with you, Amy. I haven't decided yet if I am going to teach my son to believe, but if I did, I would approach it in the same manner. I knew there was a better way of saying that but its been a long day and it was totally eluding me. :o)

[deleted account]

We teach that lying is wrong, but we do also use the "if you can't say anything nice..." but usually it is in regard to talking to their siblings! *smile* As for the omitting information like with Santa Claus (since we don't teach them to believe in him but we have friends who do) we tell them that they believe and that is OK, it is not our place to tell them he is not real. What we believe is up to us and what they believe is their choice.

Jen - posted on 06/03/2009

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I agree with Melissa. I think it depends on the circumstance. But there are also times when, if someone is in that kind of a situation, as a friend, you need to be honest and say "look, I know you love him, I know you want me to be nice to him, but you need to understand how hard this is for me, seeing you get hurt and him being a complete ass. But I understand its your life and I will support you regardless."



When it comes to kids, you have to teach them never to lie. But they also have to understand the difference between lies and omitting certain information. Case in point: if you bring up your children to understand that there is no Santa Claus, but you have a girlfriend who actively allows her children TO believe, is it ok to allow your children to be the ones to burst their little bubble or ruin that holiday for them? Or vice versa, how would you feel if someone elses child told your child they were an idiot for believing in Santa? (Not that I'm saying anyone's child will be that rude but I have seen it happen.)



I think you need to be honest with your children, but I think there are certain circumstances where you have to teach your child that other parents teach their children differently and that it is up to that parent to set their child straight. Not discussing something or letting something go is not the same as telling a lie.



I do have to say though. I don't think there is anything wrong with saying respectfully "I am not doing to agree with you or you will not like what I am going to say so it would be best if we dropped this conversation/question."

Mel - posted on 06/03/2009

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i sort of agree but sort of not. i am a person who has strong opinions and its hard for people to sway me in the opposite direction. I raise my kids how i want to raise them so if others try and tell me its not right i tend to go a little over the top when i say shes my kid ill raise her how i like if you dont like it there is the door. i say this to my fiance so many times. where as with other things i think its ok to say something or avoid a question if the answer is going to hurt someone. im not a liar but i try to put things in as nice terms as possible, like example i hate my MIL with a passion yet when people bring it up with my close mates i say exactly what i feel and carry on with others and family i try to keep this attitude to a minimum because its not right for the family to be involved in my drama. its just between me and her. we are civil to each others faces most of the time anyway but to the family i try to say " look yes i dont like her shes done things and ive done things to each other not right but its how i feel and i cant get past this however when we see each other in person tehre is no hostility and i do not want there to be".

I believe this is the right way to be i try to be open but i try to respect peoples feelings to. another example my best friends fiance of 3 years bashes her, i see him and for her sake i act as if he is a great friend because she as my best friend has asked me not to judge him and not to trat him differently. i think the guy is sick in the head and i think he's a nasty piece of work who will end up killing her one day , but this is her life and her decision and i need to respect it and be respectful towards him for her sake. so i guess it really depends on the situation.

Alot of people tell white lies, some one might say do you like my hair cut and you say yes its great but really you hate it

Jennifer - posted on 06/03/2009

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i have to agree. kids need to know its not ok to lie. EVER. but there are also nice ways of saying things to be less hurtful. "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" is a little outdated as well. in the world we live in today, you have to be able to stand your ground, but not be the worlds biggest jerk about it

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