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Honesty and your Children

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A recent study focused on honesty across the globe and reported that the UK was the second most honest place. Well, that’s just fantastic news for our reputation and approach to life. However, should this honest approach extend to how we treat our children? If it’s the case that we don’t always tell our children the truth, then we have to decide where to draw the line. Hands up, I’m guilty of not always telling my boys the truth, but I hope that’s because I am protecting them. So, is honesty the best policy in all scenarios?
The benefits of
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honesty
Honesty allows openness and transparency and should encourage our children to trust us. It’s a positive thing for them to learn to be honest and to understand why honesty is important. I think it’s a trait that serves us in life. It’s not always easy to be honest, but it can often benefit us in social, professional and family situations. It’s not always easy to hear the truth, but it’s surely the best approach in the long run. If only it were that simple.
Completely honest?
My boys are obsessed with music and whether the said
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singer/s are dead or alive. The eldest recently asked me how Michael Jackson died. I said he was poorly, but as kids love detail, that didn’t suffice. He wanted to know how it led to death (seriously, as if it wasn’t stressful enough trying to drive on the school run, then we had this little gem of a chat). In the end, I said that he died because he took too much medicine. Just like that, he tried to relate to it: did he have too much Calpol? Hornets’ nest well and truly exposed.
Laziness plays a part
Often it is harder to be honest. On many
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occasions, my children have asked me a question and I have decided to be one hundred per cent honest in my response. This has ricocheted into a mass of ‘But whys?’. Some things are just too difficult to understand at their age, so I have opted for a rather vague response or have subtly changed the subject. Lazy parenting? Possibly, but telling the truth can open up a whole can of confusion. My youngest recently asked me why he has a ‘winky’ (another debate in itself is whether I should be telling them the correct terminology). I tried to explain
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in basic terms, but he was so confused that in the end he completely lost interest. Phew.
Protection is important
My children have their whole lives to live in the real, often upsetting world. The last thing I want to do it be really truthful about something and create a phobia because they’re not ready for the truth. For now, I don’t want them to learn about terrorism, violent crime or issues that make life scary. If they ask me a serious question (not massively likely, unless you count ‘Mummy, what is that red thing on your face?’ Ahh it’s
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a spot), that I think is important then I will try to give an honest answer. I can’t promise how well the conversation will go.
How does honesty affect self-confidence?
Sometimes complete honestly can be cruel. For example, if asked if someone looks good in something and it looks awful, surely it’s ‘nicer’ to taper the truth and not plunge in with a comment that could dent confidence? Equally, I believe it’s important to be honest about abilities and expectations. I do not let my children win at every game (I am ULTRA competitive), but I also
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want them to understand that they can’t, and won’t, always be the best at everything. If they can be confident to try and do something, that’s enough for me.

I’m giving a very hazy response here, but hopefully an honest account (see what I did there?) Just as with adults, I think honestly has a place. Sometimes we may shirk the complete honesty, or numb it down, to protect someone’s feelings. What individuals tell their children is their choice. Above all, I believe honesty brings integrity. If my children grow up displaying both traits

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I’ll be a proud Mumma.
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How honest should you be with your children

- 21 May 19

A recent study focused on honesty across the globe and reported that the UK was the second most honest place. Well, that’s just fantastic news for our reputation and approach to life. However, should this honest approach extend to how we treat our children? If it’s the case that we don’t always tell our children the truth, then we have to decide where to draw the line. Hands up, I’m guilty of not always telling my boys the truth, but I hope that’s because I am protecting them. So, is honesty the best policy in all scenarios?

The benefits of honesty

Honesty allows openness and transparency and should encourage our children to trust us. It’s a positive thing for them to learn to be honest and to understand why honesty is important. I think it’s a trait that serves us in life. It’s not always easy to be honest, but it can often benefit us in social, professional and family situations. It’s not always easy to hear the truth, but it’s surely the best approach in the long run. If only it were that simple.

Completely honest?

My boys are obsessed with music and whether the said singer/s are dead or alive. The eldest recently asked me how Michael Jackson died. I said he was poorly, but as kids love detail, that didn’t suffice. He wanted to know how it led to death (seriously, as if it wasn’t stressful enough trying to drive on the school run, then we had this little gem of a chat). In the end, I said that he died because he took too much medicine. Just like that, he tried to relate to it: did he have too much Calpol? Hornets’ nest well and truly exposed.

Laziness plays a part

Often it is harder to be honest. On many occasions, my children have asked me a question and I have decided to be one hundred per cent honest in my response. This has ricocheted into a mass of ‘But whys?’. Some things are just too difficult to understand at their age, so I have opted for a rather vague response or have subtly changed the subject. Lazy parenting? Possibly, but telling the truth can open up a whole can of confusion. My youngest recently asked me why he has a ‘winky’ (another debate in itself is whether I should be telling them the correct terminology). I tried to explain in basic terms, but he was so confused that in the end he completely lost interest. Phew.

Protection is important

My children have their whole lives to live in the real, often upsetting world. The last thing I want to do it be really truthful about something and create a phobia because they’re not ready for the truth. For now, I don’t want them to learn about terrorism, violent crime or issues that make life scary. If they ask me a serious question (not massively likely, unless you count ‘Mummy, what is that red thing on your face?’ Ahh it’s a spot), that I think is important then I will try to give an honest answer. I can’t promise how well the conversation will go.

How does honesty affect self-confidence?

Sometimes complete honestly can be cruel. For example, if asked if someone looks good in something and it looks awful, surely it’s ‘nicer’ to taper the truth and not plunge in with a comment that could dent confidence? Equally, I believe it’s important to be honest about abilities and expectations. I do not let my children win at every game (I am ULTRA competitive), but I also want them to understand that they can’t, and won’t, always be the best at everything. If they can be confident to try and do something, that’s enough for me.

I’m giving a very hazy response here, but hopefully an honest account (see what I did there?) Just as with adults, I think honestly has a place. Sometimes we may shirk the complete honesty, or numb it down, to protect someone’s feelings. What individuals tell their children is their choice. Above all, I believe honesty brings integrity. If my children grow up displaying both traits I’ll be a proud Mumma.

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Corporate to Kids

Who: Sarah - Queen of self-deprecation Job: from corporate HR career to Mum, Writer and Blogger Children: two boys with a 13 month age gap!! Obsessions: writing, Haribos, rainbows, coffee, fizz

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