kids and the truth

Scenario: Saturday (a/k/a Shabbat, a/k/a the Sabbath, for observant Jews) lunch. Several people are joing our family. One couple doesn’t show up. Call Saturday night, leave a message, get no return call. Finally get hold of Mr. X, and he tells me that he and his wife separated over the weekend, and that’s why they didn’t come over.

We invited him to come for lunch the following Saturday. In the mean time, Mrs. KVS tells the oldest of our 3 kids (9 years old) that Mrs. X wasn’t feeling well, and that’s why they didn’t come the previous week.

The big discussion took place between me and Mrs. KVS. I was of the opinion that she should have told the kids the truth, in a way they could understand. Something like, “X and Y are having problems living together, and sometimes when people have these problems they need to be apart for awhile to think about things. So, only X is coming for lunch this week.”

When do you get to a point where you can tell kids the truth, even in a watered down way? Coming up with excuses doesn’t teach kids that there are times when not everything goes well. But, Mrs. KVS doesn’t believe in that approach. When do you start?

Hmmm. Surely your children can understand fairly well. Do you think your children care that relationships end? I somehow think they’d make a bigger deal of it in their own minds if you and your wife make a big deal out of it to them. So tell them the truth, or, better yet, don’t gossip at all – but why water this down? What can you possible water it to?

Everything ends. When your kids finished their first bottle of apple juice they figured that out. You shouldn’t build them any illusions – that will only hurt them more in the long run.

I don’t know KVS, but it ain’t six.

My cousin was six and asked my sister if he was going to die someday and my sister said, “yes, all people die, but it won’t be for a long time”.

He went insane, his mother went insane, screamed at my sister for hours because she had promised her son that he would “never die”.

I think that’s madness. I don’t think you should drag out the stats on life expectancy and detail the process of dying, but don’t tell your kids they’re immortal! Cripes!

jarbaby

The thing is that both people in the couple are good friends of ours, and I’m sure the kids notice that when X shows up he’s without his wife. Sooner or later, one of the kids is going to ask why X is showing up without Y. If they ask me, I’ll tell them. Not in an elaborate way, but in a way they can understand.

It seems to me that the child’s question should always come before your answer - as you said,KVS, “If they ask me, I’ll tell them.” But if your kids play together, I’m sure you would not want your child to be the one to announce to your friends’ children that their parents are divorcing. Who knows what your friends’ children have been told.

I’d be inclined to reply with a “What do you think?” kind of question. It isn’t really the facts that you are concerned about here, but your children’s perceptions of what is going on. Maybe all your children want and need to know is that their own parents are both going to be around and going places together.

You could also say that you were sad that your friends didn’t come to visit at the same time, it’s honest and I’d much rather have the children repeating that than have them repeating anything about divorces and marriages ending.

Jois

My stepdaughter (6 later this month) is aware of everyone’s mortality and is somewhat obsessed with it - for a while she was asking everyone she knew’s age so she could figure out who would die first, and lately she has been talking a lot about zombies and other undead. We’ve taught her that people go to Heaven when they die, and she apparently takes comfort in that, but since being told that it’s just their soul that goes up and the body stays behind, she now explains it like this - ‘you get old, you die and your soul goes to Heaven, and your body comes up as a zombie’. We tell her that zombies are just make-believe, but she keeps coming back to them. It’s kinda cute.

Telling kids cute lies about life in an attempt to keep them “inocent” is a very very bad idea. Sooner or later they will find out that you lied to them. Then where will you be?

I just don’t understand the way some people think. What are you teaching them when they come to you will tough questions and you lie!?! Answer: You are teaching them they they can’t trust you with the tough questions.

If you lie to them about Mr. and Mrs. X having troubles they will eventually find out the truth AND that you lied about it.

If you want your kids to trust you then tell them the truth. If they are old enough to ask the question then they are old enough to hear an honest answer. In the case presented you don’t need to talk about divorce or seperation, etc. Just tell them that Mr. & Mrs. X are having trouble working things out together and so are not living in the same house right now. If they ask what is going to happen next then tell them that you don’t know and that this is really no ones bussines but Mr. & Mrs X.

Final answer:

Kids are never to young to hear the truth. At 9 yrs old I would tell the kid the truth about anything they asked. In a case like this I would definately be proactive and inform the kids about a situation that they are going to have to deal with. Heck my three year old can handle that kind of situation better when informed about what is going on. Why wouldn’t a 9 year old?

:eek: Well, Christianity believes in the resurrection of the body, but I wouldn’t say that is exactly akin to zombiism. Precocious young lady, though!

My son did the same thing when he was about 2, so that ain’t the age either. He also had an extreme crying fit over it, though nobody had promised him anyone lived forever. He also cried the same way if I refused to buy him a candy bar, or whatever caught his eye at the store. So what?

I can’t really think of any reason to lie to kids, other than the same reasons you would lie to an adult. They aren’t going to be kids forever. Isn’t the whole point of being a parent to prepare them for adulthood?

You want the truth?
You want the truth?!

You can’t handle the truth!!

** AUK **

What is truth?
(*Gee, I haven’t felt this philosophical in a long time! *

Jois

Beauty.

and trust me…that’s all you need to know.

jarbaby

Forgot to wash your hands afterwards. :wink:

Re: The Topic

Start them off simple. You can always get more complex as they get older. But I always try to tell them the truth.