Trust built upon a foundation of honesty is critical in any relationship, particularly between parents and children. You may be tempted to protect your children from bad news, or from events that you feel that they might not understand by saying things that are completely truthful, and labeling them as “white lies.”
These events are like an acid that burn away at a relationship and ultimately cause more problems.
1. If your children ask you a personal question for which you are reluctant to be honest (e.g., about sexual behavior, finances, what you did as a young child), it’s absolutely fine not to answer their question. However, rather than lying, simply tell your child that the question is personal and you would rather not discuss the answer with them.2. Uncertainty and ambiguity actually increase anxiety in your children. If you have bad news to give them about your financial situation, health issues, or even divorce, it’s better to be specific, concrete, and timely. Attempts to protect your children by concealing information from them ruins your credibility and increases their nervousness.
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