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> Parenting Ethics, Lies to children, or the full truth?
trojan_libido
post Jan 03, 2007, 04:58 AM
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I have been constantly aware of my own eight year old daughters perceptions of my behaviour and how I can influence her in positive ways. I am not the only influence in her life as I am not with her mother, but I am definately one of the most influencial. This is a huge honour and burden to me, as I am totally aware that I can alter her perceptions by my own successes and failings.

I have never spoken to my daughter in a childish fashion, definately no moo-cows or oink-oinks when I've taken her to a farm. The only time I ever use that language is in comedy. Because of this she is a excellently polite and intelligent girl. I taught her to multiply any number by 11 in her head using ancient vedic mathematics, how many degrees are in a circle and triangle (and why 360 of them), this boosted her confidence and now mathematics is her favourite subject. I taught her to use light, shadow and texture in art, and at the age of four she drew me an amazing (for her age) 3D apple! Am I a bad parent?

I am always in turmoil on what to do for the best in terms of sex and drugs. I personally don't feel the description of "drugs" should be limited to speed, coke or alcohol. My daughter has been well aware of the effect of e-numbers and sugar on behaviour from an early age. She actively avoids e-numbers to avoid becoming hyper. This understanding is as far as I dare take drug knowledge at this stage, but its a huge step forward compared to her friends of a similar and older age.

As for sex, I always try and explain any questions she has on the matter of male/female and the concepts of sexyness etc. without going into details. Many parents do not speak of sexual matters to their children at all, they expect a teacher in a classroom of 30 children to do the uncomfortable job for them. Is it any wonder the UK has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world...

I think it is important for her to realise why sexual imagery is used in mundane advertising, and how advertising effects her choices. This may seem a little too much for an eight year old, but I believe that trust is built through the truth, not through social BS. I want her to be able to speak about anything to me, and not be clueless about anything important.
I am still debating when and if I should speak of other drugs to her. The world is full of references to them and the place she lives is surrounded by damaged and uncontrollable kids from the previous generations mess. Kids that are 12 year old, whose fathers are dead from OD's and suicides...that are on ecstacy, or asking for a light for their joints. Do I leave her in naivety and just hope she doesnt get involved with any of them as time goes on? Do I share my experiences with her at a later date?

I feel that it is absolutely my perogative on how I decide to go forward and how I want to try to protect her. Parents who ignore and hide all sex, violence, swearing and drugs from their kids, only seem to close the door on any conversation about those things.

Ignoring the problems in the environment and never letting on about the "hidden" world around her seems extremely dubious and counter-intuitive. BUT, although I feel all these conflicting feelings on how to proceed, I am still aware of the cultural norms and how most people would see some of my honesty as wrong or at worse, damaging.

What are peoples opinions on this/my methods?
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solartrinity
post Jan 03, 2007, 06:43 AM
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It is so nice to find someone on this site who isnt afraid to express his feelings and share something personal to them other than trying to share my personal experiences and feelings and feeling like I am being probed like I am some sort of odd ball, and asked cleverly put questions as if being entertainment for when i did a trip and forgot to take my towel with me. (hitch hickers fans will understand)

I have always tried to be honest and straight from the start to my son Lewis about everything. I have had a real tough time with him and bringing him up as a lot of changes have happened in his life over the last few years and for a small child to try and comprehend the whirlwind of change over a matter of years is bound to have some effect. First of all I had Lewis on my own after splitting from a violent relationship and have always tried to give him my best and the best i could provide to make up for him not having what i would have liked to have given him, a dad. He has grown up constantly by my side and I have had the pleasure of watching him grow up and experiencing the world all over again in its wonders together. I found that because i had spent a long time on self discovery and developement and like you trying to learn everything possible about spiritual issues for what would have been a good 10 yrs (i am old lol) I realised the important things in life is to recognise what so many people in this world dont even consider to give love and care and security to the little wiggly baby in a nappy and not just feed, change and keep at arms length. I see so many people provide thier kids with half of toys are us and forget the important parts of love or vent thier frustrations on them for inconvenience of a nappy change in the middle of an asdas shop.

I have brought Lewis up as an individual and not mommy coddled him and he has learnt independancy and to be himself without worrying about acting the norm or feeling the rest of the world comes first. He has been the first one to the show confidence in any group of children and first at coming forward to share his ideas and opinions. He has learnt respect and politemness, honesty and best of all how to express his affection and love towards others. I think people repress thier kids by forgetting they have things to say and share even though they may be simple sentances being recognised as important gives them confidence and self worth. I am 33 and i see where the last generation of kids have ended up, as i think you have by the sounds of it in split relationships and ignored through circumstances or lack of interest. Societys ethics have turned to shit and now that generation is growing up and showing us all what great children of the future we have provided to carry on the job we will eventually of existing on the planet with respect for it and others. OOPS!

I think honesty about the world is important from a very young age. Lewis asked about where his dad was as everyone else had one and i sat him down and let him know that daddy hurt mummy and didnt want to be with us but mummy wasnt going anywhere and grandad would love his daddy day card instead. I was told i should not have told the truth but I feel honesty stops you experiencing guilt or mistrust between my son and I have since got a 2 bed house and met a wonderful spiritual person whom i married after 2 mths and had twins with 9 mths later, they are now 8mths old. It has been a couple of years of severe uprooting for Lewis having to accept 3 new people into his house and life and sharing mummy but I have showed him affection and attention still and luckilly He is now bonding steadilly with Daddy, and helping to care for the new brother and sister and is showing them affection and time and so passing on how people should be with people, It may not be global unity but if society realised the importance of materialism was not the most important thing, status and money and loking like a supermodel was all a conformity for us to fall into then they might realise the important things that matter so much, communication, family, feelings, cuddles, love, and togetherness. Yes I do drugs and drink but not infront of my children as i stated earlier and when I was asked what age I will start my children on drugs it made me angry as it just shows how far people still have to evolve into adulthood let alone a road of spiritual enlightenment.

I have answered any questions i have been asked about lewis straight all the way along the line like how babies come from mummys tummy when her and daddy make them out of love for each other and cuddles and that they grow into little people and pop out when they are big enough. When Lewis asked me about life and what are we here for I told him it was to live on the planet and treat it with respect and also to care for others and most importantly to follow what he felt he wanted to do with his life and to be happy inside. Of course then there was the question of death and I explained we move out of this body into another world. He is into space and planets and I have tried to teach him some science and about nature and he does the recycling with me and the compost and each year plants his own sunflowers and bulbs. He still has the luxery of a playstation and tv, no games unsuitable for his age and war and violence kept to a minimum. I am not trying to shield him from the real world but give him chance to have an innocent childhood like he derves of imagination and discovery.

I am proud of my parenting and think I have been right in my decisions to be truthful about everything from the start. The one thing that blew my mind was i got lewis to hold his hands facing each other over each knee and then to close his eyes and tell me what he felt when he slowly moved them together I had before hand told him to imagine him sending his energy through his palms and he turned round and told me he could feel an invisable ball pushing his palms apart when i asked him to tell me if he could see anything else he told me it was glowing blue. I was put on my ass with shock that a 7 yr old child had the ability to percieve with a sense that had not been yet drilled out of him as stupid imagination and how can something exist that you couldnt see? I hope i have opened up the possibility of spirituality existing in my sons life and perception and tuition that will be more imprtant than half of toys are us and bu**shit about coming from adam and eve as well as a furry monkey. We so need to change this bu**shit spoon fed in a conformity society and give other options for our kids to find thier own opinion on existance and not have to take that lsd trip to realise theres something else than this automatic matrix programme. Why should i worry about standing out from the crowd or being judged for my choice ?
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Casey
post Jan 03, 2007, 01:19 PM
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I'm a bit young (21) to be a parent, but I can offer a little advice from the "other side."

Throughout my childhood, my parents lied to me about the world. They told me the typical fantasy tales, and heaven forbid they'd ever mention sex.

Of course, I was always skeptical about all of their stories, but I believed them because I believed my parents were infallible. I used to think they knew everything. (common childish misconception)

But then...I started to see my parents make mistakes. In fact, they started to make mistakes I wouldn't make in my wildest dreams. Foolish mistakes. So much for infallible, eh?

That pretty much confirmed to me that they were lying as I grew up, and all of their false stories shattered like a cascade of dominoes.

Does it sound overly dramatic? Nah, it's actually the truth. At that point, I pretty much stopped trusting anyone. Role models? I had none. I only looked up to myself. In fact, I (alone) raised myself through my teenage years.

Unfortunatley, it was very difficult for me to switch from childhood to reality without a role model. I eventually slipped into depression and grew very vindictive. I was furious with my parents (and everyone else).

I still harbor disdain for my parents, but I also understand they tried their best. I can't change the past, so I've moved on. (and moved away...)

So what's my view?

One way or another, children will have to come to terms with the truth. If you lie, you are denying them the wisdom and loving guidance that only you can offer them.

Assume a child is adopted. His parents could lie and say that he isn't, but what if some distant family member is the first one to inform him of his adoption? Or even worse, what if a child at school tells him and then ridicules him? Wouldn't it be better to answer honestly and explain how he is still loved? At least that way, he'll face less pain in the end.

By lying, you're merely delaying the pain. (And possibly making it worse in the end)
Besides, if your child feels they can trust you, he/she will likely be happier in the end.

Just beware: take great care in HOW you explain the truth. And, just because a child agrees, doesn't mean he/she understands. Even if you explain the truth, they may not fully understand it. But, they'll probably ask you more when they're ready.

Children are resilient. If they weren't, our species wouldn't have survived for so long.

Just my $.02
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solartrinity
post Jan 03, 2007, 09:35 PM
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QUOTE(Casey @ Jan 03, 2007, 09:19 PM) *

I'm a bit young (21) to be a parent, but I can offer a little advice from the "other side."

Throughout my childhood, my parents lied to me about the world. They told me the typical fantasy tales, and heaven forbid they'd ever mention sex.

Of course, I was always skeptical about all of their stories, but I believed them because I believed my parents were infallible. I used to think they knew everything. (common childish misconception)

But then...I started to see my parents make mistakes. In fact, they started to make mistakes I wouldn't make in my wildest dreams. Foolish mistakes. So much for infallible, eh?

That pretty much confirmed to me that they were lying as I grew up, and all of their false stories shattered like a cascade of dominoes.

Does it sound overly dramatic? Nah, it's actually the truth. At that point, I pretty much stopped trusting anyone. Role models? I had none. I only looked up to myself. In fact, I (alone) raised myself through my teenage years.

Unfortunatley, it was very difficult for me to switch from childhood to reality without a role model. I eventually slipped into depression and grew very vindictive. I was furious with my parents (and everyone else).

I still harbor disdain for my parents, but I also understand they tried their best. I can't change the past, so I've moved on. (and moved away...)

So what's my view?

One way or another, children will have to come to terms with the truth. If you lie, you are denying them the wisdom and loving guidance that only you can offer them.

Assume a child is adopted. His parents could lie and say that he isn't, but what if some distant family member is the first one to inform him of his adoption? Or even worse, what if a child at school tells him and then ridicules him? Wouldn't it be better to answer honestly and explain how he is still loved? At least that way, he'll face less pain in the end.

By lying, you're merely delaying the pain. (And possibly making it worse in the end)
Besides, if your child feels they can trust you, he/she will likely be happier in the end.

Just beware: take great care in HOW you explain the truth. And, just because a child agrees, doesn't mean he/she understands. Even if you explain the truth, they may not fully understand it. But, they'll probably ask you more when they're ready.

Children are resilient. If they weren't, our species wouldn't have survived for so long.

Just my $.02


Hi there, Thanks for your comments I have always given my son the option to meet his real dad and make his own desicions, and I know he might not understand everything I try to explain to him in response to his questions but its nice to know my son feels comfortable to ask things freely if he wants to know about anything. I can only try and do the best I can. He has took to my husband as daddy and he is an excellent father, i couldnt have asked for a better father figure for him to grow up with as a rolemodel. I like to think I can stand back and watch him grow up knowing that he is happy. My little familly unit means the world to me I am so lucky to have a house full of laughter and smiles, and love. I am so glad you think i am doing the right thing in telling lewis the truth and being straight with him. I think you will be a good parent when the time comes you seem to have it sussed out I didnt feel i could approach my parents with questions and like you found my own answers out it. I look back on how they brought me up and think to myself that they tryed thier hardest to bring me up according to thier ideals and it is a pity i related to them as just parents it would have been nice to have felt a friend too. I am in my second childhood i reckon sharing what i have missed out on through my kids, I still see a lot of my parents but to try and relate to them and get them to see life has more to offer than the set regeme for the week of shopping, eastenders, church and pub is lost on them, I like to think that my generation is a lot more openminded and I will make sure I learn from thier mistakes and give my kids what i missed out on, a friend as well as a parent.
peace
emma
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post Jan 03, 2007, 10:07 PM
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My 2 cents are also from the "other" side; not being a parent, as my ex never wanted to have children when we were married. But my experience with kids comes from the infinite amount (about 10) of nephews and nieces, of all ages that I have, thanks to my 3 sisters.
I never wanted them to look at me the way kids naturally see their parent: like an authoritative figure. So, from the start, I decided to play it cool and try to make them see me as a friend. It worked to perfection. As this attitude towards me has brought them comfort in the thought that they can count on me as a friend, and also as someone who cares greatly about them like an uncle or a brother do. So, as they grew older and some of them have become teenagers, this trust they deposited in me becare extremely important for them. For example, when they've had bitter disagreement with their parents, they automatically count on me as a liason between them and my sisters. And when they make their parents really mad for something stupid they did at home or school, they usually come to me before they go spend the night at one of their friends' house. Or at least they call me and tell me what happened and how they feel about it.
My sisters know this special relation I got with them, and they value it greately, and appretiate it. Because they know how pivotal it's become in certain, difficult, situations.
Personally I feel rewarded when my nephews come to me and tell me that their best friends wish they had a "cool" uncle like me. And on an even more personal issue, this experience has shaped my way of thinking, should I one day become a parent: It has taught me that, more than just a parent, a kid needs a friend too.
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post Jan 03, 2007, 10:10 PM
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I think the truth relative for the age is in order while the rest can be semi-glossed over, untill she cognitively reaches the next plateau (of a thousand plateaus) of truths.
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trojan_libido
post Jan 04, 2007, 01:24 AM
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Thanks all for you honesty and comments. I am of the opinion that any hiding of the truth is silly, however the way in which you convey the truth, and to what level, is extremely important.

I have 2 nephews and a niece who lived with me as I grew into an adult. I've always tried to be the cool uncle too, never buying socks for christmas was one excellent way lol. They've had a rough time with my sister - she'd not see them for months at a time. She has major psychological problems that come down to her father and his untimely death (she's a half sister). Its the denial of mental health issues and being unwilling or unable to talk about things that seem to have doomed a few people I know. So I've felt like a parent well before I became one. It definately felt strange buying toys for kids the next year after I stopped getting toys lol.

solartrinity: You seem like a very good parent. You did what you had to do to improve your situation and its paying dividends now. What I would like to know is why hide drinking beer from the kids? They can watch people drinking beer on TV before the watershed, and its a societal norm. I can understand if you like to get REALLY drunk wink.gif I would never judge a person by their choice of drug - legal or not - only by their actions. You have my support in defending your position.

Casey: This is exactly the case I am planning to avoid. By talking about anything and everything from an early age (within reason), I'm hoping to avoid the early onset of embarrassment and discomfort. My parents were like yours, but I didn't resent them or rebel as much as you seem to have. When I was small my mother told me nothing about the serious matters that were clearly going on around me. Then once i became a teenager, she burdened me with all her thoughts and worries. This complete turnaround was probably detrimental to my own psyche in all honesty. Extremes are never good.

I've asked around my peer groups and the parents in the last couple of decades have hardly ever spoke of sex to their kids. I think theres two reasons, and one is because of a witch hunt on pedophilia. People are becoming scared to bathe their kids in case someone accuses something and societies fear and hate becomes focused on them. I think this is making the embarrassing talks about sex non-existent, because talking about sex to a child is now taboo and wrong. You guys know what i mean?

What is confusing to me is I feel really strongly about canabis being a lesser evil than alcohol. I know smoking is bad for you, I know memory issues can occur from abusing it. But there are other methods of taking it, and memory issues are better than violence and sexual crimes that are alcohol is clearly the catalyst for. I am against any talk of legalising refined substances like cocaine etc. but I am all for leaving natural product s intact.

I feel strongly about cannabis and mushrooms being a lesser evil than booze, and feel attitudes should change. But at which point do you break from the norm. When do you stop hiding your behaviour? Doesn't hiding any drug taking (including alcohol, smoking) actually have a negative effect on a child? Please don't take this to mean I smoke bongs in front of my kid, or pick her up tripping off my face. But if I smoke pot, and I am seen as hiding "something", then what kind of image does that convey? Definately not one of changing attitudes.
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post May 16, 2011, 05:14 PM
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Hey, sulbte must be your middle name. Great post!
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post May 17, 2011, 09:26 AM
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That’s more than sensblie! That’s a great post!
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orangesand
post May 17, 2011, 09:12 PM
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Sometime the truth hurts, the truth is never wrong.
if you study , say chemistry, in the beginning what you learn
is overly simple and just not true, its sort of true. Later on
you realize that more advance topics and see to make things
simple for the novice to understand you are told a semi-truth.

Telling yuots about the easter bunny, not needed.
Watching Saw with a young kid, DO not do that.

The whole thing must be something of balancing act,
that is not easy.
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