Sunday, May 4, 2008

revealing information to your kids

There was a fantastic article today in the Washington Post Magazine titled "Maternal Truths". Essentially it was about deciding what you want to reveal to your kids when they ask tough questions about your past indiscretions. Is it better to be totally honest and admit those times you were drunk at high school parties or better to lie and say you never had premarital sex? The fact is, most of us have done a few things that we wouldn't want our kids to know about. At some point, it's pretty likely that they will ask us about these things. There are people who argue on both sides of this issue. I think the response depends greatly on the situtation - the age of the kids and how much they can digest, their personality, what topic you are revealing, and the situation. On the one hand, you don't want to lie to your kids and hope that they will learn from your mistakes, BUT you don't want them to take that admission as permission for them to repeat the same behavior. The end of the article talks about deciphering why the child is asking. Usually it is for reassurance that good behavior is okay, even if it is not popular with their friends. In this case, telling them about those wild times does not serve a purpose - they want you to tell them that it is okay not to drink/do drugs/have sex etc. This struck me as such a smart tactic when deciding what and when to reveal information to the kids. If you also think back to your teenage and college years, would you have really wanted the gory details from your parents?? Eww, no.... If you do decide to reveal a little history, make it brief, simple, and point out the lesson. No need to go into details. After all, you wouldn't want to hear that from your mother, would you??
To check out the article, click here.

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