Eni Sabrina, mum to Faheem, 6, and Sara, 10, notes that white lies helps ease parenting. “But I am conscious not to tell white lies that may instil fear or create unnecessary anxiety. For things like ‘If you’re naughty, the police will come and catch you’ — I don’t think it’s right.”
She points out that she has even heard other parents make extreme statements. “Things like ‘If you don’t study hard, you’ll become a road sweeper.’ While parents may mean well, such white lies may unwittingly send a wrong — and elitist — message to your child. So always stick to a white lie that won’t carry negative connotations.
Always stick to a white lie that won’t carry negative connotations.
Low Bee Hong, 46, mother of Clarice, 7, explains, “I think it’s okay if the white lies are told to preserve their innocence — like Santa Claus, for instance — or to impart positive values like not wasting food.”
Needless to say, white lies only work if you don’t get busted. Bottom line: Don’t tell falsehoods if these are easily be refuted. You’re probably guilty of uttering at least some of these fibs…
1. “We’ll see.”/”We’ll come back another time.”
You make this promise with the same sincerity as you say “let’s keep in touch” to a childhood acquaintance you bumped into on the street. And you know it’s never going to happen. But you use this as it’s less of a hassle than having to deal with the ensuing back and forth sparked when you give a resounding “no”.
2. “Don’t play with your ‘gugu jiao/wee wee/birdy’, it’ll fall off!”
You aren’t the only one who’s curious about dealing with your child’s privates. Your mini-me is just as curious about them as you are. That’s why it’s common to see him touch, tug and fiddle with it pretty often. But this harmless touching and toying can make you — and everyone, for that matter — feel uncomfortable. But to be sure, ask if he’s touching it because he needs to go to the toilet before you chide him.
3. “We’re leaving without you.”
You’re asking your child to choose between a plaything or his buddy and you! Still, you really shouldn’t be using this lie, lest it marks the start of junior’s abandonment issues! Plus, it’s another sure-fire way to start an ugly meltdown in public.
4. “It’s not going to hurt ― you probably won’t even feel it.”
5. “If you don’t finish your food, your wife/husband will have a pockmarked face!”
What’s so wrong with having a spouse who’s got acne? You should try to get them to think about the food wastage and ways to save the environment instead. Also, tell your kiddo that if he keeps wasting food, you’ll give him much less the next time.
Try saying, “I’ll be right beside you the whole time.” And once it’s all done, commend junior for being brave.
6. “We’re all out of [insert snack’s name]…”
… Except that you have your own private stash that you’re going to scoff after junior’s gone to bed! Sabrina confesses that she had to cover up her lie with another when her children caught her nibbling on a snack they’d asked to eat. “I’ll usually tell them it’s vegetables or something they find repulsive.”
7. “If you don’t dry your hair properly after bathing, you’ll catch a cold.”
The weather outside is frightful — but it’s really hot, not cold. So, your child isn’t going to catch a cold if he has wet hair. If you want to him to dry his hair, be direct and ask him to do so.
8. “Eat too much candy and worms will grow in your tummy.”
Sure, he may enjoy gummy worms, but they are sweets and not slithery critters. Since sugar causes tooth decay, just tell him, “Eating too much candy will make your teeth rot and you’ll have an ugly smile.”
9. “I’ll give you five more minutes on [insert name of gadget]!”
Controlling your child’s screen time is often the bane of many parents today. Low also faces challenges in reducing her daughter’s iPad time. She only gives her child a daily quota of 10 minutes on the gadget, “I’ll put on the timer to remind her to stop when it buzzes. Sometimes, I’ll cheat by setting it a few minutes less, so as to shorten her screen time.”
10. “Netflix/YouTube isn’t working today.”
While shows like My Little Pony, Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig are the best nannies money can buy, unregulated consumption of these shows will simply increase your child’s reliance on gadgets to pass time. So, wean your your offspring off digital devices by taking them to weekly family-friendly events and restaurants, instead.
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