For The Sake Of Our Children…Lies We Tell

In our incessant search for something to believe in, the familiar to hold on to, have we become liars?  

My recent encounter with dispelling the lies was this past Christmas when I unveiled to my daughter that Santa Clause was not real.  Just a few days ago, my daughter lost a tooth.  Well, here we go again.  Placing blame for our lies on the sake of tradition.  It all begins when we are children.  Our parents tell us these fairy tale stories of  princesses, prince charming, fairies, and super heroes.  When we grow up, we continue to embed these untruths in the minds of our young daughters that this knight in shining armor will swoop them away into their happily ever after. Likening them to damsels in distress that will always need to be rescued.

The beginning of my lie occurred 4 years ago at the sight of my daughter’s first lost tooth.  “Now put this tooth under your pillow, and the tooth fairy will be sure to bring you something special,” I told her.  The usual hidden treasures that she would awaken to the next mornings became any change that I could scurry up around the house, or sometimes a mommy-made coupon that would allow for a special dessert or fun outing.  As she became older, whenever she lost a tooth she would daintily place the tooth in an envelope with a note on the front of it, that read “Dear Tooth Fairy, No money please”.  Over time, I could plainly see that I had this tooth fairy gig cut out for me.  Gone were the days of loose change and home made things, oh no, she wanted and asked for more.  I began to keep a box chock full of little goodies that I would pick up from time to time during my shopping so that I would always have something “special” from the tooth fairy to give to her. 

Fast forward to the most recent happenings. My daughter says, “I wonder what the tooth fairy is going to bring me tonight.”   I just knew that I had something in my box that I could make magically appear in the morning for her, so I didn’t give it much thought. But, unfortunately to my surprise, when I opened my goody box I realized that I let my supply get low and had absolutely nothing to place under her pillow that night. What ever would I do?  It was too late to go to the store.  I made up my mind that instant that I would just simply tell her that the tooth fairy must have been so busy last night and would probably come by the next night.  Of course, she woke up disappointed.  During the course of the day I told myself to remember to pick up something for the tooth fairy while I was out.  I forgot!  Two mornings later, this 9 year old was not a happy little camper.  All I heard was “why mommy?”, and “where is she?”.  I decided that damn it, this would be the day.  No more would I continue this tale of lies.  So as gently as possible I asked her if she believed that a fairy really came to our house at night to bring her a gift for exchange of her tooth?  She kind of shrugged her shoulders and looked down and screeched, “So now you’re telling me that the tooth fairy isn’t real either?!”  As she burst into tears I held her tight and comforted her with these words, “No matter what, mommy’s love for you will always be real”. 

At that moment I wasn’t for sure if what I had done was to protect her from further disappointment or if it was out of spite for not receiving recognition all those years of pretending to be the tooth fairy.  What I do know is that it takes a brave momma to love her child so deeply that she will go leaps and bounds to make them happy.  I hope that one day she will understand. Bravery is in truth.

Get in on the conversation and let me know whether you think I did the right thing? Also, what are your thoughts on how fairy tales and super heroes impact our lives in the following ways:

1. Ability to form healthy relationships

2. Creating unrealistic expectations

3. Projecting negative self-image and body disorders

[image credit: litscribbles.wordpress.com]

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Published in: on January 19, 2011 at 10:30 am  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Lisa

    I don’t have children but a friend has told her children the true meaning of Christmas from the get-go. They know they are not to tell other children as that is the parents’ responsibility. i think they feel quite special knowing something their friends don’t know yet….that Santa isn’t real.

    Also there is the dilemma of another friend who when she told her daughter that Santa was not real her daughter got real mad and asked why she had been lied to. If she lied she was punished and it took awhile for her to get over that one!

    My brother and I were told at an early age that it was all fantasy and we just accepted and moved on. All different beliefs and different responses from children. You know your child better than anyone so you will know exactly what is right for you.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Hi Patricia,
      Thanks for taking a minute to stop by my site. I’ve seen how busy you have been lately with your latest post topic. It’s amazing how you are so inviting and know how to really captivate your readers interests.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on how other parents have gone about handling these fairy tales with their children.

      Peace and blessings,
      Lisa

  2. Lisa, this is a great post! I dont have kids but it brought back memories of my mom saying ” I bought those gifts not a white man named Santa, I am not giving him credit for my hard work”. So of course we new he wasnt real! But the tooth fairy is a fun one! But I new who really gave the dollar because you know she couldnt have the tooth fairy getting credit for her hard earned dollar! And as for the knight on a big white horse—I guess I am still waiting for that one!!! LOL Great post!

    • Hi Karen,

      It’s great to know that even though you don’t have any kids of your own “yet” :-), you can still relate through your childhood memories. Thanks for stopping by.

      Peace and blessings,
      Lisa

  3. Another great post sis! I appreciate your transparency in the Top Five! Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Nikeia,

      Thanks for being one of my most loyal readers! Thanks for your support.

      Peace and blessings,
      Lisa

  4. Like you, I struggled with whether or not to indulge my children in all of the fantsies of life; i.e. Santa Claus, tooth fairy…Initially, I decided not too. But then I realized that they learn about all of this stuff from other kids and they come home wondering what’s wrong with me! So then I tell them, all of that stuff is not real but if you want to believe then its fine with me. My 6 year old belives no matter what I or her older brother reveals about the untruths of fantasy life. So now I just look at it as a part of growing up. I mean…most of us turned out alright!?!

    • Hi Soul Sista Number 1,

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience with me. I’m sure that most moms would agree that we share in the same dilemmas with raising our children. We can only hope that the morals and beliefs that we instill in our children will ultimately make a difference in their lives. It’s not easy being a parent, but it is good to know we can rely on others for support.

      Peace and blessings,
      Lisa


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