- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
Top 5 Most Influential Lies Told to Children
A lot of our parents and grandparents have lied to us about certain things since we were born almost. Sometimes, for them, I suppose it was easier to tell the lie than the truth of the matter for various reasons. Maybe they thought that they were sparing our feelings, protecting us, or they didn't think we would understand. Other times it seems as if they were just trying to make us happy. Scientists have even come to the conclusion that some "white" lies are actually good for children and that they encourage imagination and creativity. I beg to differ. some of the lies I've read about that children have been told either I didn't believe them (because they didn't make any sense) or no one ever bothered telling me them (again, it's probably because they didn't make any sense). I know I never would've believed the one about eating carrots because you would be able to see in the dark if you did. I just read that one online and I thought it was funny and cute, but I actually felt sorry for the people who were told this lie and actually believed it, all in the name of getting kids to eat their veggies.
What I find somewhat horrifying about certain lies parents tell is that they don't know the origin of some of them they tell (if they did, maybe they wouldn't) and there are those that are unnecessary, but traditional, that some kids are devestated to find out aren't true; while others are told so much that when kids grow up and find that they aren't true, it's caused too much collateral damage in the process. I've narrowed my list down to five, but only one of them I actually find cute.
1. Santa Claus What I want to know is, what did/do parents tell their children when they don't have a chimney. Some mystical man comes into your home on Christmas eve and drops presents off. You leave milk and cookies out and some parents even go so far as to run around the house late at night and actually jingle bells. The point? I suppose this is one of the main ones that scientists would call "stimulating to the imagination". I just call it a crock. I was lied to about this when I was a child, and I don't remember when I realized Santa Claus wasn't real, but I particularly remember one year when my parents vehemently defended this myth with my brother and I protesting Santa's existence. I've noticed that a lot of parents defend this tale and will shush those around who will try and tell the younger kids that this man is indeed a myth. Sort of. We all know he's based on Saint Nicholas, the Christian bishop that was known for his generosity to the poor and had a fondness for children. He has a long history and you can read about it if you never bothered to, but basically, this one does come from somewhere, it's just that the version we see today is commercialized like most things. The message behind Santa Claus is meant to be charity, but as we all know, the majority of kids grew up making lists for themselves and what they wanted, not necessarily what they wanted to do for others. If anything, if people want to stick to this lie, why not revise it so that it's beneficial for those in need and being reminded to help others, not themselves. I personally stopped celebrating Christmas years ago, but for those that do, why not take the time and explain to your kids who the person really was and what he stood for and volunteer so that they pass the gift of genuinely giving onto their children and the generations to come and not the contrived story told today.
2. The Tooth Fairy This came from European folklore that told stories of elves that performed useful tasks in exchange for treasures. The superstition went that they collected children's teeth as a fee for fighting off things like pirates and witches. Cute tale and like Santa Claus, it seems harmless and in the name of fun, right? But what about the lie of it? I'm not saying anyone is perfect, I just believe that teaching children lies before they're even old enough to understand them is setting them up to believe that lying is perfectly acceptable. If you caught your child with red paint on their hands and you asked them if they bothered the red paint and they said no, you'd give them a verbal lashing to last the ages. Yet, it's perfectly suitable for you to tell these "harmless" ones. That's teaching the art of contradiction. Why not just tell them to put their tooth underneath their pillow and you'll give them a surprise? There's no lie in that and there's still the added intrigue and suspense as they await what will be there for them in the morning.
3. The Stork Thankfully this one is dying out, though we still see his presence on baby shower invitations and gift bags for expantant moms. I think this one isn't told so much anymore because parents have all sorts of creative resources to explain to their children about the reproductive system and there's not as much shame behind it anymore. There are still a lot of parents that won't talk to their kids about sex, but explaining to them about how babies get here is a lot easier than it used to be.
4. The Easter Bunny When I was growing up I often wondered what in the world a bunny had to do with an egg and the concept of Easter. Then I grew up and found out on my own. During the time of the year when people celebrate the Easter holiday it used to solely be the time of the pagan celebration of the goddess of fertility represented by the hare and eggs. When the pagans were being made to convert to Christianity, they didn't want to give up their traditions so they were merged with the beliefs of the religion. In the Bible the only mention of the word Easter is in the New Testament, and from the ancient translations the word doesn't even mean what people take it for today and if you study what it's actually talking about in the Bible, it doesn't have anything to do with the Easter holiday of today. Regardless of what the origin of it is most people either don't take the time out to study it or they simply don't care, which is both sad and disappointing.
5. Fairy Tales This one is mainly dangerous for women, guys just get the bad end of the stick. From the time most of us could ask for bed time stories we usually chose the ones where the beautiful girl goes through so much toil and trouble, only to emerge in the end with her Prince Charming, a wedding gown, and a happily ever after. Some parents go so far as to compare their own relationships to those in the stories, encouraging their daughters that they will find their happy endings, all they have to do is believe. Unfortunately, it's just baloney. If you find a good guy, hold onto him, but the average girl is going to face some harsh realities if mainly they grew up believing in stories that began "Once upon a time..." In these stories the good always prevail (we all know that's not true), hard work and perseverance always pays off (we all wish it did, but sadly, this doesn't hold up all the time in everything), and if there's someone for everyone (if this were true no one would die alone). Little girls are taught to think of themselves as princesses, therefore they deserve wonderful things, sparkly things, expensive things. After hearing all these stories, men really do have to put in work to impress most girls because they have certain unrealistic standards. A lot of women hold on to these concepts and never let them go and that's detrimental in a relationship because people aren't perfect like these characters end up being in these stories. It's also a lot of the reason why people will focus so much on their wedding and getting a husband and not trying to understand what marriage is all about, and it's not a quick happily ever after where perfection is in the horizon. Relationships and marriages are work. The fairy tale lie gets people caught up in traps. You always hear people say, no matter what age they are, that they're just looking for their fairy tale ending. Sorry to tell you so late in your life, but it's a lie. I don't mean to sound bleak or pessimistic, but life just doesn't end up that way. Life is work, pain, headaches, death, heartaches, joy, laughter, and happiness--all of it. But there's just no such thing as a fairy tale life because if there were there wouldn't be the need for any tears.
Right after I published this hub a couple of years ago 2 or 3 women made comments that seemed to be "arguing" with me about their personal beliefs and wanting to perpetuate these lies to their children. For some (stupid) reason I indulged their comments and kept them posted the entire time because I thought that was proving that I was open minded to other people's point of views. Well, shove it. If you love celebrating these holidays and see nothing wrong with it, that's you and your family. I don't celebrate them and I don't encourage anyone to do so. I know plenty of children who don't celebrate these holidays and they're fine. They aren't any less happy NOT celebrating these holidays than children that do; if anything, they grow up with less of a veil over their eyes and they don't have to wait until someday in the future when someone tells them the truth about things they shouldn't have been lied to about in the first place.
I find it rather amusing that there are people out there willing to argue with someone over the internet about the validity of Christmas or Easter when all I've done was present cold hard facts and all they want to do is tell me how I'm wrong for telling them that I don't think it's right to lie about certain things. This is why so many adults are so ignorant about things like theology and history, especially in the United States.
Ask yourself this: Why the hell would you WANT to lie to your child(ren)? And before you say anything, yes, I have raised more than one child in my lifetime and no, I have never openly lied about things like holidays. I'm not saying I never have, but I'm also not proud of any lying I've done, especially to a child, and I'm damn sure not going to defend it for something as silly (I think) as Santa Claus. I'm not disrespecting any religion by saying that about Santa Claus because Santa Claus actually has nothing to do with the Bible or anything in it and any scholar worth their education will say the same thing.
Stop taking everything personally. I don't know you and you don't know me. I'm not in your house with your children, do whatever you want. You don't have to agree with me and I'm probably not going to agree with you either. But be smart enough to take facts as they are and know how to deal with someone else's opinions other than your own, and don't turn it around on me to try and act like it's me that needs to compromise and get some brain cells instead of you. It's the internet. I'm not raising your kids, and with the way you act online I probably wouldn't want to meet you or them.
If my hub was spreading hatred of some kind, I could understand where those comments were coming from. I'm not telling anyone not to donate to charities if they want and I'm not telling anyone that they're kids can't have fun. There are plenty of kids who don't give a second thought to putting up Christmas lights or setting up a tree in December, and they don't whine about it. There are 10 year olds who are able to explain the invalidity of these holidays better than some of these middle aged brats who try to defend them. Have fun and love one another. You don't have to do anything I suggest. Just grow some balls and stop crying when someone questions things that actually make no sense.