Sunday, May 19, 2013

Just be Honest, Yo.

I tell my kids the truth.  Pretty much universally.  If they ask me a question, I answer it to the best of my ability and their understanding.  I don't shelter them from the hard discussions.  I've been asked where babies come from, what makes boys and girls different, what does dead mean, and after the answer to that question, when will you die, mommy?  What is gravity?  What does douchecanoe mean?  Yeah, I have a potty mouth.  How do birds fly?  And about a million other questions, to some of which I had to respond "I don't even know how to go about Googling that, honey."

The questions are hard, and honesty is hard too.  Sometimes I have to fight with myself.  I want to shelter them from the truth sometimes, but when I have forced an honest answer between my lips I have been met with a surprising amount of acceptance.  "Where is your dad, mom?"  "He died when I was 15."  "Oh, do you miss him?"  "Yes, sometimes I do miss him."  "Oh.  What's for dinner?"

This question-asking time in a child's life is a prime opportunity to avoid stigma and build trust.  Instead of making things too scary or grown up to talk about you can make them normal.  Instead of being afraid or ashamed my kids remain curious and they trust me to always be honest with them.  If their mother, who they know would protect them from anything, is willing to tell them the truth about this, it must not be bad or scary.  If she will answer me when I ask what sex is, she will answer me when I ask if she thinks my significant other is a good pick.

I guess the point of this ramble is that I don't understand the need to lie to children.  The Stork, "Goldie the Goldfish is going to a fish amusement park in the potty" etc.  I think we do a disservice to our kids by making these topics taboo.  I'm glad my parents worked hard to answer my questions truthfully.  Just be honest, yo. 

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