Parenting 14 – Moments of Truth

by Jeff Saferite on March 19, 2012

You know that moment when your child has had too much sugar and then asks for another cookie? These are edge of your seat/nail biting moments. You know they will go sugar crazy if you give them one, but they will completely lose control and go into fitting rage if you say no. So you say…..?

These are moments of truth. Far too many parents will cop out here by saying “they are all gone.” You have just copped out by telling your child a lie. In the moment it is WAY easier to tell a lie than it is to deal with the wrath that follows the truth. I understand this but I am  here to tell you that it is one of the worst things you can do.

No Short Cuts
There are no short cuts to parenting. Parenting is one of the greatest joys of life, but it is always a tremendous responsibility. Responsibility always carries a bit of difficulty. These moments of truth come up way more often than we may think and they will shape both the behavior of our children and our relationship with them.

We rob our child of a great teaching moment when we tell a lie to avoid telling them no. Kids must learn to accept no for an answer. This lesson is inevitable. The sooner they learn the better. Learning to accept no will help them follow directions and teach them how to deal with rejection. If you never tell your child no, how will they learn to hear it from others?

Is he serious?
AND here is something you may never have thought as valuable. How will they learn to negotiate if you never tell never tell them no? Seriously. If Safari or Sojo can give me good sound reason as to why the answer should be yes instead of no, then I give in and they get what they want. This is an invaluable tool as they get older. This does not mean I always give in. In fact, I rarely give in. But I always try to let them be heard. And at times I give in. Learning to negotiate and respectfully challenging a no is a GREAT tool for life. How many great inventions and organizations have been started after someone being told no?

Little Me’s
Many parents pray and hope our children will learn to imitate the good and forget the weaknesses  in them. That my friends is wishful thinking. Our children are learning how life works and you are their first and greatest teacher, whether good or bad. I should point out this is not always the case, but is it MOST often the case. If you expect the truth from your children, then give them the truth.

Trustworthy Insight
It is my goal that my children trust me. I do not want them to trust me simply for the sake of trusting me though. Yes I want them to respect me. Yes I want them to honor me. But I also want to help them make good decisions. I want them to listen to me when I tell them I do not think something is a good idea. And I want to them to listen to my advice when they are in a difficult situation. I never want them to feel I am attempting to manipulate them. I do not want them to think I have an ulterior motive. I want them to believe me when I tell them they are stepping into a dangerous situation. I want them to know that easy or difficult I have always told them the truth. My hope is that when they are older and I have to tell them something they do not want to hear, they will know I have always be a constant voice of truth.

Seeds of truth for the future
Little moments and situations are like seeds that take root in a persons mind. When we go to the doctor for shots and Safari asks me if the shot is going to hurt, I tell her the truth. Yes it will hurt but only for a few seconds and then the pain will leave. Her typical response to getting the shot goes something like this, “Ooh that hurts but now it’s all gone.” This experience acts as a seed in two ways. It tells her that pain is temporary and that her daddy knew what he was talking about. When a boy rejects her and I tell her the pain will leave, the roots that have taken hold from this experience (along with other supportive experiences) will tell her to trust my words. The sooner these seeds are planted the stronger roots your child will have for the future.

If you choose to lie…
At what point will you choose to say no? If you choose to lie in order to escape the wrath of a 2-yr-old or 4-yr-old, wait until they are 15 or 16. Not only are the fits they throw more embarrassing; they will ASLO be more damaging to themselves, your family, and their futures. TOO many teens damage their future with acts of rebellion because they are not accustom to dealing with ‘NO’. They will not respect you and will begin to think of you as an enemy. Your friends and pastors will lie to you and tell you it is not your fault and sympathize with you. This sympathy will help you feel better BUT it will not help your rebellious son or daughter. I do not say this to be mean or arrogant, but to help you avoid this issue. As a youth pastor I saw this WAY too much.

The truth is not always easy but it will set you free from later issues 🙂

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