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The lies we tell children. (and the lies we were told as children.)

 
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 11:29 am
What an interesting topic, MsOlga!!
I think most parents lie to their children to keep them in line (the Chinese are masters in that). Aside from the obvious - Santa, Easter bunny (we had no tooth fairy) which I don't really consider lies, I can't remember any lies offhand but I am sure there were plenty...

I also think that the American way of "you're so great" is a bit over done, although some teachers are more realistic than others. I remember one teacher telling me: "Your daughter will go places some day, but until then, we all have a headache!" (she was right Very Happy) I always was and are honest with my daughters work in school: if her artwork was good, we hang it on the refrigerator, if not, we tossed it. I think that gave her enough incentive to do better next time.

Of course there are lies I tell her - mostly by omission, since we have
circumstances in her life, where I think she's far too young yet to learn of
the full truth. Lies can protect too, and I don't always see it as a negative
entity.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, it was terminal already and
my mother instructed us kids (we were teenagers) to not tell our father.
She thought that if we told him he'd give up on life a lot sooner. She probably was right, I don't know, we do what we do to protect our loved
ones, and I don't consider this a lie then.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 11:55 am
Children are told multiple lies about language. I suspect that this is done in every culture. These lies are also told to adults, many of whom accept them in a conscious sense much more readily than children do.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 02:34 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Plus all the hot state vs. cold state stuff. (Basically, you can be totally sure you will act one way when you are in a calm, normal "cold" state, but then when you get in a "hot" state all bets are off. Your brain is just different. So it's important to prepare for the possibility of hot-state you sabotaging cold-state you's best-laid plans.)


Ha, this just came up, sozlet went to an Easter egg hunt yesterday and has a ton of candy, she has a friend over now and asked if she and the friend could have some, I said sure, she asked how much, I said to use her best judgment. She said "when that much candy is in front of me my judgment is terrible."
snood
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 02:36 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

sozobe wrote:
Plus all the hot state vs. cold state stuff. (Basically, you can be totally sure you will act one way when you are in a calm, normal "cold" state, but then when you get in a "hot" state all bets are off. Your brain is just different. So it's important to prepare for the possibility of hot-state you sabotaging cold-state you's best-laid plans.)


Ha, this just came up, sozlet went to an Easter egg hunt yesterday and has a ton of candy, she has a friend over now and asked if she and the friend could have some, I said sure, she asked how much, I said to use her best judgment. She said "when that much candy is in front of me my judgment is terrible."


How old is she now, Soz? She sounds like a real hoot.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 02:40 pm
@snood,
She's 10. And definitely a hoot.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 03:16 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
She said "when that much candy is in front of me my judgment is terrible."


I know exactly where she's comin' from, though with the Easter ****, it's not all that tough to decline.

Really good chocolate, truffles and such, now that's a whole nother ballgame.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 03:18 pm
@sozobe,
Very funny and self aware kid you have, Soz.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 03:49 pm
@ossobuco,
I don't have a daughter, and if I did, she'd be getting on in years by now, but I have a niece I helped raise and am still in touch with, still love and vice versa. I was never trying to be her parent in my behavior. Two wacky parents are enough, she needed a wacky aunt. She was in foster homes at one point. I listened to her, I tried to give perspective, I tried not to undermine the parents and that wasn't easy as they were wildly different and at war for good reasons. I never lied from when she was two to twenty two. Sometimes I didn't explain things fully, especially in the early years. At this point we are more peers of very different ages. A day together is joy for both of us.

If I lived nearby, that pleasure would naturally fade to the grays of ordinary getting along, but we would still retain the old talk stuff out behavior - only this time not with me being the one full of knowledge, but the both of us with our accumulated experiences. She's always been psychologically attuned, watchful, and has grown into an adult I'm glad to know, and we have those conversations by phone, admittedly not often enough. She doesn't email, I don't text, and the phone is problematic. But when we talk, it's still straight.

On lies I was told - the usual here in the US, tooth fairy, santa claus, easter bunny. I think I didn't believe in the tooth fairy but went with it, sort of a game. I did believe in santa claus, had to be told by a friend it was a made up thing. I don't think the easter bunny registered much, as I had just turned nine when we moved to a suburban Chicago neighborhood that made a big deal out of easter. As in, large shrubs covered with colored egg shells type big deal. An egg dyeing afternoon.. I enjoyed all that, but I'm sure I never believed in some bunny.

Generally, though, my parents didn't lie to me. They kept silent charge of secrets I had no clue of which got to be an ominous undertone in my teens and worse later, but I can't say that I think they ever lied.

Religion - like some others, both of my parents believed and I grew up believing. I know looking back that they had very different levels of belief. Now, I'd bet my father was at least verging on agnostic; my mother was unquestioning and fervent. In both cases, whatever they said to me, I don't remember it as lies. My father was more quiet about it.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 04:36 pm
@ossobuco,
Speaking of religious tall stories:

During my early childhood my parents constantly told me:
“God can see everything. If you do the wrong thing you’ll be punished for it, even if no other person sees you doing it.”
(Which made me a rather paranoid child at times, but kept me on the straight & narrow. I definitely did not want to go to hell! Smile )

And priests & nuns told me:
"This is the one, true church.
Catholics are the only ones who can go to heaven. The other religions are false."
(Which made me quite "troublesome" in adolescence when I no longer believed these things. And my parents refused to allow me exemption from religious instruction classes at school. I think the priest might have preferred it if they had. Wink )

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 04:46 pm
@JTT,
Quote:
Children are told multiple lies about language. I suspect that this is done in every culture. These lies are also told to adults, many of whom accept them in a conscious sense much more readily than children do.

Could you say a bit more about this, JTT?
I'm not exactly sure about what you mean by "lies about language".
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 05:02 pm
@msolga,
You were sharper than I was. Took me to just around twenty and then a few years after that. On the other hand, your parents probably weren't all involved with the rosary crusade..

but re lying, I think my parents meant what they said on all that.
My father went to Santa Clara University, a catholic u, majored in philosophy, was their poet laureate (so my mother told me), went on retreats (don't know if you know about those), was close friends with at least one jesuit, a previous submarine commander before he entered the order, and found himself not only photographing bomb tests but running the extremely large photo unit at Bikini. As I've said before on a2k, he was the first person I knew to be against our incursion re vietnam, in the press or otherwise.

The thing is now, all these years later, I think that some biggies in the catholic church also have also lived with doubt or more than doubt. I figure my father was in a quiet lather about all that, but we never got that far in talking.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 05:22 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
but re lying, I think my parents meant what they said on all that.

Oh mine, too, osso!
They were alarmed that they had a heathen in their midst ... and were worried about my soul.
Religion was an integral part of their lives.
But, one person's truth isn't necessarily another's.
And when I was old enough to think for myself during adolescence, it all felt like lies to me. And I hated the fact that my head had been filled with all this oppressive stuff when I was so young. Later on I calmed down about it. Smile
Actually I found the Church far more oppressive than my parents.
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 05:24 pm
@Eva,
Eva wrote:

The best one my mother told me was that I would be flat-chested if I kept sleeping on my stomach.

(I did, and it didn't.)


That's for sure! Wink
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 05:29 pm
@Mame,
Are you talking about yourself here, Mame, or Eva? Smile
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 05:45 pm
@msolga,
Yeah. I went through some years of rage, but I've equilibrated..
Italy might have cured me. I cried in anger when I went into the Guadalupe church in Mexico City (with my three believing friends) in the early seventies..
Decades later, my interest in cities and how they work vied with my old sturm and drang, and the interest won, in Italy. Plus, the rage just passed.
So, I could check out the churches without anger, or.. much anger.
Church is culture.

My friend Bonnie told me, now quite a while ago, that she no longer hated religion. That good happens from some of it. I nodded in agreement.
I think a lot of basic human tendencies, like territoriality, are couched in religion as a cover.

Tangent, I suppose.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 05:54 pm
my grandmother told us that if we weren't home by dark the gypsy's (Roma) that often camped down by the river near our farm would snatch us up. She also told us the the Nights of Columbus were a secret catholic army that keep guns in the cellar of the catholic church and if JFK were elected they would get their guns and kill all the protestants in america, the only function of catholic orphanages (boys town-etc) was to raise the children produced by priests/nuns. All liberals were Italian/Atheist/Communist/Catholic/Mexican. My grandmother also never attended church (except for weddings/funerals) one day in her life.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 06:09 pm
@dyslexia,
I didn't know that about your folks, dys.
(My father was for a while a knights of columbus guy.)
My mother did hate - or not hate, highly distain, protestants.
Dirty protestants.

So, did you like your grandmother at all? (Mine was blessed with a vision from the blessed virgin that she would live past her health problem in some years past and live a long life, and she did).

I forgot, my mother did tell me that. But - she believed it.
That might have been my first tweak, I didn't.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 06:50 pm
@dyslexia,
Quote:
my grandmother told us that if we weren't home by dark the gypsy's (Roma) that often camped down by the river near our farm would snatch us up. She also told us the the Nights of Columbus were a secret catholic army that keep guns in the cellar of the catholic church and if JFK were elected they would get their guns and kill all the protestants in america, the only function of catholic orphanages (boys town-etc) was to raise the children produced by priests/nuns. All liberals were Italian/Atheist/Communist/Catholic/Mexican. My grandmother also never attended church (except for weddings/funerals) one day in her life.

Wow, dys.
That's pretty wild.
She mustn't have liked Catholics, liberal, Mexicans, atheists & gypsies!
Did you (as a small child) believe any of this stuff she told you?

I must tell you about a friend of mine & her fear of Catholic nuns. Which lasted for quite a long time ...
If she misbehaved, her mother (a very strict Methodist) would threaten to to hand her over to the "grums". (her name for nuns).
On one occasion she recalled, when she'd been misbehaving, a group of nuns was walking down the street in their local shopping centre. Her mother declared that she was handing her over, right this minute!
My friend recalls sitting in the family car, crying hysterically, at this terrible prospect.
She says that she still feels a bit funny about "grums" to this day.
Now why would someone's mother do that to them?




ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 06:56 pm
@msolga,
Control.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 07:07 pm
@ossobuco,
Of course!
0 Replies
 
 

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