No parent wants to be the bearer of bad news. We like to think that our kids are perfect, but the reality is they're not. But some people feel that it's OK to lie to kids about their abilities, which could actually do more harm than good.
When it comes to our kids, my husband and I take the "honesty is the best policy" approach. For example, our daughter loves to sing and dance. The other day she came up with a routine that didn't show off her talents. So, I told her that it wasn't her best performance.
"You hurt my feelings," she said.
"I'm sorry for hurting your feelings. But, I know you can do better," I responded and gave her a hug.
My mom, on the other hand, saw how sad she was and began raving about how great she did.
It was obvious that Grandma disapproved at my approached and pulled my daughter to the side to try and lift her spirits.
It may seem like I'm a mean mommy who's out to put her 5-year-old daughter down, but it's quite the opposite. I want to lift her spirits. I want her to work harder and aim to be the best she can be. Is there something wrong with that?
The truth may sometimes hurt, but lying to your kids will hurt even more down the road.
If I were to tell her she's fabulous at everything, she may wind up having a false perception of her abilities, which could also stunt her growth—something I've seen happen to so many other people.
I remember watching "American Idol" back in the day where a wannabe singer walks into the audition with all the confidence in the world. As soon as she opens her mouth, she's given a reality check that shocks her to the core. She follows up with something like, "My mom says that I'm a great singer."
Then the brutally honest Simon Cowell responds with something like, "Well, she lied to you." And just like that the aspiring singer's dream is crushed.
I think back to those cringe-worthy moments and hope that my kids never have a false perception of their talents. As parents, we can't save our children from everything, but we can do our best to be honest with them.
My daughter is extremely talented. When she first began taking acrobatics, she struggled to do a handstand and cartwheel. I never hesitated to tell her how bad they were. I continued coaching and cheering her on to keep at it. Now, she does them with ease.
So while I understand that some parents may think that it's best to praise children, despite not be so good at something, I'd rather be brutally honest with them. The truth may sometimes hurt, but lying to your kids will hurt even more down the road.
I'm not saying that you should discourage your kids and crush their dreams. I'm merely saying that it's a tough world out there.
I don't want my daughter to be the delusional girl who walks into an audition and is left dumbfounded by a judge's negative response. I want her to be ready for all the challenges that the world has to offer. I'd be doing her a disservice by fostering mediocre abilities.
It's never OK to lie to children about their abilities. Providing them with a dose of reality will prepare them for the real world and encourage them to continue working hard to become the best that they can be.