When a child knows the truth and when his parents contradict this knowledge, the child ends up doubting himself. Healthy children learn to trust their inner sense of right and wrong at a young age because their parents encourage this. This teaches the child that he is a reliable source of accurate information and a capable resource for the truth. When a child is told that his truth is a lie, his self-doubt generalizes to a distrust of the outside world.
We know intuitively that truth-telling is key to building and nurturing a trusting relationship. The problem is the lie. In the context of this article, what are they saying when they lie? How sad that I've just found out my son in law has told my granddaughters to lie to me. Air and water pollution have been reduced substantially. This motivates your child to improve their behavior, and helps her internalize and strengthen her self-identity as someone who can become ever more trustworthy.
Children will begin to act out in response to the contradiction they are being told; what they know is true, is untrue. Being able to trust oneself as a child is a building block for a healthy personality. When parents tell a child that what they know to be true, in fact is not, they cause their child to choose between trusting themselves and trusting their parents. This is not a choice a child can make and remain intact and healthy.
Researchers at MIT have found that children are not gullible and they can in fact sense when parents are lying to them, causing them to distrust the very people who are their caretakers. Children also know when parents are withholding information.
What should parents do when they want to protect their children from the truth? Parents need to tell it like it is. They need to acknowledge that they no longer want to be married. When parents act in their own interest and miss an important event, they need to own their failure by sincerely apologizing. When parents deny marital discord and tell a child that everything is fine between mom and dad when one parent is never home and the one is always unhappy.
When parents state trust me I only act in your interest, when they do the opposite. For example, when they use allergies as an excuse for not allowing a pet or refuse to buy a child something he needs only to spend that money on their own needs, they are lying to their children about resources and how much they will sacrifice for their child. When parents offer false reassurances, they never provide they comfort.
And in extreme cases of overdoes, parental denial can result in death. These denials are invaliding and leave the child feeling alone, and misunderstood. Parents can tell the truth about negative events without focusing on ugly details. A violent act can be described as a troubled behavior where someone was hurt without saying it was a gory rape for example. When parents are sick or lose their jobs or suffering some other things, kids know this.
When kids fill in the blanks often their guesses are so much worse than dealing with the truth. The reality is that children can deal with almost any disappointment if provided parental support. It works the other way as well whereby if children are repeatedly lied to by parents they begin to doubt and distrust even the simplest realities.
Yes…but: what about a situation in which it really doesn't feel right to share the truth about a parent's post-divorce personal relationship s? The child may want to know, and feel entitled to know, but a parent's sexual behavior is private--and sometimes a parent's relationship with another adult must be kept secret for reasons that go beyond that parent-child relationship. The problem then is a choice between outright denial of truth to the child, which doesn't feel good, is corrosive to the relationship for reasons explained in the article, and traps the parent into lying-- or, replying that it's personal and refusing to discuss it, which has the same effect as admitting to the affair, giving the child more info than he or she is actually prepared for--particularly if there are other people involved in the situation who would suffer by the knowledge.
In other words, the secrecy isn't confined to the parent-child relationship but applies to other people in the parent's social circle and the personal relationships of his or her lover. What then? It is a situation in which telling the truth could damage many other personal relationships. It puts an additional burden of secrecy on the child whenever that child interacts with people who would be affected by the knowledge if the child shared the secret. Sometimes people say they want the truth but can't deal with it remember Jack Nicholson's character's line?
To anonymous. Maybe tell the truth all around and don't have affairs. Be honest and divorce and that way you don't have to lie to anyone especially your child. Im on the other side of the story. My mom and dad divorced only the reason why stayes a mistery. My mom says my father had an affair but my father says that thats not true. He also says that my grandpa and grandma found out that is was a lie, so they no its not true to. But I dont want to ask them the question.
If I will ever find out myself without them telling me I think i will break with him or her. But if they both tell the truth I will forgive them. For me the problem is not in the history what ever happend happend, I know its messed up if you cheat on your wife but I can forgive him for that. The problem is the lie. That way you are not only still being honest and fair with them, you are also demonstrating healthy boundaries. I am a 40 year old woman, have a 7 year old daughter.
I'm not assuming he lies, I have outright been witness to situations and then hear how he covers up his involvement with stories. So, my daughter is always asking me things such as "Mom, dad just said this to me last week but then he did this, then he said he never said that and I said he did, then he punished me.
These types of things are commonplace for us. But, I use boundaries when she wants to know about every detail that happened between he and I. She's always asking "Mom, tell me something not nice that happened to you, that dad did to you. My parents have lied to me and my two brothers since childhood. We are grown adults in our late 50's; our parents are in their 80's and are still keeping truths from us. These lies are partly to protect us and partly to cover up their vulnerabilities as they age. We always find out the truth and are devastated by the feelings of humiliation and distrust.
Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I would confront them with the hopes that they would understand how much it hurts when we find out the truth and how much better for our relationship it would be if they were honest with us. They always become defensive which causes me to distrust my feelings. To save our relationship and to let them age happily, I have stopped confronting them, but it is still so painful when I find out they haven't been truthful. How should I handle these feelings and the ongoing situation? Hi Cheryl, So sorry that this is still your reality with your parents.
I hope it didn't set you back in your personal life, to negatively affect your entire life. I come from a similar background, and my parents keep everything private and my mother is always a huge bundle of nervous energy trying to put a smile on her face in front of us and it always feels so horrible and fake to be around.
Unless she's letting loose violently we don't get a true picture of who she is, except scared and unable to function. I found rest and peace in the fact that, this is who my parents are. This is not changing, and I know of it and can draw boundaries around it. And, I do draw significant boundaries. I decided that I will do my best to make my parents comfortable in the future if their health fails, but I never expect that they will stop with the mask.
And if that's important to them, then so be it. It's not important to me I am an open book with people because YOLO. Much love to you, and hugs. I gave my mom my bank card to get me some burger king and a couple weeks later I got my statement showing that she got a pack of cigarettes form a gas station. I thought I could trust my mother but in reality she is just a marijuana addict and a loser.
I honestly don't know. I have even seen people laughing and smiling at me while they are "tricking" me and it doesn't fully click anymore. I think ill just give them a break and let myself be selfish for a while I know im a good person and I wont let my will get the best of me or turn me into an unfeeling person I just have to trust myself I think. I've helped raise my granddaughters. And this year as the father moved into a new rental I had them less but still pick them up each day from two different schools and have them here until his mother their other grandma picks them up.
The granddaughters are changing their attitudes towards me and I feel it. I'm the grandparent that pushes school achievement, helps Ruth projects, attends the patent teacher report card conferences, good work ethic and responsibility. How sad that I've just found out my son in law has told my granddaughters to lie to me. I e been feeling it as a gut feeling but I just got proof. They hsve been put into the middle by him not being honest. This particular situation is that my youngest is turning 10 and she told me about her birthday party this weekend but when I asked dad about it he said there was no birthday party because he couldn't get the day off.
Then the oldest told me she'd made invitations and they'd been mailed out and that I'd be getting o e do I asked dad again and he said no party he couldn't get the day off and that she was mistaken. Then I overheard the youngest talking about the party and rhen I asked her about what I heard she and her sisters lied to me and said it was what they'd hoped but their dad couldn't get the day off do there would be no party.
When I told them I had always been to their birthday parties and had actually been the one, many times, who gave the party, that I'd really want to be at their party, the youngest said I could take her out for a special outing and it would be more special because it would be on her actual birthday snd not on the weekend.
This from a 9 year old sounded to me she'd been "talked to" and it did not sound like something a nine-year-old would come up with on her own. I feel for you and personally think there is something intrinsically wrong with people who lie, and they will never ever change. But your grandchildren are still developing and so there is a chance for them!
I hope you are still in close contact with them, and continue to smile. Try to reassure the father that you have no problems and would understand if he has moved on, you are there simply for the love of your grandkids Just keep reiterating it until they get it. Wish you all the best. Liars are so aggravating, they live in their own world. I would really be curious to know any strategies or treatments for overcoming these ill affects of a parent lying So much of this resonates with me. I can't say exactly that my parents lied frequently - it implies too much conscious choice - but I do feel this unstableness and distrust in my own experience s and perceptions, and that my mother is never, ever wholly honest with herself or me about her true feelings and intentions.
She onky wants to own up to "pretty" feelings, any anger or jealousy or neediness, especially neediness, is blocked from her view, but of course influence s her words and deeds, and wgats more, I can FEEL it there. As a chikd this was very confusing, and niw I've grown into a very confused adult that doesn't know when or hiw to trust her feelings, plauged by doubt and especially self-doubt.
I have confronted my mother nunerous times about this to no avail. If someone doesn't want to see, you can't force them. Bug I am keft very congused, hurt, and frustrated how to be in the relationship. How xan I interact with someone when ever word seems a deception?
But if I abondon her the world hates me I also see the negative impact this has had on my ability to be in relationships. If someone doesn't see things exactly how I do, it feels very threatening and scary, I can feel my sense of reality fade away, like theres nit room for both, its either me or them, and of course the habit is to assume they are right and I'm wrong, but that doesnt work since I still have my feelings and perspective, so I'm frustrated and in conflict Any suggestions on how to heal and grow beyond these maladaptive behaviors grwatly appreciate d.
To the psychologist who wrote this article, you were spot-on about the lifelong psychological harm caused by a parent's lying to their child during childhood. If done often enough, about things that are very important to the child, the harm done can be immeasurable.
I speaj from experience as the child all grown up and still suffering from the pain and confusion; the helplessnesd and the sense of betrayal from all those lies about things that involved planning for my future, and feeling like I had enough value to deserve the respect of being told the truth so that I could make informed choices about my future. A lot of rage too. It is enraging to be so powerless, again and again and again.
It is enraging to have painful feelings denied and repeatedly inflicted again and again, when it didn't have to be that way, if only my parent had shown me the bare minimum or respects. And they refused to apologize and gaslighted me for years about their failure to keep any promises made to me about things I money I had earned and though I was saving for college.
They spent it all and lied to my face. Then lost everything I owned in storage while managing to save all of their own possessions. And the list goes on. But nothing is ever their fault. Sometimes adolescents do not tell the whole truth in certain situations, such as not telling a boyfriend or girlfriend all the reasons for a breakup because they don't want to hurt their feelings. While honest communication is important, learning to explain how one feels in a way that also shows concern for the other person is also an important skill.
Many adolescents may lie to protect their privacy or to help them feel psychologically separate and independent from their parents e. Lying that may indicate emotional problems: Some children who can tell the difference between a truth and a lie tell elaborate stories which appear believable. Children or adolescents usually relate these stories with enthusiasm because they receive a lot of attention as they tell the lie. Other children or adolescents, who otherwise seem responsible, fall into a pattern of repetitive lying.
They often feel that lying is the easiest way to deal with the demands of parents, teachers, and friends. These children are usually not trying to be bad or malicious, but the repetitive pattern of lying becomes a bad habit. Other adolescents may frequently use lying to cover up another serious problem. For example, an adolescent with a serious drug or alcohol problem will lie repeatedly to hide the truth about where they have been, who they were with, what they were doing, and where their money went. They often feel bad about lying but worry about getting in serious trouble if they tell the truth.
There are also children and adolescents who are not bothered by lying or taking advantage of others unless they get caught. What to do if your child or adolescent lies: Parents are the most important role models for their children. When a child or adolescent lies, parents should take some time to have a serious discussion about:. If a child or adolescent develops a repetitive pattern of serious lying, then professional help may be indicated.
Evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist may help the child and parents understand and then replace the lying behavior with more honest communication and trust.