Published On: Sun, Sep 29th, 2013

Santa Won’t Come And Other Lies To Stop Telling Your Kids

Danielle Mantakoul

Santa Wont Come and Other Lies To StopAs we creep closer and closer to Christmas, we start to pull out the big guns. I’m talking of course about the biggest most common lie of all. “Santa won’t come”. Well we all know of course that that’s a bunch of crap! Of course he’s coming. Not only will he come, he will spoil you and I shall enjoy watching every minute of it. During one of my talks a parent told me that she would tell her son that if he didn’t do as asked, he would find a potato in his Santa sack. So each Christmas she puts a couple of potatoes in her child’s sack for those bad behaviour moments. When he pulls them out she says, “see, I told you he was watching”. Now I’m into consequence follow through, but OUCH! You have to hand it to her though for meaning what she says.

We actually lie to our kids all the time, and even though we might not really mean what we say, great behaviour management is ONLY saying what you can follow through with. Here I have listed some classic lies we tell our kids out of frustration, desperation and even a nasty bout of menstruation.

Lie Number 1 – Santa Won’t Come
It becomes more and more difficult to hold this lie back as Christmas creeps closer and closer. The reason many tend to use it is because it can hold great power in the moment. The problem is that it’s power is not invincible and it’s only a matter of time before an incident where your child doesn’t do as you ask and Big Red isn’t coming. Yeah right.

Danielle’s Suggests: If you like to use Santa as your behaviour management ally, I would suggest you simply change your wording from “Santa won’t come” to  something like “I don’t think Santa would be happy about that”. Avoid the “he won’t come” part, as it commits you to bricking up the chimney.

Lie Number 2 – Well You Can Go And Live With Someone Else Then
You should avoid this one at all cost. Part of a great childhood is having a sense of security. Most young children don’t cope too well with the thought of staying at someone else’s house overnight let alone living there.  We want our kids to feel ownership in the family home and it’s happenings. “Well you can go and live with someone else” tells your child that their position in the family may not be as secure as they think, leading to insecure feelings and in turn poor behaviour.

Danielle Suggests: Always explain why the rules of your home are what they are and aim to get kids involved in the creation of these rules. This way they feel more ownership of them and are more likely to follow.

Lie Number 3 – Hurry Up Or I Will Leave Without You
This lie is the one that will backfire on you the most. “Leave without me? I don’t even want to go to preschool”!

Danielle Suggests: A much better strategy and one that is more achievable to follow through with is “hurry up or you will have to go in your pyjamas”. Make sure though that you do take their clothes with you, as they will want to change. If they don’t though, I can assure you that pj’s at preschool is doable,  just ask any preschool teacher.

Lie Number 4 – I Don’t Have Enough Money
It’s not just what you are saying here, it’s what you’re not. By saying you don’t have enough money we can actually be sending the message that I would buy it for you if I had more. This is not a great way to teach saving or responsibility. We want our kids to know that even though you may have enough money there are priorities in life, and just because you have enough, doesn’t mean it should automatically be spent.

Danielle Suggests: If your child asks you for a toy and you want to say no and avoid the “I don’t have enough” tell them simply that you need the money for other things such as dinner, or to save for birthday presents, and of course that’s important.

Lie Number 5 – I Don’t Know
Okay so granted you don’t know everything BUT you do know far more than you care to explain. We tend to throw the “I don’t know” out if we are in a rush or busy, for some of us it’s even become habit. But you don’t need to give your child a full on lecture accompanied by a Power Point presentation to appease them.

Danielle Suggests: A simple explanation is all that is needed. When your kids ask you why the sun is hot, they are not asking you to recite a scientific theory. You will find you know the answers to most questions your kids ask you in at least a simplistic form. Now here’s food for thought. Parent’s who explain to their children why when asked, help to increase their IQ. Powerful stuff.

Lie Number 6 – If You Don’t Pick That Toy Up I Will Throw It In The Bin
Just try putting that seventy buck Buzz Lightyear into the bin. Of course you can’t, you’re no dummy! I am sure there is a place in the world that all toys who have gone into bins go, and I bet there aren’t too many of them living there. The likelihood that most of us follow through with this one? Well it’s just about a big fat zero.

Danielle Suggests: While the bin like Santa can be a powerful ally to throw out there, you are never going to put that toy in the bin. Instead, try simply telling them that the toy will be taken away for a time. This gives you the space to determine how long for rather than committing yourself to never letting your child see it again. The best strategy though is to ask the child to please pick it up because someone may trip on it. Kids are far more likely to do as you ask if you make it a habit to calmly explain why you want something done. Yes, it’s that simple.

Lie Number 7 – You Can Be Anything You Want To Be
Ah wouldn’t it be nice if this were true. We say this out of love to our kids and to help them to understand that there are many, many things open to them in the world. I recently saw a girl on TV in her early 20’s. She was discussing career options. She was telling the presenter that all her life her parents had told her she could do anything, when in fact this is not the case. All she wanted to do was be a singer. Problem was she couldn’t sing, but her parents had always led her to believe she could pursue this career only to find she didn’t have a chance.  She felt in a sense cheated by them.

Danielle Suggests: While it’s important that we encourage our kids to keep their minds open when it comes to what they wish to pursue, it’s also important to highlight to them what they are good at.  For young children you don’t necessarily need to be telling them what they are not good at, simply stress what they are. Instead of “you can be anything you want to be” try “you would be good at so many things”.

For most of us thelies we tell our children are seen as harmless, but if you are embarking on a journey to be an amazing parent, surely you can’t help but take a closer look at the little white lies we so easily tell our kids.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2013

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