Is it Okay to Lie to Your Child? – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
My husband and I have to break the news to my son that we are getting a divorce. Since my husband still refuses to disclose to anyone why he wants a divorce, we had to go to a Pediatric Psychologist to see how we could go about telling our son. After a migraine, round-about conversation, it was concluded by the Psychologist that we basically have to lie to our son. Lie. Lie about something that is going to greatly impact my son’s entire life. This does NOT sit well with me.
I have never lied to my son about anything that was significant. I may have left out what I thought would be confusing to him and allowed him to ask questions until the information I presented made sense. But I have never outright lied to him.
When I inquired about this from my son’s Law Guardian, I received, a curt, unconcerned response stating that she was not a Child Psychologist and that if that was what the Child Psychologist felt was in my son’s best interest, then we should oblige with what the Child Psychologist recommends. I got the feeling from her that she wanted to hurry up and get this done with already. As I’ve said before, courts are not very considerate nor empathetic. Everyone has an agenda.
I decided to refer to the divorce books I have to get some other perspectives. “Divorce for Dummies,” by John Ventura, Esq. and Mary Reed states, “Be honest with your children about why you’re getting divorced, but don’t reveal too much. Then give them the opportunity to ask questions. “Your Divorce Advisor,” by Diana Mercer, J.D. and Marsha, Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., concurs, “Do not lie. It will come back to haunt you. Also, do not give them more information than they are ready to hear.”
Then why are we planning to lie to our child?? Because it would take too long to get the real reason out of my husband, if at all? Because courts are on a “schedule” and we should just “move along” with things?? Don’t they realize that in a couple years my son is going to realize that he was lied to and is going to be exceedingly angry and resentful?? Who the hell is this really benefitting? My husband, the coward? It definitely is not going to benefit my son. My son will eventually realize once my husband moves out, it is my husband who didn’t want to stay in our family. It is certainly not benefitting me. I’m just as dazed and confused as I’ve been over the past two years. At best it is benefitting the court system.
If courts are supposedly trying to do what is in the best interest of the child, where does lying fall into the child’s best interest? No one seems to care. If they did, they would mandate my husband to find a way to come clean with what ever he is covering up and allow us as two adults to find a way to break the news of divorce in a neutral, and mutual way. The way the Child Psychologist is suggesting we tell our child makes me boil with rage. It makes me even more angry at my husband and also at the court “system.” How dare I be put into a position where I am “forced” to tell my son something that is completely untrue! No, I do NOT still love my husband!! And no Mommy and Daddy are NOT in agreement of our family breaking apart!! These are both absolute lies! And don’t you think my son is going to sense my facade of “joy” once my husband leaves. He is an intelligent boy. He is also very sensitive. He his going to pick up on these issues immediately. Heck, even the dog has been depressed lately.
So here I am. In a predicament that goes against every cell of my body. I have decided to try to see whether my husband will agree to telling our son, in our own home, that firstly, our son is our world. Both of us love him to pieces and will both be there for him no matter what. We can then say that sometimes Mommies and Daddies, who care about one another, just can’t live together. We will then answer any and all questions he may have. If my husband refuses, I will have my husband speak on both of our behalves at the Psychologist’s. I will try to acknowledge as little as possible without upsetting my son. And I know my son will bury himself in my arms for comfort. At least I will be exceedingly genuine in my comforting of him.
And who will comfort me? This is a loss for me too. I have exceptional therapists who I can call the minute I am able. They will comfort me and help me through all of my conflicting and hurtful emotions. In turn, I will be there for my son. I am truly the only one he comes to when he needs someone to confide in. I will answer whatever questions he has as truthfully and with as much love and compassion that I can.
I will get through this. No matter how painful. No matter how unfair. No matter how distasteful. I will get through this as I’ve done in the past. And I am the best role model to show how my son can get through this also.
It’s just a shame that the court system sees innocent children as part of a file, rather than the delicate victims of unfortunate situations that they are.