We’re about to go on a long awaited holiday, for a week. But I felt I should touch base before we set off and share another tidbit about having “the talk” with our kids.
You know, as I look back on learning to be a mom and parent as best as I can, I remember learning one thing before I got married and thought- “hmmm, I’m going to try that one out and hope it works”. I was a fresh 20 year old and absorbing everything I could about life, love and marriage and I remember over hearing an older mother share about their approach to Father Christmas, the tooth fairy, Easter bunny etc. (as a disclaimer, please don’t read this like it’s a religious point of view and that you’ll damage your kids if you don’t do this-each family culture is different and every sense of magic, mystery is up to you as a parent to create) so, anyway – she was saying that they didn’t do these “make believe” characters with their kids because she felt it was laying a foundation of lying to your kids. In a sense that, when the child asks if they’re real-you tell them yes and play along then later they find out and have a sub conscious response of “you lied to me?”.
Now when I heard this I was like, but I wasn’t damaged by believing in them-and yet I liked her principle of laying clear foundations should the child ask. So, principle in pocket – got married, had the first kid. First Christmas arrives (when she could understand) and crunch time arrives – we decided nope, not doing Father Christmas and rather making it about Jesus as it should be. Phew, dodged first “is he real?” bullet.
Easter rocks up, once again – What do we do about the Easter Bunny, nope-not doing that one either – doing Easter eggs because we took the approach of, like the ladies that searched for Jesus in the tomb – we’re searching for the eggs. That’s he jist of it -once again-phew dodged another “is he real?” question.
So, 6 years old rolls in and the first tooth (no, wait), the first teeth – start to wiggle. Here it is, our last “is it real?” question. So, I figured since I was the one that was with them the most-I made the call and we didn’t do the tooth fairy – but, I felt she was still young enough to enjoy the mystery of leaving something out and having money appear. So I explained what she should do with the teeth (they both fell out on the same day) and see what happens. So I did what most ninja parents do, once she was asleep I traded her tooth for some money and waited till morning.
It was worth it. She woke up and had the most amazing response and wanted to know how did the money get there. Since we had made the decision to be honest, I told her that I put it there. She couldn’t believe it-she was like-“how? Why didn’t I feel it? What did you do with my teeth?”
And it was in this moment and also the reason for my post – I was able to freely explain to her that I had a way of sneaking in at night, exchanging the tooth for money and she’ll find out one day what I’ve done with the teeth. It was great because, she got to experience the mystery and I didn’t have to lie to her which made her trust me with the silly questions.
That is my point, is that we’ve created a foundation for the silly questions and they know that I’m going to tell the truth about their curiosity. (I say “I tell” because Tim teases them to no end and tells them tall tales that they immediately come to me to ask if what he’s said is true) they need at least one of us to be an honest sounding board.
We needed to start early because once they know they can ask anything and know that it’s going to be the absolute truth-they’ll hopefully always come to me first with their questions. So far, I have been asked all of the craziest things as well as the hardest ones (which we’ll get to because there’s a lot).
But as a parent this principle of being honest has laid a foundation for many different things. How have you approached it? Let me know in the comments below – we may not agree but I’d love to learn from you as well.