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Is it ok to tell lies to your grandchildren?

(40 Posts)
petitpois Thu 05-Nov-15 10:47:10

I'm not talking outright mean lies, but...hiding the truth that they're just not ready for.
Have been reading this in the Telegraph on the questions kids ask parents that they can't answer, which I know is a slightly different question. My granddaughter is always asking me which flags belong to which country. More often than not I can't answer and she frequently educates me!

But if the news is on she'll sometimes ask a question and I make up something to hide the ugly truth from her.
A few weeks ago there was an image of a plane crash (not the most recent one) on the TV and she asked what it was. I said it was an old plane there were restoring. I just know if I'd said it had crashed she would have asked why and then the questinos wouldn't have stopped. I do try to make sure the TV isn't on generally but sometimes when I'm looking after her I do try to catch the lunchtime news. She's 4.

Luckygirl Thu 05-Nov-15 10:49:48

I think that a little judicious editing of the bald truth is appropriate for little ones.

rosesarered Thu 05-Nov-15 10:51:13

Yes, hiding the terrible truth from infants is the right thing to do.Slightly older children , if you think they are ready, can be told the truth or partial truth, no need to elaborate. I never give too much information.

harrigran Thu 05-Nov-15 10:51:50

No it is not okay to lie, children learn by asking questions.

Luckygirl Thu 05-Nov-15 10:58:17

I think that you can tell the truth, but edit it appropriately for a small child.

In the example of the air crash you could say that they are searching for the pieces of an aeroplane. You do not have to go into detail about a horrific air crash.

Alea Thu 05-Nov-15 10:58:29

Right, what do you say then when DGS (2 1/2) tells you "mummy said" that that little red blinking light in the corner of the room (burglar alarm) is Santa checking to see if he is being a good boy? grin
Apart from wishing I had had a similar inspiration when ours were small, it was all I could do to keep a straight face!!

On the whole, I would aim not to tell outright lies about facts in the world, but use common sense to judge what a 4 year old can handle. Maybe yes, a plane crash, but no details about deaths etc. They can pick things up from TV and radio, so a little judicious censorship is often necessary.

Nelliemoser Thu 05-Nov-15 11:30:19

I would say giving out the full awful facts is too much for young children. We have to be truthful but modify the horror.

Did anyone see the film
Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella) - Official Site - Miramax
Often crassly referred to as a comedy in a concentration camp. This film showed a father going out of his way to hide the horror of the experience to his 4 yr old son by pretending it was a game. It was very moving.

ninathenana Thu 05-Nov-15 11:32:34

"Did she, well mummy is very lucky to have such a special light" and a quick distraction smile
I think it's perfectly acceptable to with hold some details from the very young. I would have told our 4 yr old that the plane had crashed because it was broken. If he asked were people hurt, a simple yes would cover it.

FarNorth Thu 05-Nov-15 11:50:26

I usually don't watch the news because I don't want to be told about disasters.
I think it's perfectly reasonable to protect a 4 year old from this information. Children will learn about the sadness in the world soon enough.

JamJar1 Thu 05-Nov-15 14:18:11

And we are surrounded by 24 hour rolling news now. It can be too much for adults at times never mind young children.

M0nica Thu 05-Nov-15 15:02:20

I did (DC) and do (DGC) tell them the truth about anything pleasant, or unpleasant that they see and ask about and I would not contemplate doing anything else. However how I tell them and how much detail I give them will be tempered to their age, experience and personality.

Children, even quite young children know that cars crash and people get killed, why should they be unable to handle the possibility than planes crash and people get killed?

rosequartz Thu 05-Nov-15 15:09:41

DD tried not to have the news on when DGS was younger until he'd gone to bed, although he is a bit older now (7).

thatbags Thu 05-Nov-15 15:29:18

I agree, m0nica. Perhaps we tend to assume children will have the same feelings as we do when we hear of a plane crash. I'm not sure they do, and I think one can be truthful without giving gory details.

TVs can be switched off too or only switched on for a set amount of children's TV. That's what I used to do and it's what DD still does.

Luckygirl Thu 05-Nov-15 16:09:07

It is a bit like questions about sex - as soon as a child asks ewhere they came from it is tempting to take a deep breath, assume that the moment has come to tell all, and launch into far more information than they need to know. A simple you grew in your Mum's womb would suffice for a little one. They will ask the rest when they need to know.

I think it is the same with these other questions - they do not need to be fed it all in one go, and the response needs to be age appropriate.

M0nica Thu 05-Nov-15 16:38:12

Answer the question you have been asked - and nothing more. If there are follow-up questions deal with them similarly. My experience is that there is very little children cannot deal with if the adult deals with it calmly and cosnsistently as they would any other topic they would be very comfortable being asked about.

grannyactivist Thu 05-Nov-15 17:13:06

My two grandsons, aged 2 and 5, were friends with two brothers of similar ages. The 5 year olds were in the same reception class and the little ones were in the same nursery class. A few weeks ago the younger of the two little friends died in a tragic accident and my daughter - a close friend of the bereaved mum - had to tell her children about it. My grandchildren were both upset in different ways, but my daughter gave them the information they needed in an appropriate way and they are nowhere near as traumatised as my daughter is!!

I am truthful with children, but only offer the information that's asked for and try to do so appropriately to the child's age and understanding.

LullyDully Thu 05-Nov-15 17:22:54

I think you should try to tell the truth but very simply according to age. CBBC Newsround is usually very good at making news child friendly.

I will not have the news on when the GC are there if I know it is very bad. The Lee Rigby story was very difficult for example, especially as their parents are in the military.

suzied Thu 05-Nov-15 18:16:29

Yes, sometimes you can't shield children from the facts of life and death, if it's a family or close friend bereavement then they usually accept it much better than the adults in the family. Horrible and scary world news is a different matter and maybe should censored a little in the same way you wouldn't let them see X rated movies.

Elrel Thu 05-Nov-15 20:52:20

When GD was six she was fascinated by Steve Irwin, watched his tv programmes and we played imaginative games, featuring him anf his family, with her plastic animals each weekend. I wasn't sure how to tell her that he had died but didn't need to as she calmly said what a shame it was that Steve had died. I think she'd seen the tv news with her mother.

Grandma2213 Fri 06-Nov-15 01:46:48

I think the hardest questions relate to Religious beliefs. My DGC have asked about recently deceased Nana E being in heaven or up in the sky. This is not my belief but I have responded by saying as truthfully as I can 'Yes. Some people think that but you will always remember the lovely times you had with her so she will always be inside your heart too.' Can anyone think of a better way to deal with this so that it will not upset parents with Christian beliefs?

JamJar1 Fri 06-Nov-15 05:53:54

In my head I think I may have adopted pretty much your word for word Grandma2213 It's not my belief either but if the children's parents are Christians I, personally, would hold my tongue on my beliefs. At this time and perhaps at any time my beliefs are not important.

ninathenana Fri 06-Nov-15 09:50:11

No, Grandma2213 I don't think there is a better way to deal with the situation than the way you did.

M0nica Fri 06-Nov-15 10:30:04

Why would people with christian or any other beliefs be upset?

Elegran Fri 06-Nov-15 10:46:56

I don't think anyone has said that they would be upset by what was said. Some have said that children were upset by what happened

Those without Christian (or other) beliefs are, quite reasonably, reluctant to mislead children, as they see it.

geeljay Fri 06-Nov-15 11:16:13

I think you should never lie. If you are found out, as you will be, you would tinge the trust, or at worst be known to not give a truthful answer. I believe better to withhold facts that are unpleasant. Or 'dont know'