Is it okay for parents to tell white lies for the good of children?

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ILLUSTRATION Parents' white lies behavior to children (Muslimah.co.id)
ILLUSTRATION Parents' white lies behavior to children (Muslimah.co.id)

UNAIR NEWS – Come on, if you don’t sleep quickly, a ghost will visit you; If you’re naughty, I’ll call the police officer later; If the food is not finished, the chicken will die.

These statements are often heard as a child, even still spoken by parents to this day. It is common knowledge that parents assume the lies they make are aimed at changing the behavior of children.

Another example of lying we often hear is parents who give false promises to children. It is usually done when the children whine for toys, but parents are reluctant to give what they want. With a false promise, parents hope their children will forget they request.

There are several situations that cause parents to lie to children. It is done by parents to protect the feelings of children so they would not feel disappointed or sad. These types of lies are white lies or lies that have good intentions. Then, can parents lie for the good of the children?

Dr. Nurul Hartini, S.Psi., M.Kes, a lecturer in psychology at UNAIR, gave an explanation regarding the white lies commonly practiced by parents. According to him, despite good intentions, parents need to consider the effects on the child’s mental development. Lying to children can cause the child’s reasoning to be less developed and make children confused. Besides the lies of parents will cause questions and discomfort in children.

“Lying is not justified even though it aims to please the child. Parents’ attitudes and responses should state the truth in language that does not offend the child by choosing ways to communicate it to be accepted by children, “explained Nurul.

Because children see parents as a source of accurate and reliable information. When parents lie and the child knows the truth, it is quite possible the child will doubt himself, even imitating the behavior of parents to lie. In Hays and Carver’s research in Science Daily, it was mentioned that children tend to lie to people who also lie to them. They then feel no need to uphold commitments to people who have lied to them.

Therefore, Nurul continued, communicating openly with children is the key to success in building harmonious relationships between parents and children. The communication strategy of each child and parent must be different because each child is unique with certain characteristics.

“Likewise, each stage of child development shows different patterns and art of communication. Get to know the child’s characteristics correctly through strong and positive attachment relationships. God willing, parents will be able to build effective communication with children, ” she explained. (*)

Author: Zanna Afia

Editor: Feri Fenoria Rifa’i

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