I know, I know, I know. Everyone always says to always be 100% honest with your children. But I certainly remember my Dad’s “magic powder” that made every boo-boo feel better. He ALWAYS had some in his pocket. Who wouldn’t have magic powder if it makes a child immediately feel better?

I have noticed lately that I have started using deception in my parenting. Very effectively, might I add.

All week long, Ali has been brokenhearted about a broken crayon. Every time we get the box of crayons out, the first one she pulls out is the broken one. She shows it to me and says “Broke Pink Crayon.” I will distract her with her 63 other unbroken crayons, but she keeps going back to the broken one, telling me the facts of the tragedy all over again.
On Thursday, Chris came home while we were coloring, and she showed him the crayon and told him her sad, sad story. Being the ultimate Mister-Problem-Solver, he immediately heads off with crayon in hand to bring a smile to Ali’s face. Assuming what he was looking for, I call out after him to tell him that I haven’t been able to find the scotch tape for a while (probably found and then hidden by the same little person bemoaning her crayon). Still convinced of being Mr. Fix It, he heads off in hopes of finding the elusive scotch tape.

He comes back with a still broken crayon.

In the meantime, I have managed to find the most similar crayon and have hidden it away without Ali noticing. I take the broken one from Daddy, hide it in my hand, tell Ali I’m fixing it (as she watches in amazement), then, using amazing slight-of-hand tricks used before only by the likes of David Copperfield, VOILA!! I hand her the other crayon.
She looks at me, beaming with gratitude. I get a very excited “Thank you, Mommy!!!!”, and she starts coloring with her now whole beloved pink crayon.

Chris rolls his eyes teasingly at my victory, and says that I cheated.

But it sure was effective!!

Second example, though not quite as deceptive:

Since birth, Ali has been afraid of the hairdryer. Mega afraid. Tears and all, usually starting just at the mention of “hairdryer”. This is odd for her – it’s her one main phobia (and since I have a very severe phobia myself, I give her grace for hers). So I usually dry my hair before she wakes up.

A few weeks ago I had to dry my hair with her there. I had an idea, and I decided to give it a try. She reveres the word “happy” for some reason, so, after she had already started having a breakdown just by me telling her what I was about to do, I told her that the hairdryer was a “happy hairdryer!!!” Amazingly, she immediately quit crying, started smiling brightly through her tears, and saying, “happy hairdryer!!!”. Now, anytime I dry my hair, she says “happy hairdryer!!”, while smiling. She’s still glad when I’m done – she gives me a hearty “all DONE happy hairdryer!!”, but it sure works well!!

So I’m sure I’m not alone in employing a little bit of deceptive parenting techniques, right?

. . . or am I?

7 thoughts on “Deception and Parenting

  1. Not sure how I feel about it. I’ve never really thought about it. I’d probably end up being a bit deceptive though if I knew it could bring a smile to my child’s face. I wonder what I’ll be like as a parent. Who knows. That’s a long time away. :)

  2. If you make Ali happy and she thinks your brilliant knowing how to fix her crayon or what’s wrong with a happy hairdryer, it’s better than a sad child. k

  3. First, let me confess that I, too, have used deceptive and even evasive tactics in my 5 years, 3 kids of parenting. However, here is how I feel about it.

    Our Heavenly Father, who should be our example, does not deceive us or evade our questions, so nor should we to our children. In your case, though, it makes me think of how we ask God for things we really want (fix this relationship. I need (or want) _____.)There are times that He gives us exactly what we want, but it seems most of the time He asks us to wait or works it all out in a way that far surpasses what we wanted or needed, meeting our need/want and delighting us in the process. This is what you did with Ali and the crayon.

    The situation with the hair dryer I look at like this: We have irrational fears of things in our lives – whether through trauma, or because we don’t understand it, or just plain irrational fear. II Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. Our Heavenly Father wants to set us free from fear, and sometimes it is as simple as the equivalent of a “happy hairdryer”.

    Sorry for another long comment. I love the happy hairdryer story. So cute! What a funny little girl she is!

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