Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Fine Li(n)e

One of my parenting philosophies is that I try not to lie to our kids. I know that sometimes even the littlest of white lies can make things more simple ("Kids can't eat that") or avoid tantrums ("I'd take you but it's closed right now"), but that really seems to me only a technique to avoid a real, possibly difficult, explanation. And since we also have a philosophy not to talk down to our kids, I have good reason to feel uneasy when these little lies try to make their way out.

The funny thing is, though, that I seem to have no problem referring to foods by alternative names so as to make them more appealing. Examples:

Ice cream = homemade, no sugar peanut butter and banana frozen yogurt
Bear cookies = organic animal crackers
Apple = almost any fruit, including peach and pear
Bear chicken = used to refer to orange chicken but regularly applies to any sort of meat cut into small pieces
Strawberry milkshake = fruit smoothie with berries, banana, yogurt, and wheat germ

They're not really lies, just creative titles. But when I think of what other people must think when they hear me offer M "ice cream" for an afternoon snack, I get that uneasy feeling all over again. So where is that fine line between creativity and outright lying? Because the truth is, I'm just calling them by these names because they're more appealing to M that way, thus avoiding the same tantrum that other parents might avoid with the "they're closed" line from above. Maybe I'm already off my parenting high horse, gallivanting with the rest, without even realizing that lying and my sneaky creativity are really one and the same.

It feels like there's some smart explanation here about the intention behind the lie/creation, but I seem to have used up all my thinking cells renaming our weekly menu. Sigh...

No comments: