For as long as there have been parents there has been this idea that parents know everything and what’s best. But as time has gone on, we’ve learned that parents don’t know everything, in fact, we’re all making it up as we go. Not only do we not know everything, and our parents didn’t either.
However, this lie persists and children grow up thinking that they too should know everything. Not only is that giving your child a false sense of the world, but it could also be dangerous. That is why I want to dispel this myth especially as we plan to enter the new year. I really want you to know that it is ok to tell your kids when you don’t know something.
Little White Lies
Little white lies might seem harmless at the time, but kids do not know what a lie is and what isn’t. Then there is the chance that they might go out and repeat that lie to someone else, someone who knows the truth. This can lead to bullying, or just them looking like a fool. For example, I’m talking about telling them that babies come from storks or making up false information on the spot.
Giving Them a False Sense of Who You Are
When kids get called out on the little white lies, chances are they are going to say something like “Well my dad said…” or they might stay quiet, but they still remember who told them that lie. They remember and they begin to question everything you’ve ever told them. That is something that has a profound impact on the way they view you and it taints their understanding of truth.
If you are the parent that has an answer for everything, your kids may beleive you really do know everything. They hold you up to an impossibly high standard and one day you might just break their hearts by not having an answer.
A Harmful Belief That Grownups Know Everything
If kids grow up with this harmful belief that grownups know everything it damages their outlook on their own life. It could lead them to believe they will understand everything when they get older, by magic somehow. If they don’t they will end up beating themselves up, comparing themselves to the idea they had of you.
What to do Instead
Instead of always having an answer, or always making one up – say one simple phrase, “I don’t know.” It’s ok to admit that! It really is. Your children won’t think any less of you and in fact, that will make you more relatable. You can also say “let’s find out” and break out your phone and do a Google search. Or, if your kids are old enough, hand them your phone and ask them to look it up.
I struggled with this for a while. For year, I had the crazy idea that I had to be a perfect mom and know everything. I now know better. I hope you will find this helpful if you struggle with telling your kids you don’t know.
LaToyia, The Motivated Mom