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Raising Children With Bullsh*t or Honesty

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Mister Pink
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#1

Posted 19 April 2013 - 06:26 PM

Firstly, let me say that I am not a parent. I am a son, however. I have a little bit of anger in me for being told things that "sheltered" me as a child or things that were "forced" upon me as a child.

For example, I was on the bus the other day. This little girl was at the age where they ask questions about everything. She was asking about her grandmother and it was a continuation of a conversation between this mother and her little daughter where I had only picked up the second part.

The kid was asking about her grandmother and how she can look down on everyone else presumably from "heaven" and why the kid can't look up and see her. The mother was put in a difficult situation. She would have to then add lies and I'm calling them lies because I don't believe the mother actually believed this, more like something comforting to tell a kid when someone dies - and then explain this on a bus in earshot of about 5 strangers. She said, "ask your Daddy" and when the little girl probed more, the Mother just said; "stop asking questions, your mothers tired." and swiftly changed the subject.

I was brought up in a Catholic school. I don't give a flying f*ck about Catholicism or religion for that matter. As a kid I was thought about these miracles and resurrection and all this bullsh*t. There seemed to be so much emphasis on learning the fantasy story and all the details than the actual meaning behind them. I'm pretty sure for about 5 or more years in school when I was a kid, I didn't know why we learned religion. It was just this big thing we had to learn. I could have spent all that time as a kid doing sociology, psychology or something meaningful - a modern science that I could use to benefit me and those around me.

Anyway, how do you believe it is the right way to raise a child in this respect.

For the kid I mentioned and the mother, I would have loved to have said that her Grandmother exists in spirit and genetically. The memories, the photos and what she left behind is the spirit of the grandmother. She also raised the mother, so her thoughts, words, mannerisms have been passed down to the mother who will pass them to the kid. And in that sense, that is the 'spirit' of the grandmother living on after her death.

I dunno, I think if I had a child how I would raise it. I know if/when it happened, I'd probably not do all the things I thought I would and probably just turn in to my parents. But I'd like to think that I'd try something different - break the cycle of passing down pseudo-religious beliefs, rituals and traditions.

I'd like to be a little more upfront. Not boring or too realistic. But something a little more relative to reality so the kid doesn't grow up with false expectations or has resentment towards peers by being told all this fantasy bullsh*t.

I mean Santa was grand. He brought you presents. That was a reality pill more easy to swallow. But things that are ingrained in your thinking such as religion. I think kids should have a choice id they want to learn Jesus Begins or Rise of the Apostles or whatever fantasy book they want to teach you.

Chunkyman
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#2

Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:22 PM

I think honesty is the best approach. Parents who make up things to tell their kids are usually just lazy and want a way to make the child quit pestering them without having to have any form of serious discussion.

Also disapprove of parents indoctrinating their kids with religion, it's usually too focused on scare stories of hell that serve to make children obedient and afraid of some grand overseer's wrath. I think it's rather emotionally unhealthy to do that to children. Let them grow up enough that they're at least partially capable of rational thought before trying to convince them of some complex idea, instead of taking advantage of their ignorance as a way to conveniently making them a parrot of yourself.

Andreas
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#3

Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:36 PM

At some point in your life, you will know the truth so from that point of view, it doesn't matter that much. But as you already said, it is better if the child grows up with honesty because if that's not the case, then the expectations could be totally wrong. That is the way how my parents, actually just my mother, raised me; with honesty. Although, I would like to mention that I developed the way of thinking myself. It's not like I was taught to take a certain route because it was 'my decision', and I think that is how it should be like. I was never interested in religion, in fact I even doubted the existence of Jesus and everything that's related to it, the way it is described in the bible, as far as I remember back. I think that the mental age of the child plays a certain role in this case, because you can't simply go after the age. The parents usually know it best whether their child is mentally far enough for it. Another thing that is also important would be what the truth is about. If we're specifically talking about the death of someone, in this case the deceased grandmother, then it's better to teach the truth gently instead of telling that the grandmother is in heaven.

<Yang3
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#4

Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:41 PM

My mom had been honest with me most of the time.
Hence, I was one of the most intelligent people at school.

Whenever my curiosity popped up, my mom would tell me straight to the point.
And I can confess it's a good training for me.

El_Diablo
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#5

Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:47 PM Edited by El_Diablo, 24 April 2013 - 07:28 AM.

is this really a debate?
I'm pretty sure honesty is the only way to go...

I mean we're not talking about white lies. there are certain things you do with children because they're still children.
it's ok to 'ease' a child into learning about death without being so blunt when their first gerbil dies.

but when it comes to virtually everything else in life you have to be honest.
there's no discussion. you don't lie to your kids about important things like sex/drugs/money/health/etc.

you feed them bullsh*t about the important things and you'll lose their trust after they learn the truth.

Max
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#6

Posted 24 April 2013 - 04:49 PM

I think childhood requires and deserves some sense of the fantastic about it. An element of magic, for example Father Christmas, the Easter bunny, where babies come from (for a while). It provokes an artistic, imaginative side to them which a purely factual upbringing would beat out of them. (Think Chalfens in Zadie Smith's White Teeth) however I agree with you in fundamental matter such as life and death. Telling a child that they will see their Grandmother again someday is essentially making a promise to a child that you have no idea you can keep. Do me that is morally wrong. I'd rather they got a practical understanding of death from an early age than have to deal with it when they hit their early teens and spiral into an existential crisis.

Typhus
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#7

Posted 24 April 2013 - 05:43 PM

Brutal honesty is the only answer. The world is cruel and to tell children otherwise is to do them a disservice and make the realisation of that fact all the harder.
Children should not be childish and not be given to whimsy or stupidity or naivety. A coddled boy becomes a weak man.

Ari Gold
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#8

Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:27 AM

QUOTE (Typhus @ Thursday, Apr 25 2013, 03:43)
Brutal honesty is the only answer. The world is cruel and to tell children otherwise is to do them a disservice and make the realisation of that fact all the harder.
Children should not be childish and not be given to whimsy or stupidity or naivety. A coddled boy becomes a weak man.

Complete tosh. Not that I want to place a strawman on you, but are you seriously advocating that, if your kid's pet dies when your child is 4-years-old, that you're going to tell him or her "You know what, the cat died, you're never going to see it again. DEAL WITH IT"? If you're rational and careful about the white lies you drop to your kids (i.e. regarding Father Christmas, Easter Bunny or whatever) then they're no more likely to become "weak men" then some kid who was provided "brutal honesty" by his parents. If you're trying to raise a son into being a mentally strong, free-thinking, hard-working man, then providing brutal honesty to him with no regard for his emotions is not the way to go.

Twang.
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#9

Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:16 AM

I have a daughter, 6 months, so I'm gonna have to deal with this in the near future. I'll probably go along with the Santa/Easter Bunny thing, since my family holds those as tradition. Any other inquisitions, I'll try to answer truthfully.

Except, when it would be stupid to be bluntly factual. If she's 4 or 5 and asks me where babies come from, I'm not going to try to explain to her the biological process of the whole thing and expect her to take some meaning from that, nor will I go in to graphic detail about sex, nor do I want to do some cheesy "when a man loves a woman" thing. I don't know what exactly I'll say, but it certainly won't involve a stork. If I do, it'll be because I can't resist a good joke.

The only kind of lies I really approve of are ones not meant to deceive. Like, if she asks how her mother and I met, I won't give her the boring "my friend knew her friend" story and instead come up with some ridiculous How I Met Your Mother-esque epic that she'll slowly realize is a complete fabrication as she gets older. Then when she's 19, I'll tell her that her mom got drunk and texted me (her ex, at the time) then I drove 35 miles to get some tang. You know, as a sort of "don't get pregnant" cautionary tale.

"What's texting, dad?"
"It's what we had before Steve Jobs' ghost created the link to the astral plane that you use to psychically communicate with your friends. Back then, we actually had to use our fingers, you lazy brats."

Typhus
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#10

Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

QUOTE (Stefche @ Thursday, Apr 25 2013, 05:27)
If you're trying to raise a son into being a mentally strong, free-thinking, hard-working man, then providing brutal honesty to him with no regard for his emotions is not the way to go.

I disagree. Strength of character only stems from the realisation that your feelings and emotions are immaterial and only action defines who we are.
When we shield children from the truth in order to spare their fragile little minds, we make them weak, we make them think that it's right to lie in order to spare others from hurt. What does this do? It places an inordinate amount of importance on the feelings of others, it places sentiment above realism.
And when the child realises that there is no Easter Bunny, there is nothing magical or good or pure about the world - the realisation will hurt all the more because their parents lied to them.

As I said, brutal honesty is the way to go. Brutality begets brutality and so leads to strength.

Ari Gold
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#11

Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:55 AM

I'm sorry, but with all due respect (and you know that I hold you in high esteem, Typhus), you are just flat-out incorrect. There is nothing to suggest that those who are "emotionally coddled" through the most basic of white lies grow up to be "weak-minded", whatever that means. Possessing emotions such as empathy and concern for other's welfare are just as human as the competitive, Darwinian traits which provoke mankind into making progress.

The Yokel
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#12

Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:59 AM

You need to mix bullsh*t with honesty. For example if a kid asks you where do kids come from you tell them they come from Pokeman balls. Then you slowly start peeling off the layers of bullsh*t until there's nothing left but balls.

Typhus
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#13

Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE (Stefche @ Thursday, Apr 25 2013, 11:55)
I'm sorry, but with all due respect (and you know that I hold you in high esteem, Typhus), you are just flat-out incorrect. There is nothing to suggest that those who are "emotionally coddled" through the most basic of white lies grow up to be "weak-minded", whatever that means. Possessing emotions such as empathy and concern for other's welfare are just as human as the competitive, Darwinian traits which provoke mankind into making progress.

It's funny you should say that, because I feel that brutalising children to the realities of the world will help the futherance of empathy towards our fellow man.
Think of all the lies told to children - whether they be Santa or the Tooth Fairy or God. All designed to draw attention away from the real world, all designed to erode accountability and make kids think they're 'special'.
You're so good that Santa gives you presents, you're so special that an omnipotent deity loves you, you can do anything you want.

How much of their life will be wasted thinking of these nonsensical ideas? To show the world as a whimsical, happy place is dishonest and makes people too comfortable with the status quo. Isn't it possible that by introducing the idea of a flawed, cruel world early that we can foster the idea of changing things at an early age also?

Basically - we tell children the world is a cesspit so they will be encouraged to clean it. It seems healthier and kinder to me than allowing them to dream of far off places where there is no pain or loss or to give them an unhealthy sense of individualism.
Strange as it sounds, I feel that harsh truths ultimately make people happier than comforting lies.

Tchuck
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#14

Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:35 PM

QUOTE (Typhus @ Thursday, Apr 25 2013, 04:24)
Basically - we tell children the world is a cesspit so they will be encouraged to clean it. It seems healthier and kinder to me than allowing them to dream of far off places where there is no pain or loss or to give them an unhealthy sense of individualism.
Strange as it sounds, I feel that harsh truths ultimately make people happier than comforting lies.

Or it could lead them to think that the world is a cesspit and it is what it is, and why change it cause they don't know better. If they have an idea of an imaginary, perfect world, they have something to aspire to, something as a frame of reference to change the world into. If all they're taught is that the world sucks and everything is terrible, why would they get the drive to change? They don't know how fantastic a world could be, how good a world could be, they'll just know the cold hard truth of things the way they are, they won't be pushed to imagine things, to dream, to be creative.

I feel that harsh truths, when given to kids(without the developed mind of an adult), will make them grow more jaded than painting them a picture of an amazing world.




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