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Why did the older generation feel like it's okay to lie to children?

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posted on Aug, 29 2008 @ 11:59 PM
I remember when I was younger I do believe that I was lied to a lot by adults. I was told fantastic stories that weren't true. I was misled by adults into believing falsehood about various doctrines and being lied to about a place in the world to make the geography of the area seem more interesting. Adults didn't ever talk to me. I heard a story about a bear being like a human. No adult wanted to talk to me because they felt probably like that I was just a kid so I wouldn't understand anything. Why did the older generation feel like they could do this to us and get away with it?

And now, do you think we'll do what the older generation did with our children when we have children? Do you think we'll end up telling the same lies? Or perhaps-- do you think we might take a more honest approach to raising children-- and tell them truths and realities about the world? Will we repeat the older generation's mistakes in raising our own children when we have our own family life?

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 12:04 AM
A form of "sheltering", try to let the children enjoy their childhood before growing up and seeing what a jacked up world we live in.

Thing is, some people sheltered their kids too much, and they would experience a culture shock once they moved out on their own.

Kids should be able to grow up, with out worries or fears, but once teens, they need to be transitioned so they can develope the life skills and knowledge they need to make it, in the real world.

Thats my take, I have seen kids raised sheltered, and those not, it is a tough choice to make, but often then ones who know the dangers of the world are better off. They at least are aware of the known unknowns.

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 04:17 AM
reply to post by ADVISOR

Are you saying it's okay for adults to lie to us and then for us to pay the price for it later on in life? When I was like really a lot younger like I was told stories about Paul Bunion, I was told stories about all these things that I was told were beliefs... and like I was never told the truth. What I mean by that-- I never was that there were some stories that are fables, that aren't true, and that I wasn't told how to separate fantasy, from reality, from what could be true, and from unknowns. That's why I've made it a point to try to throughout my life to find out various truths about what I learned when I was a child and to learn about other truths about the world. I'm not taking the stance that I was lied to about religion (I'm not) but I'm basically saying that no one really explained things to me when I was younger. I would have rather liked to have been taught some of these things about the world like so I wouldn't be force-fed all of this stuff from school.

I don't know what it is but there was a time that I lost control of my head when I was a child. Now I know like a lot of other children don't have control of themselves when they are children either... but like since I didn't really have good control of myself because I wasn't taught it or because I didn't have self-esteem I had to learn a lot about the real world the hard way and to learn about my inner self and I couldn't trust the adults that were around me (the ones in my family) because they were some of the adults that wouldn't talk to me. They wouldn't talk to me until I was older anyways.

So I think that I can show more civility and respect toward children in my future family. I don't necessarily think that being care free is a bad thing. I just think it would be good to teach them right from wrong. That's something I didn't learn from my parents. I didn't learn about ethics or value choices. My Dad talked down to me when I was a child and my Mom sided with him much of the time. I believe that many other people can relate to this.

I just think children deserve a little more respect from older people. What's wrong with that? I don't want my children being treated the same way I was when I was growing up.

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 12:15 PM
I believe you're confusing parents lying to their children with parents humoring their children. There is a huge difference between not teaching your kids right from wrong, which you accuse your parents of, and leaving out the fact that the Paul Bunyan stories are tall tales.

When I was a kid the adults told all the kids that there were catfish as big as VW buses at the bottom of our local lake because of the hydro dam. We were small enough to believe it, and then when we got older we knew it wasn't true. I don't see this as a lie. I see it as a joke. The adults knew it wasn't going to effect our lives when we found out there were no VW sized catfish. They were laughing about it and knew we would laugh about it when we were old enough to realize the fallacy. If adults told you Paul Bunyan stories, didn't you just realize on your own when you got older that they couldn't possibly be true? Did it really matter to you that Paul's pick axe didn't make the grand canyon?

You say adults made up crazy stories when you were a kid rather than talking to you as an equal because they thought you wouldn't understand. If you believed all the stories no matter how crazy they got, weren't you just proving them right? What age are we talking about anyway? A kid who's 4 will believe anything usually, but why would an adult talk to a 4-year old as an equal? They've barely learned to tie their shoes.

Children need to have things simplified to the point they can understand. If you explain things as you would to an adult it will only confuse them more. Simplifying isn't lying. Tall tales aren't lying, they're jokes. Adults laugh when the kids believe them and the kids retell them when they are adults. It's not malice that makes adults tell exaggerated stories to children, it's humor.

When you say adults lied to you, can you give a specific example and how old you were at the time?

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 06:44 PM
reply to post by sc2099

Yes I can give a few examples of when I was lied to. I can recall to you certain instances about what happened and how old I was at the time. The Paul Bunyon story and stories about the wild wild west influenced throughout a majority of my life. I pictured this one guy who was really big and strong pecking away at the Grand Canyon and then I remember learning in science class about erosion and I thought "how is that possible"? Other times in my life when I was lied to I've been lied to by my parents like even recently-- like several times my Mom has tried to when I was 18 when I talked to and my Mom was trying to say that educated people need to see plays and stuff. I've also been lied to at various ages in my life-- like my Dad was attempting to teach me over the summer that women needed protection (I don't buy this) and my step-mom sided with him and said to me that "it's often true-- women are often weaker than men" so I said that was a stereotype. My Dad has lied to me on numerous accounts about what happened during the time he was growing up... he's said that he's felt that people didn't feel that the Soviets posed a great threat to us at his time. And... like also I was once taught some story about a swan (I don't remember what). At one time my Dad told me that he didn't think that I couldn't learn by reading (I assume he said this because he believes in the learning by doing principle). But now I read a lot more and I love to read because I can go anywhere when I read when a book captures my imagination well.

I don't think that it's right that just because I don't understand something or that I didn't understand something at one time means I should be lied to. For a long time this did impact my life. I was practically afraid to talk to people for a while because of all of the things that I heard about the world when I was growing up. This has had an impact of my life so much so that there was one time in my life when I was like literally not able to make sense. Even when I wanted to talk I sounded like I wasn't sensible. It did have a lasting effect on my life in the long run and I feel hurt because all of the things I was told. So that being said-- I am not wrong to think that I should treat children in my future family with more respect am I?

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 07:02 PM
I think the greatest lie ever told to a child is that being accepted by society is essential, and that in order to live, you must love your country. You must love money. You must love material crap. How can you be happy playing with that worthless cardboard box when I just bought you this big expensive toy? We force our children to do so many things that even we ourselves have no idea what exactly the greater purpose is, and in this way, a child nnever gets to realize what kind of person he/she really is.

Another thing... it's really #ed up that a kid can be a kid, but once adolescence and high school comes around, once emotions and chemicals and confusion and all of these brand new things start to happen to a kid... here comes the four years that make or break your life, and you're expected to fully transition from a world of infinite possibility to a world of conformity within four years. I mean, school was fun until high school, when the scare tactics and "be somebody" # began. Interesting to note that this forced indoctrination of conformity occurs right in conjuction with the solidification of the "adult" personality.

In essence, the greatest lies being forced upon our children are not fully intentional... but are passed down from generation to generation by those in power. Patriotism, money worship, Religious Doctrines, beliefs about the world... beLIEfs without experiences as to why in the Hell this person should take any of this # seriously. We shock and punish our kids into submission, without even acknowledging their right to be exactly who they are, and so almost nobody who is of age right now actually even knows who they are, but their personality has been thoroughly shaped by forced indoctrination which starts almost at birth.

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 07:12 PM
adit: sorry wrong thread

[edit on 8/30/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 09:51 AM
i agree upon the fact that adults "lying" to their children is wrong, but also i beleive it depends upon the intelligence level, and how much common sense the person has, but mostly the elder generation lied b/c they were brought up in a oppressed society with strict dogmatic religious teachings that taught them to fear question and the unknown outside their little box if i may say metaphorically, so ofcourse with repressed fear they would do they same to their children even though with humans we are are individual in some sort of way or another they cant ben said steriotypicaly but mabye in majority.

Now as a child i was lied to, A religious family i was brought up in and my parents ofcourse tried to raise to be something i (was) am not, a christian little boy to their ideal and expectations, all through childhood i questioned, got shot down for it, as they tried to teach me not to question, so yes ofcourse ive been lied to especially by my mother as a bible basher she would do one thing, something nice out of her religous expectencies and would ask her if she remembered that time and she would say no im crazy.

For a short example she let me drive her car when i was 15 and now never recalls doin it, and through her b/c she has a very big religous influence on my other siblings im the crazy one, I remember talking to her aobut the government and nwo theories and conspiricies years ago and she would say once again im crazy "devil stand behind me" so it was hard on me yes.

Also around taht time i was experiencing some psychic abilities and happennings and wanted to show my family what i could do, not to mention the black and death metal i listened to they said all of it was demonic and crap. so yes i questioned them, there reasoning and perception of right and wrong, and question the extent of theri own knowledge so i made it a point to read and learn anything out of the normal to gain a greater knowledge then they, which in time comes with wisdom, although my psychic abilities are a gift that i keep growing ive done a complete 360 lol,

so lying is good and bad, b/c it can spark one to question and find his own way and path in life, or it could make a blind child blinder.

posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 11:27 AM
reply to post by Frankidealist35

I think I understand better what you're saying now. However, I still don't agree that most of what went on was actually lying. It sounds as if your parents actually believed what they were telling you about 'life in the real world', such as 'women are weaker and need protection'. If someone believes something, even if it's not the truth, and they repeat it to you it isn't a lie because they don't know it's a falsehood. If you believe something is true you can pass a polygraph. Obviously, this doesn't make it truth, but it doesn't make it a lie either. To lie, a person has to knowingly speak a false statement.

Some people really don't believe you can learn anything about life or anything useful in books. I would say they're wrong, but if they believe it and tell that to you, they aren't telling you a lie because they believe it's the truth. They are misinforming you, which is different than lying, because they are misinformed themselves.

Maybe during the cold war your father didn't think the Soviets were as big a threat as they were hyped up to be. Maybe he figured that because he felt that way everyone else did too. This is an opinion and therefore can't be a lie. It can be misinformed, but it can't be a lie. Some people today think terrorists are just a made up threat propogated by the US government. Are they lying? No, that's just their opinion.

I think it's admirable that you want to give your kids a childhood better than the one you experienced. That's probably what most parents strive for. But try explaining a complicated real life problem, like why someone they know and love has cancer, to a five year old. They'll either cry, get mad at you, or wind up more confused. Small children have to have things simplified for them, and again, this isn't lying.

As for the tall tale and fairy tales you were told, I can't really comment because you still haven't said how old you were when you found out it wasn't true.

posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 11:49 AM
I think some of these things you characterize as lies, are really fables and allegory that adults use to demonstrate various points....... sort of like the stories that always have a morale to the story. I remember hearing tales of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Mike Fink, Davy Crockett, all larger than life folks..... I had the advantage in that I also had a Disney book that depicted all these characters as cartoons. Why do we tell our kids about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause? I think it's because it is a passing on of tradition -- things our parents remembered enjoying and they associate the innocent times of youth with those fables..... times when they weren't aware of wars and killing and deceit and the other unsavory aspects of humanity. I think adults pass those things on to their children, hoping they can enjoy the innocence, and perhaps, in some ways, to relive that innocence again, through their children.

I remember coming home from school at the age of 8, and my parents were agitated. We lived in the mountains of northern Idaho, and I usually rode my bike about six miles from school. They were asking me questions: "Mr. ________, your gym teacher, has he ever touched you?" whaaa? Of course he has..... "WHERE did he touch you!!!!!" Their intensity scared me. "I ....... I.... don't know, maybe on the shoulder??"

Turns out our gym teacher was accused of molesting some of his male students. I was not one of them. I saw our town become nearly a lynch mob. It was said later that "they" went to his house, and it had been abandonded..... still with food in the fridge and his clothes and personal effects in place. His car and bank account were apparently intact. It was hypothesized to us kids that our gym teacher must have walked out in the snow during a storm, gotten disoriented, and probably died, possibly falling into the river, never to be seen again. Frontier justice. I recount this tale to you, because it was the point where I remember being instantly thrust into the unsavory world of adulthood, and all their quirky little dramas and politics. Nothing was ever the same after that. Once you have seen, you cannot go back to that innocent place.

I think our parents utilize the socializations and myths and fables that made them feel the world was full of magic and wonder, and they try to pass them on to us, so we can be magical for a while. Remember that time, as a child, when you had superpowers or magical abilities? Well, perhaps they didn't really leave you upon arriving at adulthood; perhaps you left THEM.

Interesting thread OP, thanks


posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 12:14 PM
I have to wonder how old you are, OP. Are you suggesting that in order to be "honest parents", we ought to remove all tall tales and fairy tales from our culture? Maybe parents shouldn't read to their children either then, since clearly they're not reading out of the encyclopedia. Lying to a child is telling them a clear falsehood -- such as, "You're an only child, Susie" yet Susie actually has a mentally-handicapped half sibling being kept at some institution somewhere.

Children shouldn't be 100% shielded from the real world but neither should they be thrusted into it at a young age. Why not give a child an imaginary version of it to feel safe in for a while so their minds can develop unhindered? It's hard enough for us adults to hear about the crap that goes on in this world daily. No four-year-old should ever have to deal with it -- or any five-year-old, eight-year-old, nine-year-old... Those tall-tales give a child some opportunity to imagine, to gain that wide-eyed wonder for the world. I know that I personally have been sustained in bad times by harking back to those days when the world seemed interesting and fantastic. It would be nice if a child could learn that through facts (astronomy, ecology, geology, and so on), but not every parent is a scientist.

Children should be respected, yes, but as developing minds -- not as adults. Why? Because they're NOT adults and putting that sort of weight on their shoulders reflects more on our so-called parenting skills than does telling them fantasy stories.

posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 12:18 PM
OP, would you mind sharing your current age with us? I believe that we all go through a stage where we blame our parents for anything and everything that we don't like or understand about ourselves or our current situation and I'm curious if perhaps you are going through that at the moment.

I don't believe it is in ANYONE's best interest to assume that parents intentionally 'lie' to their children. That gives one the impression that parents are intentionally deceitful rather than parents protecting their children from unneccesary worries or fear.

I don't recall my parents ever 'lying' to me. Yes I believed in Santa, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, etc., but my parents never intentionally misled me about anything. In some cases they may have simplified situations to explain things in a way that were age appropriate but I do the same with my children and imagine that if you have children, you will find you do the same thing.

If this thread mentioned older siblings lying I would be right there with you complaining about that! My brother is only two years older than I am but I remember him telling me the silliest things that I believed whole heartedly until I was older than I care to admit. The most embarrassing lie I fell for was that Ivy League schools are the ones that have Ivy covering the front of the buildings. We went to visit Stanford and he pointed out how far the Ivy went up the wall and said that when it reached another two feet, it would then be an Ivy League school. Any time we went to the local Universities in San Diego he would look for the Ivy and tell me how close or far the schools were from having Ivy League Status. Pitiful!


posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 12:29 PM
I agree with the OP. I am 50, if anyone cares.

I think lying to children is shameful, whether it's about death, religion or Santa Clause. If it's a story or fable, the child should be told so. I was taught to always believe my parents. I trusted them. And when I found out the truth about Santa, it was a rude awakening. My parents had been lying to me.

I don't have kids. BUt if I had, I would have been completely honest with them. I'm not saying they need to know everything in all the gory details, but a child can be told the truth without imposing on their fragility.

If it's not the truth, it's a lie.

posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 06:11 PM
reply to post by Jemison

I'm 19 years old. Yes, I'm at the wonderful point in time when I transition from childhood into adulthood. I believe that lies were hurtful. I can believe in things like magic without my mom or dad having told me lies about things. I just don't like how adults like to tell huge lies like that and expect it to do no harm to children.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 12:05 AM
reply to post by Frankidealist35

I agree. I've seen many adults lie to their children, and I cringe every time. When I have kids, I'm going to respect them enough to tell them the truth. Some people think they are sheltering their kids, but wait and see what happens when your kid learns the truth. Maybe they really need to be sheltered from bad parenting. The first few years of a child's growth has a lot to do with forming the foundation that they will live with until the day they die, and telling lies can be very damaging psychologically.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 12:33 AM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

Really, BH, what is so bad about Santa? If all the other kids in your kid's 2nd grade class believed in Santa Claus, would you tell your kid it's all BS so he could go in there and spoil it for everyone?

I completely fail to see how the myth of Santa hurts any child.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 01:41 AM

Originally posted by sc2099
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

Really, BH, what is so bad about Santa? If all the other kids in your kid's 2nd grade class believed in Santa Claus, would you tell your kid it's all BS so he could go in there and spoil it for everyone?

I completely fail to see how the myth of Santa hurts any child.

It hurts children because it affects the psyche. If someone such as your parents, who you thought would never lie to you, do so at such a young age, it can have very deep negative effects on the mind. Ask any psychologist. If you can't trust your own parents, who can you trust? Paranoia sets in, and their perspective is changed on a subconscious level.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 02:28 AM
Interesting topic.

I think its all a matter of balance. I'm glad I believed in Santa and the tooth fairy as a kid and I don't think it did me much harm. Growing up with humorless, imagination-less, 100%-literal-minded parents might have done me more harm!

On the other hand it can obviously go too far, kids can be too sheltered or their minds can be warped at a young age by poisonous beliefs. So the trick is to find the proper balance.

Childrens' minds don't fully develop until late adolescence and the younger they are, the more literal-minded they are. Life is complex and the truth is subtle and slippery and this is something we literally are not able to comprehend until our nervous systems reach a certain level of development. So in a sense some lies or oversimplifications are basically necessary for kids. It's hard to draw the line and define exactly when an untruth becomes harmful for a kid, but then again nothing about raising kids is easy so why should this be either?

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 10:07 AM

Originally posted by sc2099
Really, BH, what is so bad about Santa?

There's nothing bad about Santa.
But he's a "story", a "fable", he's not real. And that's what I would tell my kids. That their second grade friends might believe he's real and that's ok for them. It's a story they like to believe because their parents told them that. IF we celebrated Christmas, I would probably talk about the story of Santa, but would make sure they didn't think I was telling them a REAL man brings toys to children all over the world.

The myth of Santa doesn't hurt a child. It's when they find out that it's not true, they have now learned that their parents are willing to lie to them.

Now. How many other things the parents said are lies? That thing about taking drugs being dangerous? Is that also a "tall tale"? The part where the parents say they love the child? Is that a lie? What about lying itself? Isn't it supposed to be "wrong"? Yet mom and dad lie TO ME???

I would want my child to KNOW, beyond a doubt, that if they wanted the truth about ANYTHING, that they could ask me and they would be 100% sure that I was giving them the truth. And I would not fail them in that.

It's not that my parents lying to me caused me to be a serial killer or anything. I just think there are MANY things parents do that are wrong, which leads to adults that spend half their lives in therapy. Far too many adults are unstable, mean, irresponsible, reactionary and just messed up. We spend our whole adult life "finding ourselves" or coming to terms with how our parents screwed us up!

And being lied to as children by the TWO people in the entire world who we trust is just one issue we have to deal with.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 01:16 PM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

I see where you're coming from, and you're right, it is a lie. And I can see how that would adversely effect a child who chose to read into it that their parents might lie to them about anything and everything.

I guess my question is, do most kids feel this way after they've grown up? When everyone learns that Santa isn't real, do they hate their parents and second guess everything they ever told them because of the Santa myth? I have never known a single person to do that including myself. I think this one instance is much ado about nothing.

Do some of you really think parents lying to kids about Santa would land them in therapy as an adult? I think that sounds really extreme.

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