I peeked into my 8-year-old’s bedroom to find her crying after she got in trouble for telling me a fib. She rolled over and asked, “Mom, have you ever lied?” Should I tell her? Every parent knows telling your child the truth about your mess-ups could damage your credibility, but I went for it. I told her a story similar to hers about a time when I lied. It immediately perked her up and led to a pretty deep conversation. I made a mental note—sharing my story really seemed to help her.
Although we might hesitate to fess up and potentially damage our “perfect image,” there is value in sharing our past with our children. But what do you share and what do you keep locked up? Here are 5 things to come clean on with your kids!
Although we might hesitate to fess up and potentially damage our “perfect image,” there is value in sharing our past with our children.
Lies You’ve Told
We have all lied at some point. Whether it was “big” or “little,” life-altering or you got away with it, we’ve all been there. Talk about why you were tempted to lie, how it made you feel, and what consequences followed. Explain how you handle it today when you are still tempted to stretch the truth.
Your Sexual History
If you didn’t balk at sharing lies, this one might give you pause! And maybe because we just don’t know when or how much to tell. Get those questions answered in this article: “What Your Kids Need to Know About Your Sexual History.” Every human being faces sexual temptation. No one is exempt. Telling your child the truth about your sexual history could save him or her from making the same mistakes you did; or it may simply open the door to this topic so that down the road, it’s not off-limits.
Addictions are not really cheerful, light-hearted topics of discussion. But like sex, your child will face one of these temptations at some point. If you have faced an addiction like pornography, alcohol, or drugs and you’ve come out safely on the other side of it, you have wisdom to share. And some addictive behaviors are hereditary, so your kids deserve to know.
Your Academic Failures
Sure, we’d like our kids to think we were the perfect students from kindergarten through college—but even the straight-A student has a story to share about an academic failure or two. When you’re telling your child the truth about the time you cheated, failed a test, or got detention, talk about how it affected you, your school experience, your educational path, and even your self-esteem.
Your Bad Relationship Choices
Did you have a boyfriend you should’ve broken up with way sooner than you did or a friend who was bad news? Why not share those experiences with your kids? They want to know how you dealt with the friend who betrayed you or the sibling you didn’t get along with. They want to know how you mended a broken relationship or when you knew it was time to move on.
When have you had to come clean with your kids? How did it go?