Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Adult Lies and How They Affect Children

Posted by Thomas on May 3, 2009

We lie to our children when we fail to clue them in about our struggles and past failures. When this happens we set them up for failure. My question is why, as adults, are we afraid to truly share our missteps with the young people in our lives? Why would we not want to let them know some of the pitfalls we have faced, learned from and overcome? Grown folk, stop lying to your kids!

[Now] I believe in waiting to have sex until one is married. As a teen, my dad drilled into my head that sexual conquests were a sign of manhood. He never used those words. That is what he meant; saying “man, when I was your age I had three girlfriends, and was having sex with them all”. I wish I waited. I wish I hadn’t been swayed by the thoughts and pressure of those around me. Teenage sex is a shaken 2-liter Pepsi; after you unscrew the top there’s no way to get the soda that’s now dripping from the ceiling back in the bottle. I tell my son to wait and explain why, using my own life as an example. I let him know that most adults are ill-equipped to handle the emotional baggage that comes with sexual relationships. I let him know the obsessive behavior my lovers and I often displayed; very often to the brink of physical harm. I let him know how it distracted me from school, work, and just living a happy joyful life. Instead of concerning myself with teen matters, I was handling adult issues because of pre-marital sex.  I sincerely hope he heeds that message.

We constantly encourage Glynne to attend college. In addition to a college degree we encourage him to talk advantage of the things college can offer; meeting people from all over; volunteer opportunities in other countries; corporate internships; exploring various industries; learning other languages. At 19 I dropped out of college after learning, my girlfriend was pregnant. At the time I thought I was doing the right thing (to me, that was manhood; work to support your family). My decision was shortsighted. I have yet to return to college. Later I confirmed the baby was not my biological child; but it was too late. I tell Glynne, I would have been able to walk through so many more doors of opportunity with a college degree. I would be lying to him if I said “my dropping out of college was no big deal”. I earn less money than my counterparts do; my world knowledge is localized instead of global—and college would have helped with all of that and more. Our children need to know these things from our lives; it empowers their decisions.

Think about your life. What would you execute differently with a “do-over” button? Share the truth with the young people in your life. If they can avoid a costly mistake through hearing about what you’ve done or haven’t done more power to them—and kudos to you for not lying to your children. Now, some reading this may say, “I’ve never lied to my kids” well, I ask you to consider this—although you may not have spoken a deliberate lie; how direct and forthcoming have you been about your mistakes? That’s the real issue.

Tell the truth, help your kids, and raise responsible adults.

Please share your thoughts about this post. We look forward to your comments.

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