You need a full toolbox of skills and expertise to get you through the day. One of the best motivational tools we have in our toolbox is the White Lie.
I know what you're saying, 'Isn't that a bad thing to do?' Well maybe, but White Lies are sometimes really motivating, provide quick benefits and are readily available. Why do we need White Lies? Well, because the truth doesn't always produce the a positive outcome.
- "The tooth fairy called. She said the way you're behaving, you might as well keep the tooth." Parents threaten kids with consequences all the time, but it helps to have a strong third party on call to bring perspective. From Halloween on, throw all your disciplinary needs onto Santa's lap. Outside of that, be creative.
- "Monsters like to eat dust bunnies. I bet you're going to get lots of monsters in this room." Call it a cleanliness incentive plan but don't leave them alone in the room after. They may never want to go in there again. Offer to stay and help.
- "Mommy and Daddy aren't fighting; we're rearranging the kitchen." Kids might not buy this one, but in our desire to be right, we jump into fights even if it means exposing our kids to adult conflicts. Need to scream? Get them or yourself out of the house first. Kids feel frustration and anger too, so it's good to show them how to deal with it.
- "Mommy and Daddy aren't fighting; we're playing leapfrog. On the bed. Without our clothes." In case the makeup sex gets out of hand. Having a good lock on the door is good and making time for yourselves as a 'couple' is even better.
- "Reading books will make you a millionaire." In today's screen-dominated world, kids must grow up knowing that books, not blogs, will unlock the secrets of their universe. Show them by example and sit with them when they are reading. Make it a 'close', comfortable or cozy thing to do.
- "Don't worry, sweetie, that can't happen here." Yes, of course it can. Murder, terrorism, earthquakes, etc. they can strike almost anytime, anywhere, especially in the US, but parents must put it into perspective. Balance the bad news trolls with the good news fairies!
- "I know everything." Before teachers, coaches, and the moody kid down the street get to voice their distorted opinions, parents must establish themselves as a child's go-to encyclopedia for all of life's questions. You don't have to believe that you are the font of all knowledge but your child does. Help them research and investigate questions and use books as well as Google.
- "That guy is homeless because he didn't eat his vegetables." If you really stretch it, there's science to back this up, given the importance of nutrition to brain health. More important, this lie demonstrates and teaches cause and effect. It gives your child the understanding and power to determine his destiny.
- "I'm not afraid." Your smile is their Kevlar shield, your hug a proof of love and that everything will be OK if we stick together, share our concerns and work on problems together. No matter how bleak reality might threaten to become, we don't need to face them alone.
- "This is Mommy's special juice, and it's poison to children." Happy hour is sacred ground and you need to treat yourself to something nice, now and then. Just don't blackout when you're in charge!