Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Who Lies More? Parents or Teens?

I have three teens living in my house right now so I think this makes me imminently qualified to share the results of an unscientific study I've been conducting for several years.

The burning question for me through these tumultuous teenage times is why this is the season of parenting when parents start lying.

Mostly to each other.

During the infant and toddler years, we helped each other. We swapped babysitting and recipes. We gave each other tips on the best pediatrician and how much pudding you can legally feed a 3-year-old. We exchanged funny stories about what our darling children said. We celebrated not just birthdays, but milestones, too -- when Johnny slept through the night in his big boy bed, when Susie was potty-trained and what special toy we bribed them with.

Then something changed.

Johnny and Susie weren't so cute anymore. The milestones became scary.

Middle school peer pressure. Study habits changed. Johnny got a D in math. Susie wore too much makeup and was "in love" with a boy you didn't like.

High school brought more milestones. The dreaded driver's license that meant freedom for them and more responsibility -- rather, liability -- for you. And more peer pressure. The dreaded 4 D's…dating, driving, drinking, and drugs.

The playgroups stopped. Healthy snack choices became the least of our worries. And we started retreating and lying to each other.

"Johnny is doing great."

"Susie is so busy at school!"

Lying by omission is still lying -- or that's what I've been trying to teach my kids for all these years.

Sure, there is a privacy issue. Keeping things private in your family and respecting your kids' privacy are important considerations … especially if it puts you, your teen or your family at risk.

But when we lie to each other, we're lying to ourselves.

When we internalize our fears about parenting this next generation and don't share what's going wrong and how to deal with it, we're doing each other a grave disservice.

You know the family who all appear perfect in public. I'm always a little relieved when I find out Ward and June's kids were caught __________ (you fill in the blank).

Well, at least it makes me feel a little better.

It's not a reflection of parenting. It really does take a village.

I absolutely believe we help each other so much by telling each other the truth rather than when we pretend everything is perfect. I'm not perfect. My kids aren't perfect. This parenting gig is the hardest job on the planet and I need all the help I can get.

Let's stop judging each other and start helping each other during this season of parenting teenagers.

Am I the only one who needs to hear the truth?

A BIG thank you goes out to Sherra Humphreys, our guest blogger. Sherra is the mom of four, a speaker and a writer in her "spare" time when she's not keeping track of where the three teenagers are, who is in what car, driver and passenger names, location, departure and arrival time and other annoying details she asks her children daily. You can read more about her trials and joys of being a stupid mother, tried-and-tested teen dating tips and how proud she is of her twin daughters' recent decision at can also find her at

a stupid mother
Teen dating tips
twin daughters recent decision

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