Should I tell the truth?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    We were supposed to be going to get our new dog tomorrow. It's a long journey and we were to have stayed the night in a hotel and returned on Wednesday. However, this morning I rang a psychiatrist who has been recommended to me, having found out I can be reimbursed and, amazingly, I spoke to the doctor directly and he has a vacancy for this Wednesday! I obviously did not want to turn it down but this means we cannot go to get the dog tomorrow. I have therefore arranged to go at the weekend.
    J is of course very excited and we have been counting off the day on his fingers until D-day tomorrow... Now, of course, I have to tell him we are not going until Saturday, which will cause a big meltdown and lots of upset. As far as I can see I have the options of
    1. Just telling him the truth of why it is happened, probably provoking lots of upset and angry statements that he doesn't want to see a doctor, he wants to get the dog.
    2. Just acting as if the planned D-day is Saturday and doing a new countdown. He doesn't really understand time and would probably accept this although it feels dishonest and somehow an exploitation of his innocence.
    3. Steering a mid course by telling him we are now going on Saturday but inventing some more acceptable explanation as to why.
    What would you do? People on the forum have valuable insights (flattery may get me somewhere?) so I am putting it to the public vote, as it were...
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'd tell him the truth. He has to learn to deal with unexpected things and I think we shoot ourselves in the foot (as parents) if we start doing what we know we shouldn't just to avoid meltdowns. Ultimately, the meltdowns will only get worse because even difficult children can figure out they can (and will) manipulate us with their threat of a meltdown- IOW, it drives the stakes higher. Just deal with it now.
  3. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Personnaly, I would NOT say "we don't get the dogd because of the doctor appointment" or anything along that line. I would explain that the schedul has change and we cannot pick up the dog on Wednesday. If he ask why, just tell him that sometime things don't go according to plan but the kennel was really nice about it and Saturday will be here soon. Then, once the meltdown is over, I would tell him about the nice gentleman who want to talk with you. If he wants to know why you are going to talk with him, explain that he will help you two deal with feelings and be happier.
    I know you don't want to lie but you don't want J to make a bad connection with this new doctor.
    He is only 4 years, he probably don't need to know all the ins and outs. He might not even go to deep in his questions?
    Let us know how you make out!
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Well, at that age, I think it is kindest to not frustrate and upset. It is not a lie to say the day is on the weekend and just count. If you think that will work just do it and dont give any detail then you dont have to struggle with the "lie" concept . And if needed, It is not a lie to say there is a change of plans, and if really needed....the doggie day has to be on Saturday andor you can add an explanation that does not have too much detail, just doggie is not ready yet but we are going to go on Saturday when he/she is ready. (could avoid the whole thing and say the car needs a tune up...haha)

    You know me now, I would lie and not feel badly in this situation because you are trying to spare feelings (and save sanity!) It is not meant to hurt him--those are the lies that are not acceptable. At his age I bet we all have had to fudge things a little.

    ANYWAY... congrats on the psychiatrist! that is fantastic news. I hope you find him as helpful as you need!
    AND... A new puppy??? or a grown dog? girl or boy? name? How super fun. Your luck it will be a difficult child doggie. Mine is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    I agree, but reading the second half *think* ktlc meant to say 'would not'.

    in my opinion this is not lying. Just rearranging the truth for a more acceptable outcome.Yes, he will be upset, but he will get over it, but you also don't want him to start off with a new doctor in a negative light.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If J. is perceptive... (mine are), then there is no option but to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, up front. For us, anything less - yes, starting about age 3! - was far more destructive to the parent-child relationship than dealing with the fallout.

    If J. is less perceptive... then you might have an option to be a little flexible as the others have said.

    You just have to weigh out whether this is going to come back to bite you in the long run... and that really depends on the kid.
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ditto (with the correction of "I wouldn't say....)
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    With difficult child's "less is more". Change the date. If he picks up on the change of date tell him "Saturday has turned out to be the pick up day and I'm sure it will be fun." If he asks why simply say sometimes changes are necessary and that will be best for you and me and our new dog. I would not include any information about the appointment until the morning of the appointment. and then say simply "today we are going to meet someone new" and, lol, if necessary "afterwards we are going to do x" (whatever works that is a treat for you both).

    On a different note, lol, you are brave to introduce a pet into your household. Sure hope it is a laid back easy going breed. I did not choose wisely when I got a dog for the kids when GFGmom was four. The dog was lovely but training the dog while still training difficult child was more than I anticipated. Good luck. DDD
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    This is good advice. Thank you all. It had not even struck me that there is a connection between the doctor and a negative reason behind seeing him that it would be better to avoid...
    The "wants it easy, doesn't want to ruffle feathers" part of me is tempted to pretend that Saturday is just tomorrow but another part feels that in trying to avoid trouble, I may in fact just be heaping it up, as klmno says. I definitely dislike J's angry outbursts and would, yes, prefer to avoid them. But at what cost? He is very perceptive, IC, about things in his environment, people's feelings, whether people are lying or not... a kind of hyper-perceptiveness, really. So I may just be kidding myself anyway that he would buy the "magical expansion of time".
    I think... the best thing is probably to tell him that I have to work tomorrow and there is school on Wednesday (which he was going to miss but now can go for the morning) so we will go to get the dog on Saturday. If I add a moralising point such as "things sometimes change", he will explode so I will just make it as low-key and matter of fact as possible. Actually I have begun to find that if I ignore the meltdown and just carry on talking in a normal and pleasant tone of voice, he will sometimes just snap out of it, not go into it.
    No, buddy, the dog is definitely NOT a difficult child :) I was adamant that the dog had to be calm and easy-going... She is an 8 year old border terrier raised by border terrier breeders who can no longer look after her because of illness. So another adoption... Border terriers are known for being amiable and good-natured and this one is apparently even more laid-back and easy to accommodate than most... Any other kind of dog just would not work with J. Or me, come to that...
    DDD, we posted simultaneously: yes, your approach to the doctor's visit is what I always instinctively do. Tell him on the day, not make much of it, not explain anything about it and talk about a nice thing we can do after...
  10. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Hum, Hum. I have edited my post! ;)
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Or what about... sorry, just thinking this through as I have to go and pick J up in 20 minutes, saying that the woman has asked me to come on Saturday instead? That is a lie, but no less of a lie than saying I have to work tomorrow (I always have to work!) and more likely to be accepted easily.
    I do resent this sense of treading on egg-shells, which I'm sure most if not all of you recognise, tip-toeing around the explosiveness... And yet I don't think it is good for J, let alone me, to go into a meltdown. His reactions are always so extreme, so intense... I find myself saying a lot "calm down" (advice I should take myself sometimes) or "hang on, you don't have to react like that, wait a minute..." because I honestly think it is better for his developing brain to avoid all this constant upset. Not to mention my already-developed brain...
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I like that one. I told the doctor today HE had to be the bad guy because I always am and I need him to come home with as few resentments as possible. I really do think that if you think he will take to that it is ok to do. If you feel it will cause a problem later, like he will somehow find out, that is different of course. Mine can still be convinced most of the time. like I said, he still believes in Santa and Easter Bunny and when he asks me if it is real, I ask him what he thinks. I just let it go on as long as he likes it.

    I told him those little noise alarms that sound when a door is opened ... that they are connected to the police. Had to, he would just pull them off and it was a matter of safety.
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, nothing ever goes as you think it will, of course. In the event, I picked J up - dressed as a vampire - and told him, in a very nonchalant tone of voice, that the woman had phoned and wanted us to go on Saturday. He just said "Oh no!" in a rather plaintive tone of voice. If that seems too good to be true, he had a lot of whining and shouting on the drive home because I wouldn't let him eat the big bag of sweets he was clutching but said he could just have two more before supper (in the end he managed to get four altogether, by various devious tactics...) We have now survived that and he is happily cavorting around with a mini-broomstick... Thanks again for the help.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and take what comes...

    Yes, sometimes you do get the "best" option, just have to be prepared in case it isn't!
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, yes... emotional spontanaiety is more my style but having a difficult youngster to look after is helping me give organisational skills an airing.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sounds like it wasn't great, but not as bad as it could have been.

    Though our kids often seem to be far wiser than their age in some matters, we still need to remember a line that my mother attributes to her grandmother, "You don't have to tell ALL you know". Your son is still just 5 and he doesn't really need all the details - even if he wants them. As parents we tend to say a lot more than we need to and explain more to them, hoping to gett hem to see it our way. It can be far simpler to just say the date changed, and let it go at that. Just the way we do when they ask where babies come from - we tell them what they need to know at their age, what they can handle.
  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, interesting you should say that, Susiestar - J has asked about babies and I have told him the truth, adapted to a four year old of course. I prefer for him to know the reality from me because he is going to hear it on the playground soon anyway. I don't see this as a particularly special or different bit of information, actually. I did say that it happens when you are grown up, and when people are married and love each other, so that was my bit of propaganda.
    In general, I kind of agree with you, though. I often stop myself giving all the details to J, as I am tempted to to "explain". He doesn't understand and it is just unnecessarily complicated for him. Maybe knowing too much is anxiety-provoking in a child, I don't know.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I always preferred the truth, easier to stick to your story that way. That doesn't mean it might not have been an edited form of the truth.

    I have a thing for the truth as well as a thing about promises when it comes to kids. My Mom was lousy with both and all of us grew to believe that people were in general not to be trusted at their word, most certainly she wasn't. So I'll flat out refuse a promise to a child unless I'm dead certain I can deliver (then will move heaven and earth to make certain I deliver) and I may give a child an edited version of the truth, and often have to avoid meltdowns, but I won't lie to them.
  19. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    The truth is attractive, yes, Hound Dog... One thing I've had to learn personally (or try to) is that, at the same time, truth should not be used like a sword...
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There is the truth and then there is THE truth. In this case I dont think you need to spell out specifics in great detail. I would tell him that you cant go get the dog on the original date but that you are going on Saturday. Dont even mention the doctor appointment at the same time as you talk about the dog thing. You dont want him to associate the fact that he didnt go to get the dog because he had to go to the doctor. That wouldnt be good. Either before bed when you are talking softly you could mention the appointment or you could just wait until the morning to tell him you are going to see a new person to talk to. One has nothing to do with the other.