Friday, June 10, 2011

Why does Daddy lie to me?

“Why does Daddy lie to me?”

These six little words dangled in the air for what seemed like an eternity. That’s how long it took me to exhale.

Meanwhile, the hamster wheel in my head was working overtime. This was such an important question and I didn’t want to blow it.

When she was younger, I anticipated the questions she would one day ask. 

“Where do babies come from?”  “Is Santa real?”   

I never imagined that she would ask such a question. I never imagined getting divorced either, but well, here we are. Yet there she was in my arms, looking up at me with her tear-filled eyes, anxiously waiting for an answer.

“Why, Mom? Why?”

How do you answer? What can a parent possibly say in this situation? What should a parent say? Do you tell the truth?

“Sweetie, Daddy’s been lying for so long he wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up and smacked him in his lying face.”  

No, you don’t say that (*sigh*). You take the high road. Besides, I don’t need my child filling up her trauma egg before she hits middle school. There will be plenty of time for that after college.

Instead, I listened. I acknowledged her feelings. And I reminded her that she can’t “fix” Daddy.  (Lord knows I tried!) Only Daddy can fix Daddy.   

It’s sad, really sad, to watch your child come to the self realization that her father has been lying to her. And the look in her eyes is something I’ll never forget.  

I realize every kid eventually comes to the conclusion that their parents aren’t perfect.  But that moment should happen like a Chevy Chase movie. Dad picks you up from school wearing black socks with sandals. Mom tries to do the running man at your school dance while chaperoning.

Yup, sooner or later it eventually happens. For the sake our children, we should do our damnedest to make that moment happens later, not sooner. That's what the teen years are for, am I right?

I pray to God I handled this appropriately. This is all new territory for me.

In the meantime, I’m on my way to talk to my ex about his lying and how it’s affecting our daughter. Wish me luck…  

*Has your child ever asked, “Why does mommy/daddy lie to me?”
*How did you handle this with your child?
*Did you talk to your ex about the lying?


  1. My son used to ask me why his dad loved his work more than him, or why he tried to "make everything his way." Recently my daughter asked my husband to change the TV channel from the basketball game he was watching to her kid's station. He did. Later she told me he should have "fought more for his way, because that's what my dad does." She couldn't fathom when I told her that he changed the channel so she, the kid, could watch what he wanted. That that was more important. She was completely perplexed by this.

    What can one say? Very little. They have to figure it out on their own time. You did the right thing. But it's soooo painful.

  2. Amazing and sad that she was perplexed that he would change the channel for her. Such a simple thing.

    I knew it was just a matter of time before my daughter reached this conclusion on her own. It was important to me that she do this on her own time and without any influence from me. Nonetheless, it's sad and it's painful.

    I tried to talk to him about this and it didn't go well. It never goes well. *sigh*

  3. when i get these questions i always say either "i have no idea why he does the things he does/makes the choices he makes" or "that's another reason why we don't live there anymore". both of these responses are true, and i am not going to create a mythical creature w/ comments like "he is having a difficult time" or "daddy is very angry".
    i don't see it as a bad thing that the kids notice who their parents are. when you have a parent that is a negative in your childs life, i think its better that they are aware of that asap, so as to minimize the effect. i don't treat it as a tragedy, i treat it as just another fact. dogs bark, cats meow, your dad lies/is an abuser/makes poor choices.
    i should probably add that their dad came out as a narcissist with a borderline personality disorder in the custody evaluation, and the evaluator said she didn't trust him to make safe choices for the kids and that he was unlikely to ever be an effective parent.