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Why do non-autistics lie to their kids?

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by loneaspie, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. loneaspie

    loneaspie Active Member

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    As an Aspie who hopes to have kids himself someday, I have to wonder... why do non-autistic people lie to their kids? Logically, it makes no sense.

    Ex. 1: A kid presents a bad drawing. (I don’t mean stick figures, crayons, stuff out of proportion, or drawing by age, etc... I mean bad.)
    - What a nice drawing! Did you do that?

    Ex. 2: A toddler banging on the piano.
    - That’s such a beautiful song! So sweet!

    Ex. 3: It’ll be okay. It’s okay (Edit to clarify this: most times, it’s not okay with a normal person, like if a kid says something, and an NT denies it bothers them. I understand making a child feel safe is #1, and there are times like hard times where this needs said legitimately to calm someone, but I'm saying where the person *does not* mean it, like saying "all is okay" with them, when it's not.)
    - Typical child gives hug, etc.

    Ex. 4: I love you more than anything in the world. I wouldn’t trade anyone for you (when you’ve heard or seen same person clearly be mean to or covertly backbite the recipient)
    - Typical child believes it (if the signs are not obvious)

    But then, there’s stuff like...

    Ex. 5: It’s that friend I was telling you about. Tell her I’m not home right now.
    - Usual response: Okay

    As an Aspie, I wonder: why can't people just say what they mean?
    1. Bad drawing: Thanks for showing this to me; I know it took hours, but to really be a great artist someday, you need to really practice at it. (That is, if their dream is being an artist; otherwise, I’d just stay quiet and let the NTs say their stuff.)
    2. Piano: I’d go to another room. If chased around about it, I’ll be honest. I’d probably shut or melt down.
    3. Okay: I was bothered when you said/did etc. but all's good now. Or things are bad right now, but I know they will get better.
    4. Facade relationship: You know, I confess I sometimes don’t really like what you say or do. But I will try to be there for you, help you, and do the best I can.
    5. Phone: She doesn’t want to talk right now. Please call her later.

    And yet, when a kid lies, it’s very bad. Parents rage never to do it. So why do adults do it? And why not allow kids to do the best they can do? Why do they do this?

    I've added edits to make what I'm saying hopefully clearer and be a bit 'softer' in tone; my original post I admit wasn't written well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  2. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

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    One day you may understand unconditional love.

    To put a child down no matter how poorly they have performed might be a crushing blow to their soul.
     
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  3. loneaspie

    loneaspie Active Member

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    To put a child down *on purpose* I would definitely agree with. That'd be immoral to me, and I wouldn't just say stuff like a jerk. But I don't believe in lying to someone, either. I think there's a balance between 'love' and lies.

    "Unconditional love" means loving someone no matter what, and I get that for examples #1 and #2, maybe. And as I posted, I would not say 'this sucks', but I would also be honest. And I would try in a gentle way to say whatever I said. I would never want to break anyone's spirit; I've been depressed enough that I would never have anyone else go through it.

    But seriously, if someone says "I love you" like example 4 and does NOT mean it, that is *not* "unconditional love". That's deceptive, and it will hurt later when the child figures it out.

    As for #3, I know there is a point to this. And maybe I'll edit my post to make it clearer what I mean here. I know a parent's greatest task is to ensure their kids are and feel safe, like in Interstellar where Cooper mentions, "It rules out telling things to a 12-year-old, like the world is ending"... when fictionally speaking, it was. But to say that and not mean it is not love, it's lies.

    So I hope that clarifies what I'm saying. I'm not giving virtual license for someone to be a jerk; I'm saying: why can't everyone be forthcoming?

    So again, why do NT parents lie about things?

    Note: Original post edited above.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  4. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

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    I have a clear opinion regarding example #5, however many of the examples leave enough room for interpretation that answers can be problematic.

    Babies require unconditional love for proper development of the brain, and failure to receive these signals results in dysfunction. I believe that NTs will often not take comments regarding their performance as comments regarding their performance, but rather as comments regarding whether you like them or not. And I'm talking about adults here. A child young enough to be unable to critically judge his own performance is almost incapable of absorbing an assessment of performance, and the entire content of the message may be taken as approval or disapproval of the person's worth as a whole.

    When the person is capable of some self-assessment and/or is in possession of some critical thinking skills then the person is potentially capable of detecting BS, and I agree that there is potential for him to learn that the liar is exactly that, and not to be relied on for good information. Of course teenagers are rebellious the vast majority of the time, the vast majority are lied to by their parents and have figured it out. From that point on they listen to the extent that is necessary due to the parent's control of important things like food and shelter. At least that's how it worked for me (although I didn't have to wait until I was a teenager), and I would suggest that a person who does not rebel in such a situation has something wrong with them, their spirit (heart, strength, not soul) has been severely damaged if not destroyed. If at this point a person lacks the self-confidence to become their own guide through life the only alternative open to them is to seek approval through the eyes of others. It's either "F you, I'm going to figure it out for myself" or "I don't really know where I fit in (and never will without the first answer) I will just continue to get the approval of others, it's kept me alive so far".

    This is just me rambling, not the results of a serious psychological study. And maybe most people don't go through this process consciously. It seems consistent with my observations, and I fail to see how it could be otherwise. If a person accepts that they must believe what they are told by a person who lies to them they cannot truly believe in their own beliefs, cannot have confidence in the truth of their own opinions, could at best believe that everyone else is only bluffing too and they have as much right to bluff as anyone else. This may be why people who put no thought into their position on a subject still defend their position fervently without even attempting to establish their position well.
     
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  5. GrownupGirl

    GrownupGirl Tempermental Artist

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    It seems like parents feel it is their right to lie to their kids just because they don't feel like explaining the truth which may confuse or upset the child. Of course, if they catch their own kid lying, watch out! I once played this for laughs in a cartoon I made on GoAnimate, where a mom lies to her daughter about typical things like a dead dog is really just sleeping, that the needles at the doctor's won't hurt, and even that the ice cream store is closed on Saturdays. Then her daughter lies about stealing a cookie, and the mom is furious and yells, "How dare you lie to your own mother!" and grounds her for a week.
     
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  6. VJCJ0628

    VJCJ0628 Well-Known Member

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    In addition to what Nitro said, I will also say its a matter of building confidence. For example, My Son, Has an issue where if he feels he cannot do something he can give up (I used to do the same) He doesn't really comprehend (or accept may be a better word) That NO One Is really good at something they never did before.

    I, my self-had to learn many things through hard practice, It may have helped if I had had some encouraging voices when I was younger, I try to provide that to my son, You cant get good at something without trying and unless you're a prodigy you will need much practice to get really good

    My son like myself has a thing we are very very good at comes naturally and things that take more effort.

    His therapist said something that made so much sense looking back at my own life, That because there are things he is so very talented at it makes things that take a normal amount of work seem harder because of the comparison

    So encouraging feedback and encouragement to continue practicing things is so very important
     
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  7. Iamnotarabot

    Iamnotarabot Well-Known Member

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    If you are a kid and start doing something, if other tell you that you are bad at it you will probably retrieve in your shell and do nothing.

    Being honest with people having the same level of maturity is logical, but, when you care about someone you understand that they may not react the way you want your honesty.

    It always depends on the subject ofc, I still dont understand the Santa conspiracy xD
     
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  8. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Basically this. Parents are prioritizing their child's emotional needs/emotional health and development.

    And it is not just NTs who take things this way -- I've seen countless autistic people characterize themselves as worthless because they can't or haven't yet lived up to societal expectations of performance in whatever skill(s) in all areas of life. There are complex socio-cultural reasons that messages about performance get conflated with messages about worth as a person.

    A child who brings you a drawing may not be looking for your constructive feedback about his technical skill or whether or not his artwork is worth submitting to a gallery -- often the only thing that matters is that you like it, that you affirm the value of his efforts and his choices, or that you show understanding and appreciation for the joy he experienced in creating his drawing, or the pride he feels about creating it.

    Even when the child is looking for critical opinions, younger children tend to think in black and white and to be impatient.....do you remember being a younger child, how long a week seemed to be? Telling a younger child their performance is awful now but might (which automatically implies "might not") get better at some unknown time in the future (especially if you can't offer any specific ideas for how to improve or what could be done differently,and given how a person can't realistically tell a child when they should expect to improve in whatever way) may not be much different to telling them their performance will always be awful and there is no reason to keep trying...months or years in the future may be unimagineable, experientially equivalent to "always". Like I think @VJCJ0628 was saying, a person of any age may need to feel some sense of success and accomplishment to believe improvement is possible, and most children will struggle a lot more with being patient about the time it takes to see success (define "success" however you want) than adults would -- being told that others like their performance (praise and expressions of liking or valuing the art/music/whatever can be offered alongside constructive criticism) can provide that sense of success and accomplishment that encourages them to keep working at things.

    Like a parent saying they are fine when they are having a complete breakdown? A parent may lie about something like that to protect a child from things that the parent believes the child is is not cognitively or emotionally mature enough to understand or cope with (not saying they are always right in how they judge their chldren's abilities -- parents can wildly over- and under-estimate their children's abilities; and often it's not really about the child's ability to cope/understand but about the parent's ability to communicate things in a way that matches the child's perspective and level of development -- it's communicate the adult way from the parent's perspective or communicate nothing, so the least bad option sometimes ends up being to communicate nothing). If there is a way to be honest without doing unecessary harm, then honesty is better, but sometimes there is no way to avoid unecessary harm while being honest so parents choose to say everything is fine even when it's not. (Adults do this to each other as well, to protect each other from stress/hurt feelings and to prevent damage to relationships.) Not saying it's right or wrong, good or bad...it depends, it's complicated.
     
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  9. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I do not accept the hypothesis that Aspie parents are any more 'honest' with their children.

    I am not saying its impossible, but need proof. Where is your evidence?
     
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  10. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

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    I do not see that hypothesis.
     
  11. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I am not sure loneaspie is putting forward that hypothesis but I can see reason to believe he is; He specifically asked why non-autistic parents lie to their kids, which seems to imply that autistic parents do not lie to their kids.

    That may not be something he intended to imply, and there may be some other reason for asking only about non-autistic parents and not just about parents, generally.
     
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  12. kay

    kay Well-Known Member

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    I used to babysit for a kid that was to me rather difficult. Maybe she was average, don't know. One day I decided it would be good to take a walk out in the field but that meant getting the kid dressed to go outside. She was around 2 and wanted to wear a winter hat and no pants. After trying for a half hour to get her talked into pants I finally lied to her and told her Winnie-the-Pooh would put his pants on. And even though it's rather obvious that Pooh doesn't wear pants, the kid is 2, she happily agrees to pants because she loved Pooh and wanted to be just like Pooh.

    Sometimes lying is all you have unless you want to end up in a blob in the corner crying while the toddler runs lose spreading mayhem all over the house.
     
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  13. Jersey

    Jersey New Member

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    I agree with your versions of what to say to kids.

    1. As for a drawing I'd think it was more of a gift to you, not about the drawing. If this is a toddler at home you'd think a parent would says stuff like that a few times and then start helping them draw better. I would wonder why a parent would just wait for the kid to just "get it" how to draw better.

    2. If you don't like noise, why would you have a piano in your house? But same thing, teach your kid how to use the piano.

    3. I'm assuming "it'll be ok" is what youre saying to a kid, or about you? Said to a kid would be encouraging, if it's about you, maybe you really are ok.

    4. I wouldn't think that a parent not liking some childhood behavior sometimes would necessarily mean they don't love their kid. Or if that is how a parent thinks, they should have someone adopt their kid.

    5. When I was a kid you never told someone on the phone your parent wasn't home. Tell them you're in the bathroom, can't come to the phone or something. Or is this for older kids/teenagers?

    But yeah, especially when a rephrasing is more honest, why not say the phrases like you said them?
     
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  14. Phanelope

    Phanelope Active Member

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    You have to consider a. What is age appropriate and b. What is their personal best.

    I also love my children more than anything in the world.

    Given I avoid social contact, lying about being home or being available is my specialty.
     
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  15. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I remember how it made me feel having a mother that no matter how well I thought I did,
    especially in school, her reply was always "The only thing you did wrong was..."
    Never praise. Just pointing out what she considered I could have done better.
    I got so sick of hearing this I developed an aversion to her watching me perform in school plays,
    recitals, presenting a speech or viewing artwork.
    It made me feel self conscious and I knew that could mess me up from doing my best because I
    would be thinking about her corrections coming afterwards.

    It always made me feel a bit of emotionally let down followed by a surge of desire to always push to do
    better. I could get straight A's in school and latter in life, awards or good reviews.
    But there was always something I could have done better. "You did good, but..."
    Always knew that was coming.
    I finally got to the point I would tell her I really didn't want her to be there or see me perform.
    I was honest and told her it made me nervous having such harsh critiques.

    Honesty is one thing, but, when you know you're doing well and there are never any Kudos for it,
    it does mess you up especially as a child.
     
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  16. felines are superior

    felines are superior Well-Known Member

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    When a child is very young, that's when their self-esteem is built - or not. Parents don't want their children to grow up insecure.

    Small children desperately need their parents' approval and will be insulted and crying their heart out if their parents don't compliment them on their drawing. Their feelings will be hurt. It's called a white lie.

    And you don't want your friends to get the wrong idea that you don't like their company. So sometimes it's better to lie than lose a friend. If you tell someone too many times you can't talk to them right now, they might think you're tired of their company. Or at least you'll hurt their feelings.
     
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  17. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

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    Consider a different perspective :)

    Rather than labelling it lying, look at it differently.
    Specifically the child offering its painting to you.

    Unless they ask “how might I improve this?”
    They really don’t want an art lesson.
    (Critique, hints and technical advice)

    It’s creativity and expression painted on paper.
    They’ve freely created, you’re the recipient.
    It’s a gift to you, in its simplist form.


    That is until we create the senario whereby they’re motivated only to please or try to win acceptance.
    (Projecting our own standards of what is acceptable through criticism)

    Nobody is lying when expressing delight in receiving such a ‘gift’

    The child could have painted a picture for anyone, they chose you.
    They may have no concept of fame and fortune and master classes, those concepts are ours as adults.

    When painting they were simply creating.
     
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  18. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Children need to have encouragement from their parents for their emotional wellbeing and development. When they are showing a picture or playing a piece of music, they are seeking approval, or validation and confirmation of parental approval.

    You can give this without having to lie. You can say "that's a great effort, I can see that you really have worked hard at that!" (not a lie because the child probably has worked hard at it). Or, "I really like that you show me your drawings" (though you may not like the drawing, but you like that the kid is showing it to you). Then, you could make friendly suggestions such as "why don't you use a ruler to draw the building next, it will help you to have nice straight lines". In this way, you can give feedback without putting the child down or hurting their emotions.

    As an aspie, this might take a bit of rehearsing and practice, and thinking of things to say in advance. I work with small children and have had quite a bit of practice at this, though my relationship to my students is different - I'm there to guide them and help them learn, so I establish early on that my role is to give both encouragement and feedback, both being equally important to the learning process. A parent and their child have a different relationship.
     
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  19. Bella Pines

    Bella Pines Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I lie something rotten.

    As a pure through and through aspie, I didn't think I would, but I do.

    Their drawings are always works of art, the "well done for showing up certificate" on sports day is a crowning achievement and their super average writing is riveting. Also, santa most definitely exists, despite how creepy I used to find it when I thought of a strange man in my bedroom at night.

    The reason is this;

    1098756d273235db8a9112363bf10740.jpg
     
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  20. WildCat

    WildCat V.I.P Member

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    They're giving encouragement and emotional support so as to avoid or minimize any potential problems down the road in their future. The what isn't the priority here, it's done for the sake of their emotional well-being. If it doesn't make sense to you, keep in mind that a lot of behaviors exhibited by people with ASD make no sense to many people either and seem just as illogical to them. It takes a two way street to build understanding, not a dead end, and if you're willing to open up your mind you might learn something beneficial.

    All kids can and do benefit from it, including kids on the spectrum, and to think that they're immune to it or don't care for it is plain silly. The evidence for a lack of it and how it can affect people is pretty self-evident on this and other forums centered around ASD.
     
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