As stated earlier, children feel safe when their parents are honest with them. If the parents start to keep secrets from the child to protect her from bad news, the child feels isolated and fearful. She might think, "If mom and dad won't tell me, it must be really bad," or, "Mom won't talk about it. I guess there's nobody that I can tell about how scared I am."
Denial is a type of unconscious dishonesty. This occurs when parents say things to children such as, "Everything will be just fine," or, "It won't hurt a bit." This type of pretending just increases the distance between child and parent, leaving children with no support. However horrible the truth, it seldom is as terrifying to a child as a half-truth upon which his imagination builds.
I try so hard to be honest with my 5-year-old son, but blood draws, which he thinks of as "shots," are just so hard for him. Every doctor's visit, that's his first question, "I'm going to get a shot?" and you just want to say no. My husband's the one who started saying, "It'll be fine," but the anxiety that came up later at the appointment was so much worse, I put an end to that pretty quickly. Now I say, "Yes, but just once," because if I say, "I don't know," it just makes him worry.
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