Welcome to the February 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Honesty
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through honesty. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Self-Expression and Conformity.
The day before we arrived home from our three and a half week trip to visit my parents over Christmas, I checked in with my friend Jess, who was looking after our house (and picking us up from the airport, because she’s that awesome!) while we were gone.
She had some bad news.
Our little dwarf hamsters, Henry and Todd, were dead.
They had been fed and watered, and checked in on, but they died while we were gone.
I knew my four year old, Abbey, would be devastated.
I brainstormed with Jess over the phone about ways to explain away their death, and dispose of their little bodies without Abbey knowing. My dad disagreed and said we needed to have a funeral “just like we did for your gerbils when you were a little girl”.
But after all that thought, I decided that the best way to address their deaths with my children was to tell them the truth, and help them grieve for their little furry friends.
I’m glad that I chose authenticity in this circumstance. Abbey was sad when I told her (after I cleaned up their bodies and their cage while she and Joseph played at Jess’ house) but I explained that hamsters have short lives, and that they had a happy life with us. She ventured that maybe they died because they were lonely. Or maybe just because they were “done playing on their wheels and got too tired.”
About fifteen minutes later, she came back to find me and said very calmly:
“It’s sad what happened to our hamsters.” and she cried just a little.
A few days ago, we were having dinner and a playdate at a friend’s house. Their mommy asked about Henry and Todd, and Abbey looked up from her plate, a little shocked.
“Oh, Abbey, Ms. Amber doesn’t know yet about our hamsters’ deaths” I explained.
Amber started to apologize, but Abbey interrupted her.
“It’s OK Auntie Amber. Our hamsters died. But they’re with Jesus now in heaven.”
“God will take very good care of their souls because He is our Almighty Father”.
. . . and I gave myself a little pat on the back for a job well (and authentically) done.
Have you had to speak to your children about death?
In what ways do you choose authenticity in your parenting?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 22 with all the carnival links.)
- Why Is It Considered Normal To Lie To Children? – Laura at Authentic Parenting wonders why people lie to children on a regular basis
- A Lie Is A Lie – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama outlines ten reasons why she believes parents lie to their children on a more than casual bases.
- Telling Truths – Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the difficulty in raising a bi-cultural child when cultural norms are not mutually exclusive, specifically in the area of lying.
- Honesty in Illness and Death – Laura at WaldenMommy:Life Behind the Red Front Door writes how she and her husband strive to be open and honest with their Herd of children about tough subjects, especially death.
- Talking Honestly About Death – Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work, is glad she chose to be honest with her children about the deaths of their pets, despite her fears of upsetting them.
- Freedom through Honesty – At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy speaks to how honesty allows us to break free of the chains which bind us.
- Guilty Children? – Jorje of Momma Jorje touches on the many ways lies (and accusations of lies) have impacted her abilities as a parent.
- Choosing Our Words: Everyday Honesty With Children – In her guest post at The Badass Breastfeeder, Alice discusses the importance of being honest with children, even when it seems easier not to.
- Truth/Lies…Accuracy, Honesty…Love – Mari from Honey on the Bum talks about how a shift in perspective helps her deal with inaccurate statements and secrets with her kids.