There’s a radio program that airs around the time I am usually picking up a child from a weekend playdate. A few weeks ago it featured an interview with John Hodgman, a sort of hipster-comedian, who is older than most hipsters (i.e., my age). He recently wrote a book (Vacationland) which, apparently, at least occasionally, addresses parenting. What I remember from the interview is his statement that parents tell two lies to their children.

Lie #1:  S.C. is real. (Using initials here in case you have a small person reading over your shoulder).

Lie #2: We, as parents have no vices.

I think the second lie is usually implied; if I were to speak the words, “I have no vices”, my older children would collapse in a cascade of belly laughs. They’ve seen me on hour 18 of a road trip. They know all about my vices.


It’s an open secret that I must try to maintain, though, because I am their mother and I know that vices should be addressed before they become barriers to happiness and progress. As I love to tell my children when they use teenager logic on me, “I’m your mother because I know more than you.”

They love that.

It’s a tricky and sometimes treacherous tightrope we walk, trying to set an example of values we hold dear but knowing we often fall short of them ourselves. Even more difficult is the issue of honesty about mistakes you may have made as a teen or young adult.
Some parents report that being honest with your kids about your mistakes will help you form strong emotional bonds with them.
Other parents worry that kids may think, “Well, Mom and Dad did some bad stuff and they turned out OK.”


Now my question:

What do you tell your children about mistakes you’ve made? Is everything fair game? What has worked for you?
Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment on Facebook.


 Vacationland by John Hodgman:
(affiliate link)