My children are fairly young, so I try to be careful about what I say when they’re around. Of course I’m not talking about the occasional foul-mouthed word, but certain topics that pertain to my adult life, including my marriage with my husband, their grandparents’ health, our job situations, etc. I’ve always maintained that the kids should live a worry-free childhood full of rainbows and bubbles because it’s not their job to stress out about life’s ups and downs when they’re so young, right?
While the kids have seen my husband and I argue, I make sure they see us make up as well, just so they understand that while it’s OK to fight, it’s more important to find a resolution to your argument. But when it comes to life issues — stress, money, jobs, health, and so forth — I’ve always tried to sugarcoat details just because at ages 6 and 4, I don’t want them to carry the same stress-related burdens that mommy and daddy deal with on occasion.
I’m starting to think though that I might be in the wrong when it comes to telling my children half-truths rather than the whole truth.
According to actor Michael Douglas, who has had quite a rough year with his throat cancer battle and his trial separation with his wife of 14 years, Catherine Zeta-Jones, kids should know what’s going on. Why? Because at the end of the day, they deserve to know, and no matter how much we try to hide it, they do a good job of figuring things out anyway.
Douglas, who shares 13-year-old Dylan and 11-year-old Carys with Zeta-Jones, says that he’s much more open about his life struggles with his children now than ever before.
“I’m more and more prone to tell kids just about everything,” Douglas says in a new interview with People magazine. “There’s been a whole school of thought about things you should not tell children — if there’s a problem in a relationship, [people say], ‘Let’s not let the kids know,’ Kids know. They know everything. I would err on the side of pretty much sharing everything. They can digest it, you know? It’s life.”
This makes sense because looking back at my own childhood, I had that “sense” that something was off or not right at home at times, even when my parents tried to hide their stress from us. While I’m sure every parent tries their best to protect their children from the evils of the world, sometimes it’s best to digest the ugly side, too.
Because just like Douglas says, it’s part of life.
So tell us Babble readers, do you think it’s a good idea to share the good, the bad, and the ugly — no matter how extreme it is — with our children? Do you agree with Michael’s thoughts on being entirely open with young kids? Sound off in our comments section below.
Photos via PacificCoastNews.com
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