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How Disney Brings Out the Liar in Me

I was recently given an amazing opportunity from my friends at Disney Canada to attend the Disney Social Media Moms conference in Orlando. I jumped at the chance – by March, who doesn’t need to get a hit of that happy drug the Big Mouse deals out?

The added bonus was that this conference is a family getaway….well, for a family of four, anyway. Once I got a friend to agree to come along as babysitter, I was left with two kid spots.

You understand my dilemma. How does a mama of six pick her two “favourites” to bring along? One friend suggested making them audition via domestic challenges; another friend said not to bring any of them.

The thought of leaving everyone at home to be “fair” was not considered. I want my kids to understand that sometimes they get opportunities and sometimes they don’t. Often, neighbours and friends feel obligated to invite several of my kids to their child’s birthday party because they don’t want anyone to feel left out. I assure them that the uninvited kids will be just fine – they know that their turn will come. I think disappointment is not such a terrible feeling for a kid to have to deal with now and again.

Choosing which children to bring was not actually hard. I’m pretty practical when it comes to the kiddos and bringing the two biggies, ages 10 and 11, made sense for a few reasons: they would be easy for my friend to take care of, they are tall enough for every ride and, most importantly, they have the stamina to survive amusement park hours and activity without getting crabby.

Having said that, I wanted to communicate the travel plans to the other children with as little drama as possible, so this is what I told the unchosen:
“I have to go to a work conference in Florida. I am allowed to bring two children with me but they have to be 10 years of age and older. There is a chance that they may go to Disney for a day or so while we are there.”

I explained all of the fun activities I had lined up for them in my absence. The two biggies then did an exceptional job of keeping quiet about any trip plans that were in the works.

All went well until we arrived at Disney and had dinner with all of the other conference attendees and their families. My kids observed and noted that there were many children there under the age of 10 years old.

How did I explain that to them? I told them that while it is always important to be as truthful as possible, sometimes lying is appropriate. I explained that “white lies” sometimes help to cushion the truth and this was one of those situations. I trusted that they had the maturity to understand that and, indeed, they completely got it, which confirmed why they were the chosen ones. So on top of having a fabulous time on Space Mountain, at Epcot Centre and the Magic Kingdom, they learned a few life lessons.

No question, teaching kids when to lie is a tricky topic – have you had to deal with it? What has been your experience with “white lies” and your kiddos?

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1. Katie Perera

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