Everyone is talking about Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace. The media stories lately may seem like a broken record, but have you considered how this could be the time to have an open conversation with your child about lying?
Dr. Pete Stavinoha, Ph.D., a child neuropsychologist at Children’s, sees this as the perfect opportunity to talk to your child in a nonthreatening way.
“This story is good for parents to use proactively in talking with kids, especially the older ones who are already aware and may be engaged in competitive sports or academics where they would be more vulnerable to consider cheating or using performance-enhancing drugs,” says Dr. Stavinoha.
The dangers of living a lie
From a psychological standpoint, children need to understand that living a lie for a long period of time can be extremely stressful.
“In terms of characterizing accomplishments in a manner that’s simply not true and perpetuating that, you never know how these things start,” says Dr. Stavinoha. “Some start it innocently without bad motives. But once the lie takes a life of its own, people may start defending themselves to stay away from the pain of exposing it.”
Tips for talking to your child about Lance Armstrong
The Lance Armstrong apology provides a good conversation starter for a number of values-based topics such as lying, cheating and the use of performance-enhancing substances. Here are some tips to help you have a frank discussion with your child about these topics:
- Communicate your own values about these types of actions and illustrate potentially substantial consequences from holding onto it for a long time.
- Discuss that everyone is flawed, including celebrities, politicians, and athletes, like Lance Armstrong.
- Use his story as a conversation starter about making good choices, regardless of the potential benefit of lying or cheating.
Leave us a comment to tell us about how you talk to your children when one of their heroes, like Lance Armstrong, falls from grace.
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