by Cheryl Jackson Monday November 17, 2008

When my youngest child was in Grade 3, she came to me on a cold Easter Sunday, and asked me if the Easter Bunny was real.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because I said he was real at recess the other day and a bunch of kids laughed at me and said he wasn't. So is there really an Easter Bunny?"

I knew the chips had fallen. Years and years of lying on my part had come to an end, and I was being forced to tell the truth. I had always told myself that if my kids asked outright, I would tell them the truth. Until then, I would lie.

"No, there really isn't an Easter Bunny. He's made up," I said.

"So when I find my basket in the morning, full of chocolate, you put that there?" she asked.


Two hours later, she came to me again.

"Does that mean there's no Santa Claus?"

"Yes, there is no Santa Claus."

"The cookies and milk, and the carrots for the you and Daddy put that there?" she asked.

"Yes, we do."

A couple of hours later....

"What about the tooth fairy?"

Oh, man. This was turning into a very bad day for my daughter.
"She's made up too," I said.

"So you write those letters to me from the tooth fairy?"

"Yes, I do."

So I had lied. So do most North Americans. We lie all the time, sometimes about the Easter Bunny, sometimes to spare someone's feelings, sometimes to avoid a telemarketer's phone call. So should we be surprised when our kids lie? All kids lie at some point in their lives, but clearly all lying is not equal. When does lying become a problem? How often does it spill over to school, and become cheating? And how should we respond, as parents, when we catch our kids lying?

Let's ask the experts on Your Voice. They've promised to tell the truth.