Let's be honest: I lie for a living.
I'm a writer. Primarily fiction. That means I make things up, hope that people will believe my lies, and even pay me money for them.
So, what am I supposed to tell my daughter about the practice now that she's adopted an alter-ego, a superhero named Weather?
I will call her Weather, and clap vigorously at her ability to move clouds across the sky, and wince only a little as she leaps off the couch to demonstrate her flying skills. What I will not do is play along when my daughter does something she shouldn’t–like, say, make a mess in her room… and blame it on Weather.
I will not let either Weather or The Girl Who Plays Weather pull the wool over my eyes in some circumstances.
I will not let The Girl Who Plays Weather use her alter ego as an excuse to lie to me.
Of course, this brings up the logical question: Isn’t all fantasy play lying? When I go along with believing that she really is the one keeping it from raining on our picnic, aren’t I sending the message that some lying is okay? (And, its addendum question: Isn’t some lying okay? Come on, grown ups, admit it.)
Does this sort of fantasy lying fall into the same category that parents often indulge in? Jews may not have the “Is Santa Claus real?” dilemma but, tell the truth, does Elijah the Prophet actually come to your seder and drink his wine? I know my prophet’s portion ends up in the sink when the kids aren’t looking. And let’s not even start on the ecumenical tooth fairy.)
My daughter may not be a criminal mastermind, but she’s no dummy, either. I have no doubt that she is using Weather to manipulate me in that regard. Testing to see how much she can get away with, gambling that I won’t press her too hard while she’s in disguise. Not to mention deflecting. When I call her on misbehaving, she will, as often as not, insist that it was Weather, Weather, all Weather’s doing; bursting into tears that I don’t believe her and completely brushing the actual offense aside.
I think she’s doing it on purpose. So I refuse to buy into it.
Will she be telling her therapist in years to come about how her mother, not unlike… oh, let’s say Amanda from The Glass Menagerie, tore apart her fragile fantasy world, leading to a lifetime of trauma and Tennessee Williams stylized dialogue?
Maybe. But, at least her toys will be picked up off the floor in the meantime.
Read the entire piece (and check out her superhero costume) on: http://www.kveller.com/blog/parenting/should-i-play-along-with-my-daughters-imaginary-friend/
And if you've got advice for me, go ahead and chime in! I could use it!