Life Advice


Health & Spirit

I'm not comfortable with my mom wanting me to lie to my grandfather

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

My grandfather is in his 90s. He's in great health overall, is mentally very sharp, and lives very close to family. My mother has taken to lying to him when she has something planned that my grandfather will not be participating in -- a family portrait, for example, or a vacation, at least up until the point that we leave -- because my mother says my grandfather has a tendency to lay the guilt on thick.

Part of me is fine with my mom doing what she needs to do, but she asks us to lie, too ("Don't tell your grandfather ... "). He always asks about these things. I have told my mom this bothers me, and that I don't like the lying.

I suppose there's an argument that it's somehow sparing my grandfather's feelings when things are going on without him? But I don't ever see that as the reason for my mother's actions.

My mom has a larger tendency to tell lies to suit her needs, like, "Tell them you're sick," if I need to get out of an obligation, or "Don't tell," about something she has done. What do you think?

-- H.


I think you're pretty astute.

And honest.

Good for you on both counts.

Now you need to be courageous, too, to say to your mother, "No, I won't lie." Not to Grandpa, not to get out of an obligation, not to cover for her or anyone else.


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