After reading this essay I have become aware of how much parents actually lie to kids. I knew that they lie to kids, but I didn’t realize how much the average parent actually lies. Many of the things described in this essay I hadn’t even thought of before. Additionally, I didn’t realize that I was lied to this much, because I thought it kind of stopped as you grew older. I was wrong.
However, this essay also made me see clearer why parents lie to their kids, for example the part of the essay where Paul Graham talks about sex and drugs. I guess I had never really thought that much about what parents tell their kids about sex, but when Graham said “The average parents of a 14 years old girl would hate the idea of her having sex even if there were zero risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases … . They still think of them as children, even though biologically they’re not,” (3-4) I understand why parents can’t tell the truth all the time. If parents would have told their kids that I don’t want you to have sex because I still think of you as a child, their son or daughter wouldn’t only be offended, but the lecture wouldn’t really make any impact and their child probably wouldn’t listen. However, if the parents scare their kids with pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the message will stick in their head like glue.
Nevertheless, I do have mixed opinions on the whole Lies We Tell Kids. Some points Paul Graham makes I can relate to, whereas other points I can’t. Beside the part I mentioned earlier, I especially feel like I can relate to the part where Graham says that parents teach their kids to be confident, and that they can be anything they want to be. However, after the parents has said how much they believe in their kids, they tell them that they have to be home by 10 o’clock in the evening. I can totally relate to this point because I know this happens to me! Numerous amounts of times my mother does this to me. I know it is because it is part of the culture in many western countries, but in my opinion I think that part of our culture is quite stupid.
Throughout this essay I get the feeling that sometimes Paul Graham defends teenagers, but then other times he refers to them as people with “wretched judgment.” I think it is very good that he doesn’t take anyone’s side in this essay even though he is himself a grownup. It makes the essay more convincing because it gives the impression of the essay not being biased.
Overall, this essay made me feel kind of small and crushed in a way. This goes back to the point I made earlier when I said I didn’t realize how many lies parents actually tell, and I thought they would have stopped lying to me by now.