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Dad Worries, So Should I Lie to Him?



"I’m scheduled for surgery in a couple weeks. The procedure isn’t too serious, but it is a surgery after all. Frankly, I’m concerned about telling my father that I’ll be in the hospital for a bit. He worries so.

I’m his primary caregiver but he’ll be fine without me stopping by for a couple of days. I’ll be back after about three or four days and can resume my usual routine with him. I thought of telling him that I need to take a short trip for work and will be out-of-town. 

Is it appropriate to withhold this information from him? I would only be doing it to spare him needless worry."



I completely understand your logic on withholding your pending surgery from your father. It would spare him anxiety and angst over your admittedly minor procedure. 

Even though you have good reason to shield him from the news, I’m reminded of a quote from Marmion by Sir Walter Scott: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"

You have good intent here in giving your dad an alternate explanation for your pending absence. I would not recommend this, however. 

My logic here is that sometimes our fears are exaggerated, and the truth may be easier to bear than finding out later that we were deceived. The odds of him finding out eventually are good. Things do tend to slip out at some point. Oh, maybe not for a while, which would have you think you’ve been successful in hiding the info. If and when he discovers your deceit, though, he will lose faith in your honesty. Really, you’ll have then elevated his future anxiety revolving situations that involve you and your decisions.

I would go with the truth on this one. Do provide your father with as much information about your surgery as you are comfortable. Since it’s a minor procedure, literature about the outcome is assuredly available. A quick Internet search will reveal info you can provide him. Promise to call the minute you wake up from surgery.

Know that worry is part of human nature and we all do it. Yes, he will be concerned about you. All parents worry about their children. You are always his child no matter how old you are. We parents are always your parents, even when you become our caregivers. Let him assume the role of worrier. It is his right as your parent.

This journey as child and caregiver is a lifelong lesson. We all grow and learn every day. Enjoy the ride.