I would bet that it doesn't take long for kids to develop a decent bullshit detector which will allow them to filter out these kinds of messages. But what impact does that have on their view of and relationship with adults? I don't want to tell my kids anything that will make them distrust me or think I view them as not smart enough to be able to handle an honest conversation. If it was me, I'd write a song with a more subtle message about how sometimes it sucks to clean up, although we can do things to try to make it more fun, but bottom line it's just something we have to do sometimes and it makes our environment more livable in the end, so it turns out to be worth it. You can see why I'm not in the business of writing kids' songs. The thing is, the world isn't as simple as "we need to do x, so let's lie to ourselves about x being fun!" Many experiences kids have and questions they ask do require a nuanced and subtle, yet age-appropriate, response. This requires work, and real engagement with your kids. But I would bet it pays off big time in the long-run.
So, as is my wont, I kept thinking about this all week, while I didn't have time to post it here. And, as is likely to happen, my thoughts on the topic branched out and I began looking for a general pattern. And I began to wonder if something like abstinence-only sex ed is really a symptom of this feature of our culture. The fact that we routinely and easily lie to kids makes it easier to justify the misinformation that's fed to them in abstinence-only sex ed. It's for their own good, right?
But can you think of any instance where lying to a kid really turns out to be for their own good? I can't. Among my acquaintances who were adopted, for instance, those who knew about it for as long as they remember had an easier time than those who were shielded from the truth, only to have it sprung on them at a later date. And lies we tell children about death almost always backfire in the end. At some point, they're going to figure out that Aunt Vy isn't on an extended holiday and Spot did not go to a nice farm out in the country. And when they do, how can they not feel a bit betrayed by the lie? Beyond that, it seems deeply inauthentic to expect nothing less than the full and unaltered truth from your kids while giving yourself permission to lie to them. It (perhaps unintentionally) sends a clear message of a difference in relative worth, and makes reciprocal respect between parent and child impossible.