Inside: 10 Astounding Lies That Are OK To Tell Your Children.
Let’s face it, most of our children’s early years are built on lies. We continue to tell them to tell the truth in life and to always be honest but we blatantly lie to their face regularly. If your marriage or other relationships in life were built on lies we’d have left the person years ago.
We tell our children lies as a method of protecting them and keeping certain things secret. Maybe it’s a little white lie because we don’t know the right answer and other times we’re just too lazy to go about finding or explaining the right answer. Parents use these lies as a survival technique in many instances. Sometimes we just want our children to be quiet and it’s easier to lie to get them to stop talking than it is to explain yourself. Does this make us bad parents?
If you’re reading this and saying to yourself that you’ve never lied to your children I simply don’t believe you. We all have done it. You might not have consciously done it but you have. Little white lies are not the problem. However, if you rely on them constantly to get out of a situation or to avoid saying no you may be causing a problem. There is a term for lying to your kids in this manner and it’s called Pinocchio Parenting.
Parenting isn’t easy, sometimes it feels like a chess match and though you try to stay one step ahead you can’t. Therefore the occasional lie is necessary to get them to eat dinner, clean their room, do their homework, or a whole host of other things. Whether it’s a flat out lie or a slight exaggeration of the truth there is a necessity for lies now and again.
As I sat down to write this I thought about the top 10 lies that I have told my children at some point in their life. I assume you may have a similar list.
Fictitious characters that give you gifts and money or as I call them, “The Big Three”
Inevitably one of the first lies we tell our children is the tall tale of Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. A man exists who lives at the North Pole and he has a workshop full of toys that are made by elves. Every Christmas Eve he gets on his sled powered by flying reindeer to deliver gifts to children all over the world. And he does so at a speed that makes a Kenyan marathon runner seem slow.
I forgot to mention that he slides down your chimney while you’re asleep to put the presents under the tree because of course your front door is locked. He knows when you’ve been sleeping and he knows when you’re awake. That’s not at all creepy!
If that story isn’t enough to win your child over how about a giant bunny that hides eggs and brings you chocolate at Easter time. The Easter Bunny “hops” into your house and hides Easter Eggs and leaves a basket of goodies for all the children. I assume since he’s a giant bunny he must have some powerful legs to kick the door in.
My favorite tale of all is the fairy who takes your old, rotten baby teeth and in return gives you money. This is perhaps the strangest transaction to ever occur since the dawn of time.
I understand that children can be gullible but the fact that we can use these lies for such a long time is an accomplishment. “If you don’t go to sleep Santa won’t come to our house”. We’ve even gone so far as to track Santa via radar so we know where in the world he is breaking and entering.
How about the adorable Elf on a Shelf who’s sole purpose is to follow your children’s every move and report back to Santa if they sense any shenanigans. Watch out though because those little rascals are pretty feisty and known to cause havoc every night. Parents have given themselves a nightly chore of creating new chaotic scenes for their Elf On A Shelf to keep their children in line.
The truth comes out in my house…
Both of my daughters took the news that these mythical people and creatures were fake in stride. My oldest felt like such a grown-up when she figured it out. My youngest quizzed us as if we were under interrogation by the FBI. She slammed her hands down on the kitchen bar one day and said: “Is Santa real or fake?” My wife and I looked at each other and answered back, “Do you really want to know?” She loudly answered “YES!” She was 7. “Let me take this one.”, I whispered to my wife. “So you want to know if Santa is real or not….he’s not, it’s us”. My daughter sat blankly staring ahead. Her response was “OK” with a shrug of her shoulders.
I then asked, “Anything else you want to question like I don’t know maybe, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy?” She looked to me as if to say, “I never thought about that one!”. “Well….”, I said, “…they’re us as well”. Two great things came out of this conversation.
- She got a real appreciation for what we go through as parents to keep us this clever ruse. We were in Disney one year for Easter and had baskets and goodies shipped to the hotel so that when the girls woke up their baskets would be there. This blew her mind to think we went out of our way for them like this.
- I then got her thinking and asked her to rank the “characters” in order of believability. Her order was as follows – Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy. Her logic was that she can see Santa in the mall and that the Tooth Fairy always creeped her out because he/she took her teeth. So that left the giant bunny to naturally fall as #2. BTW…another lie – my wife used to tell my girls that the Tooth Fairy recycles their baby teeth and gives them to new babies being born to get the girls to brush their teeth regularly. You don’t want to be responsible for newborns getting rotted teeth now do you!!??
That pet really isn’t your original pet
Not only do we have to keep our children alive but often the responsibility of keeping their pets alive falls on us as well. Let’s face it, goldfish die pretty quickly unless you get that one stubborn goldfish you won at the state fair that grows up to be a foot long and lives for 10 years.
My sister and I had hamsters growing up and I remember mine was pretty creative and you could see him on any given day scaling along the top of the cage like he was on America Ninja Warrior. One day I noticed that my little ninja warrior wasn’t quite climbing around as he used. Mom and Dad would tell me that it happens when they get older. Later in life, I found out my hamster was an imposter as my original one died when I was at school one day.
There is a pretty good chance that if you had either of these two pets growing up they were not the originals you received as a gift.
Visit your Petco or Petsmart and I can almost guarantee you’ll find a parent with a picture of their child’s beloved pet trying to find a replacement. The parents can be seen looking into cages as if they’re at a police lineup.
The car radio/tv is broken
Sorry girls “Daddy’s car doesn’t get Radio Disney anymore”. That’s right, I’ve said these words before and am not at all guilty about it. I’ve listened to more Hannah Montana when my girls were young than I care to admit. You can only hear certain kids’ songs and movies so many times before you’re labeled clinically insane.
The same goes for television. My children used to easily watch a movie 10 times in a row. Any Disney classic was sure to kill a good chunk of the day. They each went through phases. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Monsters Inc. They’d know the movie inside and out and would be able to utter the characters lines word for word. The same way I am with Wedding Crashers or Anchorman. Sometimes we’d use various lies and tell them that the DVD was scratched and we had to get a new one or simply hide it so they couldn’t find it to play.
We tried not to parent with the television too much but it’s an easy crutch to use when you’re trying to get things done around the house. You realize you have a problem on your hands when the kids begin reciting the commercials word for word. 1-877 Cars for kids, 1-877 Cars for kids…
You’re going to be a professional blah, blah, blah…
“You should hear little Elizabeth sing, she has a marvelous voice”. “Little Bobby is the best player on this whole team and he really should be playing at a higher level”. We’ve all heard these types of comments made by parents at every game, winter concert, or school event we attend.
Everyone’s child is the best singer their parents have ever heard, a promising Olympian, future center in the NBA, and of course an artist. If you’re like me you’ve gotten your share of artwork that’s come over the years that’s been questionable at best. We’ve looked at many an artistic attempt and said “What a beautiful giraffe that is”. Only to hear, “That’s not a giraffe! That’s daddy”.
Look hard in any parent’s house and you’ll find a child’s hand in the shape of a turkey, a toilet paper roll painted black with wings glued on to resemble a bat, a Christmas tree made out of pipe cleaners, etc. My niece took a spoon and glued on arms and a face and gave it to us. My wife asked what it was and she simply replied “spoon man”. Of course, how did we not see this?
The one thing we all have in common is our ability to lie to our children when we tell them how beautiful their work is. It’s important to show support for your little one but it’s hard to keep a straight face sometimes. Your inner voice wants to tell them that singing just isn’t their thing, but you realize you don’t want to destroy their dreams. That’s why you used to see so many shitty singers on American Idol. Their parents were liars and told them they were good.
It’s this exact behavior that has led to the “everyone gets a trophy generation” because we’re all too afraid to tell the truth. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place get trophies. Try harder next year and maybe you’ll get one. After all second place is just the first place loser.
Have you ever just reached the end of the parenting line for the day and decide to lie to your child and tell them it’s bedtime? It’s still light out, they just had dinner but we have no problem keep a straight face and bold-faced lying to them that it is in fact bedtime. This trick only works when your children are young. As soon as they start telling time you’re screwed and then have to resort to changing the time on the clocks in your house.
They don’t sell batteries anymore for that toy.
Every toy that my girls had growing up seemed to need batteries of some sort. If you opened my cabinets you’d find a supply that could power a small city. Unless of course, it was a toy that just got too annoying to hear over and over again. Those situations called for desperate measures and we’d often tell them that unfortunately, they don’t see the batteries for that toy anymore.
I’m leaving without you
“If you don’t hurry up I’m leaving without you”. Wait you’re leaving without me? You’re going to leave me alone in this mall by myself because I’m looking at toys and you don’t want to? This is one of those lies that have the potential to create years of unwanted therapy for your children. You’ll provide them enough ammunition for when they’re on the couch talking to their psychiatrist later in life, don’t make abandonment issues one of them.
I never did that when I was your age
You did EXACTLY the same things when you were their age and as a matter of fact, you did even worse things. Your child is not perfect and neither were you so don’t feed them a false narrative of your life. Children like to know that you made many of the same mistakes they did. It lets them know that they’re not alone and others have made mistakes too and learned from them.
We’re almost there…
All sense of time goes out the window when our children are in the car. That’s why every 10 minutes you’ll be asked “are we there yet?” Your response the first 25 times you hear this is…” we’re almost there”. Around the time this question is asked for the 26th time we begin to lose our mind and start to find creative ways to attempt to keep them quiet and stop the onslaught.
Part of you wants to tell the truth. “We’re not even close, we’re 300 miles away”, but that means nothing to a child. There’s no way to easily explain this situation so we resort to continue repeating the same phrase.
Luckily the advent of technology has allowed us to throw a DVD in the player to keep them quiet or we load a game on a tablet to keep them occupied.
It won’t hurt I promise
If you’ve ever had to say these words to your child you know that about 95%-99% chance it will hurt like hell. If your child just crashed on their bike and their femur is sticking out of his/her skin you’ll tell them it won’t hurt as the doctor attempts to put the bones back together.
At my house any time my oldest was due for immunization it was a major problem. As soon as she heard the word “shot” or even knew there was a chance of a shot she became irate. I feel sorry for anyone in the waiting room when my oldest was getting a shot. The screams that would come out of her exam room had to be traumatizing for any child waiting to see the doctor. My wife would always come out apologizing to the other moms and dads in the waiting room.
If we had a video of some of her office visits we’d for sure have won money on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Little white lies now and then won’t harm your child if you’re using the lies for protection or security. Don’t rely on them too much and don’t be lazy using these lies as a crutch. Try reasoning with your child and being on the level with them and you might just be surprised.
What lies have you told your children? I want to hear all about it! Comment below.
This post literally made me laugh out loud! I never actually thought about how creepy the concept of Santa is and how strange of a transaction the Tooth Fairy makes! And the lies about leaving without you, it won’t hurt and we’re almost there… brilliant, brilliant lies!
Santa is basically a stalker in disguise.
It’s so funny all the lies that parents have come up with, mostly to get their kids to behave better! I’m not a parent but I can definitely imagine myself using a few of these, especially the early bedtime one!
The bedtime one is a classic go-to.
Haha, oh my goodness my husband, and I were just talking about what will happen when half the things we have told our girls come to light. Our 9 year old told our 6 year old that the tooth fairy was so fake. She even told her that she was pretty sure it was us putting the money out! Great post!
Thanks for the comment Stephanie. Don’t feel guilty. 🙂
I was definitely cracking up reading this post! I still remember when I found out that Santa wasn’t real. I had my suspicions and called my parents on it. They turned it into a great learning opportunity for me. I am the oldest of 3 children, so I started working as part of the ‘Santa team’. They allowed me to help them, which helped to stress the fun of giving during the holidays.
A friend of mine tried the ‘I’m leaving without you’ lie a few weeks ago at our house. Her son was ignoring here when the time came to head home. The problem? It backfired… She said it and he responded with ‘Okay, Bye’ and climbed onto the couch to snuggle my dog lol
Smart kid. 🙂
bedtime is pretty big indeed! As for batteries that’s a lie I told my nieces when I hosted them the last time (I ran out of batteries for your toy which is a lie because I have so many tech at hoe, i really can run a tiny next door shop in this terms). I think it’s great you can say it’s ok to lie here and there, there is no shame about it. I think it gives a lot to parents. I really want to become a parent in future and I am sure I will be on the same page with you
Every toy my girls got when they were young needed batteries. So annoying!
haha, some of these gave me a good chuckle! The ‘they don’t sell batteries anymore for that toy’ is genius. Tooth fairy recycling teeth was pretty funny (and smart!) too.
Love the way you handled the Santa situation – I’m sure your kids must have appreciated it.
I think on some level, I knew from a young age that Santa wasn’t real. I went to school a year earlier than many of my peers, so when they were 7, I was only 6. One day, a boy in my class told me that Santa wasn’t real. I went home to my mom and said: “Mommy, I know that he’s not real, but I still want to believe it. I’m not ready yet.” I think I “believed” for another 2-3 years after that.
My girls were scared presents would stop.
Ohhh, I am so glad I don’t have kids, because I would be using so many of these. My favorite response to the “are we there yet” question is always “5 more minutes.” Luckily my nephew usually had his head in a book when he asked this, so he never actually noticed. But yeah, I’ve totally used that one. Didn’t matter if we were 2 minutes away or 60 minutes away. 5 more minutes was the automatic answer for me. Now that I think about the whole Santa and tooth fairy ideas, they are seriously creepy. How was I never bothered by this as a child?! That’s what I am wondering now.
Haha these are such good lies… I mean such bad lies. The problem is, kids are smart (mostly). And when they figure out you’re lying, you’ve lost the upper hand, isn’t it?
Ooops i forgot to add a few more “fibs for their own good”
“Dont swallow your gum…you’ll blow bubbles out your rearend”
“Watermelon seeds…spit them out or you’ll grow one in your tummy…”
“Don’t keep making that face…or it’ll stay that was”
Coffee will stunt your growth