Being a kid is all about make-believe. It’s also a quality that parents take full advantage of on a daily basis. Rather than dealing with telling the kids the truth, it’s often way easier to just lie. Often, these lies are told with the purpose of avoiding a meltdown and other times, it’s to avoid a thousand questions in response. But no matter the reason, there are universal lies we are all guilty of saying at some point or another.
“Researchers at MIT have found that children are not gullible and they can in fact sense when parents are lying to them, causing them to distrust the very people who are their caretakers. Children also know when parents are withholding information,” says Psychology Today.
As alarming of a fact as it is, it’s only once we become moms and dads ourselves that we truly understand why parents lie to their children. It’s not to be mean and it’s also not done in a malicious way. Instead, we lie to simplify our lives as parents.
Sometimes, we just want to hide out in the bathroom and eat that chocolate or candy we took out of their Halloween bag (and stashed away for ourselves.)
20 I Ate All Your Halloween Candy
Jimmy Kimmel is notorious for starting the “I told my kids I ate all their Halloween candy” trend and as unsavory as it might be to some people, it’s still a fact that lots of parents do this on the morning after Halloween every year! Some do it in the hopes their video goes viral but others, like Marcia, do it for a completely different reason.
“On the morning after Halloween, I explain to my kids that the candy fairy ate all their leftover chocolates and candy. Truth be told, I store it away to hand it out to them over the next couple of months. At least I try but then I forget and end up eating it all.”
19 Santa Is Watching
Up there with the trend of parents telling their kids they ate all their Halloween candy, there’s another major trend that follows soon after… the one of telling kids that the Elf on the Shelf is there to spy on them and make sure they’re being good. Aside from the issues relating to making kids feel constantly monitored, it’s still a prevalent lie told my parents across the world.
Some don’t necessarily use the Elf on the Shelf doll either, instead preferring to simply say that smoke detectors are Santa-Cams. But even parents who don’t do either one of these things are still guilty resorting to the trusty, “If you don’t behave, I’m going to tell Santa and you’ll get nothing but coal for Christmas!”
Hey, if it works, it works!
18 Turning On The Lights Is Against The Law
Travelling with kids is a challenge in of itself. Good thing we now have Pinterest for ideas on how to keep them occupied with a slew of activities and when those stop working, then it’s onto the tablet for some back-to-back episodes of their favorite cartoon.
However, even that fails at a certain point. It can even fail on the short ride back home from daycare or school! At a certain point, kids realize they can reach the light switch overhead and drive their parents mad turning it on and off, on and off etc.
To mitigate this, lots of parents resort to saying it’s illegal to turn on the light while driving. And although many still believe this little lie now that they’re parents, it’s not actually illegal! But what they don’t know can’t hurt them!
17 Just Eat It, It's Chicken
“What is it?” your four-year-old might ask as she crinkles her nose in disgust.
“It’s a really delicious beef bourguinon I just spent hours making… Ah never mind, it’s chicken, honey, just eat it!”
Falling back on calling something chicken is something we’re all guilty of doing at some point or another. Sometimes (okay, often) it’s just way easier to call something chicken than trying to explain exactly what it is, especially if you don’t actually have a backup plan as to what else to feed the kids if they happen to boycott the “faux chicken” meal. When you’re already at the end of your rope, the easiest road is sometimes the best.
16 Oh Honey, It's Amazing
As parents, we’re faced with this difficult situation on a near-daily basis… the one where our adorable kids come up to us with, let’s face it, incomprehensibly and unseemly drawing that makes your eyes bulge out of their sockets just a little while you try to put on your most amazed voice as you say, “Oh honey, it’s looks absolutely amazing!”
This one’s a tough one because on the one hand, you’re lying to them but on the other, you can’t exactly be honest and rip their work to shreds with your honest critique.
If you truly can’t muster something nice to say, then a good way to mitigate the situation is by pointing out some of the elements and asking them about it, “Ohh I like what you did with the blue here. How come you chose that color?”
15 If You Don't Brush Your Teeth, They'll Turn Black
For some, getting the kids to brush their teeth can turn into an everyday battle. As parents, we know the importance of this two-minute task but it’s one daily routine that many kids have difficulties with, especially if they feel forced. As a result, some parents come up with a couple of lies to convince their kids to brush their teeth.
Jenny confided in us the tactic she used with her now-five-year-old, “I told him that if he didn’t brush his teeth, they would turn black. I even showed him pictures of people with terrible teeth to convince him. He hasn’t missed a day since.”
14 If You Don't Eat All Your Veggies, You Won't Grow
With convincing kids to brush their teeth, there’s another big lie that all parents are guilty of… telling their kids that if they don’t eat all their vegetables (or all their dinner) they won’t grow.
This lie is such a Catch 22 though because on the one hand, you want them to eat all their food but on the other, you don’t actually want to make them have an unhealthy relationship with food. Sometimes, they just might not be too hungry or they might actually be in the middle of an aversion for a specific food. Does it mean they will always hate it? Not necessarily but this is still a lie we need to be careful with.
A better thing to say would be to reinforce how strong they’re getting as a result of eating all their veggies.
13 There's No More
We already covered the “I ate all your Halloween candy” topic but that’s just one day per year. There’s another lie that parents everywhere tell nearly every day: “There’s no more chocolate, candy, cookies…”
Or anything else that you deem unsuitable for the kid to be having at that given moment, especially if it’s right before dinner or bedtime.
This one’s tricky because we don’t actually want to be using it all the time or risk the kids not believing us anymore. Still, this one’s one of the more innocent lies, especially if it involves junk food. Sometimes, telling this lie can avoid many future problems.
12 It's Bedtime! (30 Minutes Before)
There’s a reason the “mommy time” memes and jokes are as big as they are on social media. Some nights, hours and minutes just seem to drag on. You might feel it’s finally 8pm, only to glance at the clock and see it’s still only 6:30pm. Ugh!
If the kids are being especially rowdy on a particular night, some parents resort to telling a little lie that works until the time that kids… learn to tell the time!
But until then, there’s no harm in saying it’s bedtime ahead of schedule. Well, that’s not entirely true. You might just be in for an earlier wake-up than usual. So pick your vice!
11 Watching Too Much TV Will Ruin Your Eyesight
I know, I know, we all grew up believing this one and now feel guilty letting our own kids watch too much TV. But turns out, it’s not as bad as we previously thought.
“Watching too much TV or sitting very close to it may make your eyes tired or give you a headache – particularly if you are watching TV in the dark – but won’t cause any serious permanent damage,” explains Rnib.org.uk.
This doesn’t mean you should give your kids free rein to watch as much they want though! But it does mean that the little lie you’re telling is an innocent one.
10 It's Participation That Counts
Lately, we have been hearing a lot of opposing opinions when it comes to the “It’s participation that counts” debate. There are many parents and schools who now hand out participation trophies and medals to kids even if they didn’t actually win the tournament.
The pro-participation award viewpoint is one that many agree with but the fact remains that there’s a lie we all tell as parents when our kids (sadly) lose: “Oh honey, at least you tried! That’s all that matters.”
Or any other lie along those lines meant to uplift our poor downtrodden children. Participation matters but we all know winning would be even better!
9 I'm Just Going To The Bathroom
Up there with “mommy time,” there’s another majorly popular source of humor on social media: going to the bathroom alone. Being able to go to the bathroom without the kids getting into an argument with each other or seeing little fingers under the door is certainly a real accomplishment.
With that being said, there’s a lie all parents tell at a certain point and it’s one dads are the ultimate kings of telling: “I’m just going to the bathroom.”
… When really it’s to scroll FB or Reddit for 20 minutes.
8 I Don't Know
“How do clouds float?”
“Why does dog #1 sniff dog #2’s behind?”
So many questions and not enough energy to answer all of them. All kids hit the point of asking tough questions but they also ask other questions on a daily basis that just makes it impossible to answer.
“What are we going to eat later?” your kid might ask when you literally haven’t even decided what they’re having for lunch yet. It’s impossible to constantly have an answer for everything and often, it’s merely easier to reply with the time-old: “I don’t know, honey.” It’s even better when followed with a suggestion to go ask the other parent. Score!
“Okay, mommy is leaving, byeeeeeee!”
There’s not a single parent out there who isn’t guilty of resorting to the bye tactic in an effort to get their kids to comply with leaving the store or anywhere else they may be.
Sometimes, kids just don’t want to leave and as annoying as it is, it’s even more annoying to try to grab them and carry them out screaming and crying. At least with screaming out “bye,” you give them the choice of either following of their own free will or risk being left alone. We all enjoy feeling we have control over our lives, so this one does work even though it comes with a few tears… until the kid learns it’s nothing but a white lie that is.
6 That Show Is Broken
Countless comments online can be found from mommies and daddies at the end of their rope with Caillou or any other show that their kids become obsessed with. It’s all fine and dandy to hear “No job is too big, no pup is too small!” or the My Little Pony soundtrack but it gets old fast when it’s on repeat all day long every single day. So what is a parent to do?
“When my three-year-old became obsessed with Caillou, I told him it was broken and it didn’t work anymore. I just couldn’t stand listening to another minute of it! Fortunately he got over it but then I had to do the same with Paw Patrol,” told us Layne.
5 When You Lie, There's A Red Dot That Appears
Why do kids lie? As innocent as it may be sometimes, it can all be incredibly hard to deal with. And for many parents, the solution is simple. Veronica told us her strategy:
“When my child turned four, it’s like a switch went off and he wouldn’t stop lying about everything. None of his stories made any sense and he would lie about simple things like what he just ate five minutes ago, even if he had eaten all his veggies and he knew we were happy about that. So I started telling him that every time he lied, a red dot appeared on his forehead. It worked and he stopped lying as much.”
4 It's Spicy
It happens to the best of us. Glancing over, we see the kids are deeply entrenched in the cartoon they’re watching. So we super quietly open the drawer with all the sweets, somehow manage to open that chocolate bar without so much as a crinkle and as we break off a piece, the little ones’ ears perk up. Darn!
And then there they are, quick as lightning, whereas before they couldn’t have cared less what you were doing. Rather than saying “no,” which can elicit a meltdown, it’s way easier to just say “It’s spicy.” Even if they don’t truly believe you, they still won’t be that tempted to actually try it for themselves.
3 If You Number 1 In The Pool, It'll Turn Red
Ah summer, what we wouldn’t give for it to be warm all the time. But with summer, also comes the challenge of going swimming with the kids. At some point or another, all kids learn they can inconspicuously pee in the pool without anyone noticing… except it can be noticeable in some cases.
To prevent such incidences, some parents resort to telling their kids that if they "go" in the pool, a special dye will turn the pool red. While there’s probably a brilliant person somewhere who has devised a special dye for this sole purpose, for the time being, it's not the case everywhere.
2 Your Face Will Stay That Way
Kids love to make faces; it’s just what they do. But what do you do when your kid won’t stop crossing his eyes or sticking out his tongue at strangers?
“If you keep doing that, your face will stay frozen that way forever!”
It’s a lie and also one that parents all fall back on at some point or another. After a day of telling the kids what to do and what to do, it’s just so much easier to try to fake them out. Obviously, we’re not talking about anything major but hey, if it works, it works!
1 The Dog Ran Away (Or Went To Live On A Farm)
Ahh, this one’s a tough one. Especially if you already had a pet when you first started having kids and now that the kids are just a little older, so is the pet, nearing the time they might pass.
Dealing with telling the kids what happened to the pet is never an easy situation. Even if you’re very transparent with them and tell them what happened, they might still ask you tough questions every single day afterwards that leave you feeling emotional.
Instead, many parents simply resort to saying the pet either ran away or went to live on a farm. It’s a lie but one that the kids will at least better understand a little later.
Reference: Psychology Today