A Kid's Guide to Faking Sickness That Will Fool (Almost) Any Parent

My son has a case of IDWS (I Don Wanna-gota Skools). You know that illness that causes you to try any tactic to avoid the dreaded S-word?

Just today, he told me that he couldn't go to school because his stomach hurt ... and his leg ... and his elbow ... and he may have had a nasty hang nail .... REALLY? This is what you're going with? The old stomach/leg/elbow ache? Listen kiddo, I invented the 'sick' ploy and frankly, I expected more from you. So much more.

Look kids, don't act like you're disappointed too. I've got your number and I'm pretty sure my kid isn't the only one relying on such amateur techniques. Which is why I decided (as a seasoned pro) to give you youngsters some sound advice so you can stop embarrassing yourselves and make us proud.

These tips will help you gain your parent's sympathy and maybe even regain their respect. Good luck:


1. Complain about the appropriate body parts and stay focused. There is a general list of pains and woes we parents find acceptable to lend our sympathy to: stomachaches, headaches, sore throats, nausea. Pick one and don't stray. Don't lead in with a stomachache and think that adding a toothache, leg cramp, or shooting pain in the elbow is going to help your cause. That's an insult to our intelligence. Stay the course ... a thousand points of light ...

2. NEVER fake a cold. Moms can tell a real cough or stuffy nose from a fake one. Oh, we're that good, which is why the dry Sahara Desert cough is a dead giveaway that you can and should be going to school. And never blow your nose unless there's something in there. The faux nose blow is a one way ticket to the carpool lane. Remember this trusty phrase: "No phlegm or snot, home you will be not."

3. Don't oversell it. We don't have little gold statues to give out, though many a morning we wish we did. When you act so sick that you can't move, and then you fall to the floor from your bed as if you attempted to rise but just couldn't muster the energy, and then you lay on the floor like a sad sick seal moaning and only lifting your head, it takes everything in us not to fall to the ground laughing and later sign you up for Julliard.

4. Understand the concept of temperature. OK kiddos, you cannot have a 107.2 body temperature and have a conversation -- or a pulse for that matter. We get that holding a thermometer under hot water is like the kid equivalent of MacGyver using a toothpick and a piece of gum disarm a bomb, but understand the highest temperature does not win a prize -- just a funny Facebook status update.

5. Avoid immediate trips to urgent care. With #5 in mind here is a short list of complaints that will get you a trip to the doctor or ER without passing go (never say these things, unless they're true).

  • "I'm having trouble breathing."
  • "I can't swallow."
  • "I feel like something inside me exploded."
  • "My head is really itchy"
  • "It burns when I pee."

6. Avoid trips to a therapist's office. Getting too creative could send you straight to the shrink's cushy couch. Avoid fantastical verbage like: 

  • "My eyes feel wiggly"
  • "I think I have amnesia, who are you?"
  • "My toes are too cracky."
  • "My finger bends all the way back."
  • "I have an invisible rash."
  • "I'm seeing four of you and they're not all doing the same thing."

(PS: I've heard most of those, scary right?)

7. Be tired and sad. We already discussed overdoing it, but you should at least be sluggish. Don't let us catch you playing, running, wrestling with the dog, fighting with your sister, singing, or taking part in any merriment. Being sick or pretending to be sick is exhausting, you should be exhausted.

8. Never talk about school. When trying to avoid the S-word, don't discuss it in any way. Don't tell us you wish you could go, but alas you're so sick. Don't mention that you have a test or unfinished homework. Don't talk about an annoying enemy at the playground or even a tutor that will have to be cancelled due to your unfortunate absence. We will put two and two together. Yep, we don't even need a tutor to do that.

9. Always remember, we're not as stupid as you think we are. Though it's hard to imagine, we were kids once too and we tried every trick in the book ... twice.

Follow these simple rules and you'll be wrongfully staying home from school in no time. That's right, you can fool us or at the very least make us proud trying.

Does your kid ever feign illness?


Image via TheSuburbanJungle

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