15 Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

15 Lies Parents Tell Their Kids
Image: Twenty20

15 Lies Parents Tell Their Kids
Twenty20

We may teach our kids to tell the truth, but let's be real, we've been lying to our little ones since the day they were born. Whether we're blurring reality about adult activities like s-e-x, having a few cocktails with our girlfriends ("it's mommy juice, definitely not for kids, OK?") or spinning magical tales about supernatural beings from Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy and beyond, we're definitely not practicing what we preach. So here are our top 15 favorite lies parents tell their kids. Some of them are extremely relatable -- we're pretty sure that anyone who claims not to have lied to their kids through their teeth with a variation on No. 3 is lying to themselves -- while others are less common but hilarious (and some of them are lies our own parents told us, which we totally fell for). We don't think parents should feel bad about these lies! 


Almost all of them are simply for the kids' own good, and those that aren't are for the parents' own sanity, which is ... equally important, to be honest. This story is for anyone out there who's gotten shamed in their mommy group for telling their kid a little white lie -- nobody is alone in lying to their kids. To prove it: here are 7 Lies I Tell My Daughter, which is a funny list of lies told by the author to her kid. Or check out lies all moms tell their kids, which is frankly just a guide to lying to children, which every parent and teacher has to do from time to time. See? Nobody's alone in this at all. The most time-honored and beloved lie of all, however, must be Santa, and we love the decision to dupe children with him. Of course, we're not always thrilled about all lies -- for anyone who's almost had the wool pulled over their eyes by their own kids, check out some hilariously impressive lies our children told us.

  • 'That Sounds Great!'

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    As parents, we want to encourage our children's passions and hobbies, whether or not they're "good" at them. So, while our kids bang on their drums, sing their hearts out, or screech away on the violin, we're going to tell them they're amazing at it, even if that's not quite the truth.

  • 'There's Such a Thing As Santa'

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    Not only do many of us teach our kids about a snowy-haired home intruder who flies around the world in one night, delivering gifts on Christmas morning to every good girl and boy, we also tell them there's an Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, leprechauns, and a diapered love-god who shoots romantic arrows. No matter how innocent or fun the stories are, they're often our kids' first introduction into parental dishonesty.

  • 'Eating Veggies Turns People Into Superheroes'

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    We all want our kids to get their daily servings of fruits and veggies, but sometimes it takes a little fibbing to get our little ones on board. Enter the favorite parent lie (likely inspired by Popeye) where we promise our kids that healthy foods are actually magical and can give them super strength. Whatever it takes to get the broccoli down, right?

  • 'I Love Those Mud Cookies!'

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    Kids are so sweet and want nothing more than to make us smile -- like creating their own special recipe for a dish they're sure we'll love. Sadly, our little gourmands in the making don't necessarily have the skills in the kitchen to make their food creations actually taste good. Who cares! Eat it anyway ... and tell them it was good. Not only is it a funny story to tell them when they're older, but it's a wonderful way to give them affirmation.

  • 'Going Outside With Wet Hair Will Make Us Sick'

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    An old tale that persists without any scientific evidence to back it up is that going outdoors with wet hair can cause our little ones to catch a cold. The truth is, wet hair isn't a disease magnet. Bacteria and viruses (often spread by unwashed hands and liberal sharing of snacks and toys), however, are. But it's also OK to want kids to leave the house looking a little put-together. 

  • 'That Finger Will Get Stuck Up Your Nose!'

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    Because boogers are gross, it's no secret moms and dads are willing to lie their pants off to get their kids to stop picking their noses. Telling kids their fingers will get stuck, unfortunately, often doesn't do much to prevent curious kids from trying (and triggering their parents' gag reflex).

  • 'Make That Face & It Will Freeze That Way'

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    Like picking their noses and risking their fingers getting stuck, the lie that making ugly faces will make kids look that way forever is as ineffective as they come. Kids take these warnings like personal dares. What kid wouldn't want to have their face in a permanent (and hilarious) snark? Sorry, parents, but this lie only increases the likelihood that a child will make a funny face.

  • 'Swallowed Seeds Can Grow in the Stomach'

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    While it's totally not true that an apple tree or watermelon vine will grow in our children's tummies if they swallow the seeds, this lie is born from an actual concern. Some seeds (like apples and peaches) are toxic and not safe for kids or adults to eat. Because kids don't tend to understand that, a little creative fibbing from parents can help to keep them safe.

  • 'Gum Can Stay in a Stomach for Years'

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    Nope, no, it doesn't. Gum, like every other food we swallow, is broken down by our guts and passed along through the intestines until it makes its eventual exit. What is true is that we don't typically digest gum the same way we do other foods because it's not a nutrient-rich food. The only time swallowing gum is a concern is if someone ingests a seriously large amount at once, which could (although it's rare) cause a blockage in the intestine.

  • 'Sitting Too Close to the TV Can Make Someone Go Blind'

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    This lie is almost a family tradition. Since the dawn of home televisions, parents have been yelling at their kids to back up and give the screen a little space. Fear of overworking their kids' delicate eyes is the likely motivator, but totally not true. In fact, ophthalmologists have found that kids are actually better able to focus when they're up close, which is the exact opposite for adults.

  • 'Bedtime Is Important to Keep Us Happy & Healthy'

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    Yes, having a set (early) bedtime for kids is widely considered good for our kids, but let's be real, parents, that's not the only reason our little ones have to hit the hay at 8 p.m. sharp. The truth is, bedtime is just as important for our parental sanity as it is for our kids' health and temperament. Researchers have even found that moms whose children have early bedtimes have better overall mental health.

  • 'What a Beautiful Painting!'

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    Maybe there are 40 of them just like it, hung up on the fridge and in the bathroom and all over the family room ... and maybe they're not especially beautiful, just increasingly muddy-colored pictures, but who cares. 

  • 'Mommy & Daddy Have to Take a Special Nap Now'

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    We've all done it. Maybe we're not exactly tired, but it's OK to want to have some important intimacy time with our partners -- and yes, it's OK to want to get away from the kids for a little bit, too. They'll be just fine in the other room.

  • 'Be Good or [Insert Fairy Tale Consequences Here]'

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    Whether we tell them that Santa will know, disapprove, and bring them lumps of coal instead of presents or that a swamp monster will come and eat them, these are the lies parents have been telling their kids for generations. 

  • 'That Sign Says the Store Is Closed'

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    Maybe it's not ethical, but before kids can read, we can convince them that the sign on their favorite candy store actually means it's closed, not open ... yes, it may be wrong, but think of how much more broccoli they can eat -- ultimately, it's better for everyone. 

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