The Top 10 Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

by Samantha on March 25, 2013

stork and baby

All parents lie to their kids. It’s part and parcel of being a parent.

The reality of being called “mom” or “dad” means that you’re gonna have to bend the truth somewhat. And often. Sometimes the lie is to get your child to do something, like eat their dinner (yes - it’s magic broccoli!). Sometimes the lie is said to spare the child’s feelings (you are an amazing artist! I love your artwork!). Sometimes the reason behind the lie is a lot more self-serving. Take, for example, the usual reasons why parents lie about something like how long it takes to get somewhere (“Yes, we’re almost there!”) or how much things are going to hurt (“No, that needle won’t hurt that much at all!”). We do it to give ourselves some momentary time to experience peace and quiet, even if just for a very brief period of time. Because we all know, as parents, that these oases of peace are as fleeting as the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny.

The lies parents tell their kids range from the ridiculous to the sublime. These lies can range from a simple white lie to a real doozy. It’s all just a matter of scale. Whatever it takes, right?

I’ve written about the lies kids tell their parents before but not the other way around. Parents should definitely get an honorable mention for the creative truths that they come up with, all for the purposes of subduing, placating, or otherwise calming down their children.

To this end, here are The Top 10 Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

1) Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter bunny - Need I say more?

2) “We’re almost there!” - Uttered on a road trip when three kids are one by one melting down in the backseat after repeatedly asking “are we there yet?” and not getting a satisfactory response.

3) “I love it! It’s beautiful!” - And into the recycling bin it goes. Yes, we love our kids’ artwork but not every single piece. Like any artist, there are some good pieces and ones that are, well, not so good. Those ones are promptly disposed of, but not before a solid lie to the contrary is uttered.

4) “It won’t take long” - Uttered in the waiting room of the doctor/dentist/hospital emergency, usually during the time of a medical/dental crisis by your child - think broken leg or collarbone, loose teeth as the result of a playground accident or a high fever.

5) “No, it won’t hurt” - Think dentist, needles, doctors appointments and general medical procedures. Chances are it will hurt, at least a little. While we’re just delaying the inevitable - pain and tears - it’s worth it…isn’t it?

6)”It’s delicious!” - No, liver, Gorgonzola and brussels sprouts aren’t really what are considered delicious foods but for the sake of getting protein and nutrients into my kid, I will say that they are.

7) “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” - Often uttered before some type of discipline; grounding, taking away a privilege, etc. No, actually it’s going to hurt your kid more. Trust me on this.

8) “Looks don’t matter, it’s what’s on the inside that counts” - This may be a great philosophy to live by but unfortunately we live in a looks-obsessed culture where one’s appearance does matter, as evidenced by the very good-looking non-talents who are successfully navigating fame and fortune.

9)  The Cabbage Patch, The Stork and other creation myths - Yes, our penchant for not coming to terms with explaining “the birds and the bees” to our kids has borne (pun intended) a whole roster of creation myths intended for young imaginations. Too bad the fantasy doesn’t last forever and kids do finally figure out how things get done.

10) “You’re beautiful and unique” - Yes, you’re unique - just like everyone else ;) It’s a hard lesson to learn but someone had to tell you.

What are the worst lies that you’ve told to your kids? Answer in the comments below.

To listen to the podcast episode of this post, click here. You can also download or embed the podcast as well - get the link further down the page.

To read this article on Huffington Post, click here.

VIDEO: Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

tricia March 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

yes- I have to agree with you on all counts….I was having a tough time thinking up instances where I fibbed- but your post has reminded me that I only do all of these, that I do it so often that it’s become the norm- and therefore, un-recallable as an infrequent aberration. haha! Um. Thanks? :)


Samantha March 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Yes - you’re not alone in realizing that the constant bending of the truth becomes so normal that they’re not even seen as lies anymore! Scary, isn’t it?? ;)


Ida Mae West-Simone March 25, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Well, if I told you, then I’d have to…nothing. It’s all honesty over here. Fingers crossed. Uhh…I mean, pinky swear!
Ida Mae West-Simone recently posted..A camp is born: The humble beginnings of Well-Rounded Kids IncMy Profile


Samantha March 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Ida Mae - If you have managed to navigate parenthood using only honesty as your philosophy, I am impressed! And if not - welcome to the club. We all do it, after all ;)
Samantha recently posted..The Top 10 Lies Parents Tell Their KidsMy Profile


Ida Mae West-Simone March 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Thanks for the welcome - I’m definitely in the club! Best intentions fell apart a long time ago! ;)
Ida Mae West-Simone recently posted..A camp is born: The humble beginnings of Well-Rounded Kids IncMy Profile


Angelina July 26, 2013 at 6:58 am

It was when my kid was three and my father-in-law died. My son asked me, ” Where’s Grandpa?” I told him he went a trip around the world and it would be a very, very, very, very long time until he came back. That’s the worst lie I ever told my kid.


Samantha July 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm

A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, right Angelina? Your answer served a purpose at the time and probably answered your son’s question so it served its purpose, right? :)


crystal September 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I got 8-10 :( but my worst lie would be the dog ran away. We all know he’s not coming back.


Samantha September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm

That’s not that bad, all thing considered ;)


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