The lies we tell our kids

Well, it's just easier isn't it.

Since having my daughter I have become something I never thought I would – a proficient liar. So easily do these little white lies slip off my tongue that I’m afraid I’m not going to know when to stop.

I suspect I’m not the only parent who lies… Lying is a necessary evil. Sometimes, I like to think of it as ‘the creative truth’. I’m sure I’m going to get a barrage of negative feedback but first hear me out, because what I end up lying about is pretty silly really.

Like the time I told my daughter that all the sweets, chocolates and lollies at the checkout aisle were “yucky and makes our tummy hurt”. How smugly I smiled the next time we were at the supermarket and she pointed at them and said, “yucky”.

When I’m trying to get her to sit further away from the giant TV screen that dominates our lounge I tell her, “Your eyes will go square”, and she shuffles her bum back. She hasn’t yet thought to question this.

I tell her that blueberries and strawberries are “nature’s lollies and a treat” – I’ve discovered that it’s not what’s on the plate but how I describe it that gets her wanting it. She also loves olives and cheese platters, but that might be more about being ‘with the girlfriends’.

There have also been times when my lies have completely backfired. Coco went through a stage where she wouldn’t get out of the bath. After a few times of this, I pulled the plug and said, “don’t go down the drain!”, to which she SCREAMED and leapt out.

After that she refused to get into the bath for days, like actually nearly two weeks. I was wracked with guilt. In the end we LIED and told her we had got rid of the drain…

I tell her I don’t have any money on me when she asks for another ride in another freakin’ car in the mall. I’ve told her that the ice cream shop has run out and we’ll have to go back another day. I might say things are broken or closed if I’m trying to avoid doing something she is insisting on.

Tonight, when she wouldn’t eat her dinner, I told her that her favourite friends Mia and Taylor were having exactly the same dinner at their house and they were eating it all up. She sat down and started to eat.

Of course what I don’t lie to her about is how much I love her, how clever she is, how smart, how cute, how funny. She’s so freaking clever, this kid, that one day she is going to see right through my little white lies and I’m going to be completely and utterly screwed.

Words Tamsin Marshall

This week British broadcaster Dan Walker tweeted out a call for other parents to share the best lies they’ve told their kids, and the results are hysterical. Some examples:

  • My son and I spent 10 minutes looking for his chocolate coins when I knew all along I’d eaten them the day before.

  • When the ice cream van plays music it’s to let everyone know they’ve run out.

  • Daddy cannot hear when it’s dark. Call Mummy if you wake up at night.

  • It’s “your socks are on fire” by Kings of Leon.

  • Your ears turn red when you lie. Now when they lie they cover their ears.

  • A helicopter used to pass over our house at 6pm daily. I said they were checking to make sure kids were eating ALL their dinner nicely.

  • One daughter only liked chicken. Every meal was “chicken”

  • Tooth fairy only interested in clean well looked after teeth

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