Telling a little white lie to your child every now and then is certainly not a bad thing. In some cases, namely that of Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, bending the truth can inspire a sense of wonder in a kid's mind – and keep them on their best behaviour if they know presents under the tree are at stake. Other times, fibbing is simply the only way to get stubborn, critical young minds to move in the right direction.
Using “alternative facts” as a parenting device, however, can occasionally misfire. If your young detective catches you in a lie, you're in hot water. “Kids globalize and say, ‘My parent is a liar. Are they also lying about loving me?’” Canadian parenting expert Alyson Schafer told The Washington Post in 2015. On the importance of owning up to it, and making up for it, though, she added that “making a mistake gracefully is a really important parenting skill.”
In other words, as long as you make sure to backtrack and let them know that eating watermelon seeds won't actually turn them into a watermelon before they make it to high school, you're in the clear. A heartfelt apology and an ice cream cone also never hurt anyone.
Check out some of the funniest and most clever lies people have told their kids below, and if you still need more inspiration, you can find our previous post on this here. Also, don't forget to add yours to the list!
“I've always been pretty fascinated with space. When I was a little girl, my dad would take his ladder and put it on our lawn every night, and bring my outside to tell me he put the moon up for me. I believed him for years. He passed away a few years ago,and every night when I see the moon I think of him.”
My mom brainwashed me as a kid. She put all of the candy out in the open and told me I could eat it whenever I wanted, but she'd hide the vegetables and tell me I could only eat them as a special treat at dinner. It worked. When I was six, I asked if I could have a bowl of Brussels sprouts for my birthday instead of a cake.
I was told that every person gets 10,000 words per month. If you reach the limit, you can't physically speak until the new month begins. Anytime I was especially talkative, Dad would say, “Careful now, I have to think you are up over 9,000 by now.” That would shut me right up.
My dad said if I could look after a special growing rock, and watered it each day until it stopped growing I could get a dog. I'd water it and every week, while I was at school he'd replace it with a slightly bigger rock.
Parents used to tell my only brother and I that we used to have another brother who turned into a mushroom from not taking a bath. Even added him to the family albums.
We got our daughter to eat fish by calling it “Argentinian Chicken”. That worked for a long time until grandma came along and f*cked it up.
“If the ice cream truck is playing music it means they have run out of ice cream.”
My grandma told us that smelling each others farts would make us stronger. Worst Christmas ever for us, funniest Christmas for her.
My mother told me that spinach would make me strong like popeye and if i ate it i could lift the house. I would have a few spoonfulls and then she'd rush outside with me and i'd try and lift the house, squeezing my eyes shut with the effort. She'd go “It moved! It moved! Quick, eat some more!” and i'd run back inside and finish it off.
When I was little my Dad told me that toys grew under the weeds in the yard and if I pulled them, eventually a toy would pop out. And I believed it for a long time.
My mother was a genius: She told us that brown M&M'S were only for adults, so whenever we encountered a brown M&M we would give it to her.
When I was a kid I was really interested in dinosaurs, but also afraid of them. I would have trouble going to sleep because I was worried that one might just appear and eat me, even though I knew about extinction.
My mom convinced me that the asteroid theory had been questioned, and the next likely theory was that there had been an explosion of liquid vanilla that killed them all off. She proceeded to fill a spray bottle with vanilla extract and put it in my room, and taught me to spray it in each of the corners of my room before I went to bed, saying: North, South, East, and West, dinosaurs, take a rest!
I believed that this was the only thing keeping me safe for quite a while.
The funniest one I heard was a father who was asked about coconuts in a store by his son. He said:
“Don't go near those son…those are bear eggs…”
My grandpa told me, when driving on the highway, that the fastest way to count all of the cows in a field is to count all the legs, and then divide by 4. It took me many, many years to figure out that my grandpa was a huge troll.
“The door is locked because mommy was helping daddy hang a picture behind the door and we didn't want you to open it and hit us.” God damn how many times you guys are hanging pictures behind the door at night.
My dad told me if I ate my spinach if get hair on my chest like Popeye. So here I was a small girl wolfing down my spinach hoping I'd get hair on my chest, when I got older and realized I wasn't supposed to get hair on my chest my dad laughed at me.
Babies were bought from the hospital. Women had to get really fat to prove that they could afford eating well, and therefore, afford having a baby.
My dad, a 2-3 pot a day coffee drinker , had me convinced at age 7 that you had to be 16 to buy and drink coffee. My first time at Starbucks when I was 16 I was so nervous because I thought they would card me! Lol
When she was small, I told my daughter that when she lied a red spot would appear on the middle of her forehead. I knew for sure it worked when she did indeed lie and then her hand went up to cover her forehead.
They don't sell replacement batteries for that toy.
My dad always told me, that if I press a certain button on our remote control our tv would explode. As I grew older, I was curious and pressed said button only to see he saved porn channels on this one
One time when we were visiting relatives in the UK, I was playing outside and a bee got near me and I freaked out. Mom off-handedly said, ‘It's OK, honey, British bees don't sting' to get me to calm down. Fast-forward ten years, when as a teenager I repeated that fact within earshot of my mom, and she said ‘Who told you such a stupid thing?' You did, Mother. You did.
“We have to leave the zoo now. The zookeeper called my cellphone and your crying is upsetting the animals.”
My father always said the animals on the side of the road were just taking a nap since the road was warm.
“We aren't French so you can't eat French fries from McDonalds.”
My dad used to tell us that if we lay perfectly still in the backyard for long enough then vultures would circle us and then land to try and eat us. My brother and I would lay silently in the backyard for hours while my dad sat inside watching TV and drinking beer. Well played dad….well played.
If I eat my green beans then I will turn into the Green PowerRanger when I am older. THAT NEVER HAPPENED MOM!
My dad said Pulp Fiction was a documentary about oranges so that I wouldn't want to watch it.
My dad would never tell us what he really did for a living. Hed always say ‘I used to paint the spots on dalmatian dogs, but I got really good and now I paint the spots on ladybirds. I believed him for a good couple of years.
Story time: In kindergarten a girl told me what sex was. She told me incorrectly so I had a bunch of questions. I walked up to my mom and said “mom, I know what sex is.” she sort of panicked and said “ok” I responded “I just dont understand how you know when you are done?” (I am a girl and didnt understand the concept of ejaculation) so my mom looked me straight in the face and said “You set a kitchen timer.”
and. she. never. f*cking. told. me. the. truth.
I found out in high school.
My mom told my brother and I that a penguin lived behind the fridge, and if we left the door open too long we'd steal his cold and he'd get mad and come out and bite us. It worked on my brother. I asked my mom to move the fridge so I could pet the penguin.
The car wont start if your seat belt isnt on.
I refused to eat eggs when I was younger. The only way my mum could get me to eat them would be to draw green and purple spots on them and tell me they were dinosaur eggs. Apparently I thought dinosaur eggs were delicious.
“If you pee in the pool, you'll get the girls pregnant and have to get a job.”
That if I misbehaved in the car, the car would be sad (I think I was 5 or something). Fast forward a year and I'm tearfully telling the car that I'm sorry he has to go, but I'm sure he'll be a cool plane in his next life.
“I want to carry you but the doctor said your legs would stop growing if you didn't walk.”
As a child, I used to have the worst luck. whenever my sister and I would have froot loops, she only got a couple brown ones, and almost my whole bowl was brown froot loops!
the first time I poured my own froot loops, I actually considered that god might be real, and that he might be trying to reward me for something. I didn't get a single brown froot loop!
when I told my mom, she admitted there was no such thing as brown froot loops and that she had been giving me bowls of cheerios because I'm diabetic.
I was made to believe that the city of Amsterdam was actually called Hamster Jam.
I told both of my kids that the ice cream truck was the “music truck.” It's purpose was to drive around and cheer up all the sad people.
A trick my mom used to get us out of her hair was “You can catch a bird by putting salt on its tail”. I'd spend hours running around the yard with a salt shaker, looking like a damn fool. I tried this trick on my son and he just looked at me like I was nuts
My kids are convinced that they have a long lost brother somewhere that I dropped off because he was too loud in the car. I am sure they will figure it out but for the time being our road trips are very quiet and peaceful.
My mother told me that our house wasnt haunted because ghosts were too expensive and we couldnt afford them.
When I was about six, I was obsessed with the song “Believe” by Cher and I would have it on repeat for hours at a time. We would drive nine hours from Washington to Idaho to visit family and as soon as we crossed the state line my mother would immediately change my CD to radio and tell me it was illegal to listen to anything but country music in Idaho which I hated but she loved. I believed that shit until I was about 13.
The rumble strips on the highway are for the blind drivers. Took me seven years to realize. Well played, Dad.
When they want something that is beyond reason, I tell them they can have it if they kiss their elbow.
My 9 and 7-year-old daughters are over it but my 5-year-old son still tries like his life depends on it.
I told my kids that if they didn't behave while waiting in the drive-thru line, they'd get a Sad Meal.
A friend allows her little kids to watch 1 hour of TV a day. Where their hour is up, she turns off the TV's power bar without them noticing and tells them “the TV's empty” which they believe because the remote no longer works.
I was told that the reason why I had so many nose bleeds was because I had too much blood in my body. I found out that this wasn't the case when I was 18 years old and had a nose bleed at a friend's house. My friend's mother asked me if I was OK and I told her I was fine and that I just has too much blood in my body. She couldn't stop howling with laughter.
My dad used to tell me that Santa was tired of cookies and milk and that he wanted Doritos and beer. That went on for years.
My mom had me believe that she was 21 for the longest time, so when I was around 10 I asked ‘when are you going to turn 22?'
When I was younger I drew a picture of an alien and I gave him a butt. I showed it to my dad and he told me drawing butts was illegal, so I quickly changed it. I remember reading Captain Underpants and being so confused how the author got it past the government.
I'm Chinese. My mom told me that for every grain of rice I waste would indicate the number of “dents” on my face when I grow up.
From then on, even when I dropped a grain of rice on the floor, I would eat it. Never wasted a grain of rice ever again.
My mom told my sister that they only named hurricanes after girls otherwise they would be himicanes.
My flatmate grew up on a farm and was told by her parents that their TV only worked when it rained. She believed this for far, far too long.
I dated a dude once who didn't find out until he was a teenager that you can actually eat more than one marshmallow a day. His parents told him that if you ate more than one they would expand in your stomach and kill you. I think he ate a lot of marshmallows after that.
My parents told us that on Christmas morning, if we looked or touched our presents before 7am then magic would make them disappear and we wouldn't get them. I believed this for far too long and even after I knew, I was still nervous to touch them incase they disappeared.
When I was little, my FAVOURITE restaurant was this one diner. My grandmother was coming into town, so naturally I wanted to take her to the diner. I asked my dad if we could go and he said that old people weren't allowed there. Obviously I found this totally offensive so I decided to boycott the place and never went back!
I was once asked why a tree on my street was painted white. My dad said, “The government does that to show kids how far they can walk down the street without a parent.”
When I was a kid, I asked my father what it means if your 2nd toe is longer than your big toe. His answer: “It means that your great grandmother was a woman.” I was satisfied with that answer at the time, but realized it was bullshit long before I became a doctor.
My mother had me convinced that you had to say “open door” in order for automatic doors to open. I didn't think I realized that they opened automatically until I was like, eight.
“When you lie, your ears turn red.” I covered my ears every time I lied.
Grandpa told me that there's a tube connecting my bellybutton to my butt, and that if I unscrew my bellybutton my butt will fall off.
If I didn't sit still during a haircut, the barber would cut my ear off. The worst part was that the barber would play along.
My mother told me that my lips would turn purple if I kissed a boy. When I was in highschool I had kissed a boy at a football game and asked my friend for lipgloss to cover up the purple on my lips. She just laughed at me and I felt very embarrassed.
I told to my 3yr old nephew that my sister's name is Potato. It's was 10 years ago, he still calling her that at every familly gathering.
“If you don't read at least one book a week your brain will stop growing.”
“Don't touch that. It'll turn into spiders.”
My dad told me that I could not get a sundae because they were only sold on Sundays.
My mother told me that the thunder was God rearranging His furniture.
Whenever my mom would fart she would blame it on the ants in the house AND I BELIEVED HER.
“The candy next to the checkout line are not for sale.”
My mom's friend got tired of her kids eating her scallops when they went to restaurants, so she told them that scallops are dolphin balls.
My dad told me that the reason old TV shows and movies were in black and white was because there was no colour in the world at the time. He said colour was invented part way through filming The Wizard Of Oz which is why it starts in black and white and then switches to colour.
My ex's mother told her kids that they had to make sure they watched her (the mom) at all times to make she didn't get kidnapped.
Neither of her kids ever got lost or wandered away.
My mum tells my sister the Internet lady turns the Internet off at 6 pm every night.
My mother once told me not to swallow apple seeds because a tree would grow in my stomach. I actually believed her for a while.
My co-worker told her son, who is afraid of clowns, that ice cream trucks were driven by clowns. He heard that music and sprinted to his room. Evil genius of a parent.
The cashier forgot to put your candy in the bag! Time after time…ugh.
Grew up in west Texas in the middle of no where with no street lights so my curfew was when it got dark. If I wasn't home before it was dark to eat dinner and get ready for bed, my mother would shout “You better get in here before the chupacabra gets you.” And I would proceed to break world records running and riding my bike home and I would then “play it cool” when she saw me just briskly walking in the house. She even had me believing the sounds of cicadas was the chupacabra.
Every time we went to the zoo my father would bring me to the monkeys' cage and tell I was adopted and they are my real parents. He didn't do it because I misbehaved or anything, he just liked messing with me.
When I was little, my mom told me Saltine crackers were called cookies. I loved cookies and legitimately thought they were Saltine crackers for longer than I am willing to admit on the internet. One day I had a real cookie at a friend's house and knew instantly I had been hoodwinked! Luckily, my mom made delicious chocolate chip cookies to make up for the deception.
Remember back in the '90s when the Gap had mannequins with no faces? Well, my parents used to tell my sister and I that if we misbehaved in the mall we would end up as one of the Gap kids with no faces.
My mom told my younger siblings that when they tell a lie, they would grow “lie bumps” on their tongue. For years, any time she suspected they were lying, she just had to say “Let me see your tongue.” Made it much easier to solve arguments where they both blamed each other.
Living on the West Coast, my friend would show the East Coast feed of the NYE count down to her kiddos. They were always in bed by nine. Brilliant.
My dad convinced me that our last name literally translated to ‘of Caesar' and that we were direct descendant of the rulers of Rome. I felt like a badass until I started taking Latin classes in middle school.
My friend's dad when he was little: “Hey buddy, have you been pushing your nipples in every night?”
“You haven't been pushing them in?”
“Why would I need to?!”
“You know how mommy looks different? She has boobs, right?”
“And men don't. Because we push our nipples in at night. But you haven't been”
Commence panic that lasts for several months…
Santa had birds that watched me 365 days a year, and every child starts with 365 presents and every time you're bad his elves throw a present in the fire….
Now I was bad but not 358 presents worth of bad.
“If you just tell the truth, you won't get in trouble.”
As a kid my dad convinced me there was a species of mountain goat that had evolved with longer legs on one side so it could balance on steep slopes… I was a dumbass as a kid…
If you don't learn how to read, your voice disappears. This one worked surprisingly well, because my son came down with strep and it freaked him the f*ck out.
My Dad told me when I was really little that graveyards were just people farms
I was told that if a centipede counted my teeth I would die. To this day, I close my mouth when I see a centipede. I'm over 40 years old.
“If you don't behave the pilot will turn the plane around!”
I told him all kid shows go to sleep at 8 just like him, and we have a timer set at 8 to turn the TV off automatically
“If you don't wipe your butt properly, it'll close up and you'll have to spit out your poop.”
“If you don't wash your hands before you eat, your food will start to taste like poop.”
That Santa uses Christmas trees as spy beacons to make sure children aren't being naughty.
my mother told me i have to drink my milk everyday so i would get nice boobs….i have a D now!!
i tell my daughter she had to eat her broccoli for princess hair, carrots for my little pony eyes. she does not need big boobs i think….they just get in the way…thanks mom!
When I was a child, a little after the fall of the Berlin wall, I was very confused about why some people still called Santa Claus with his russian name – Father Frost or (Ded Moroz). My grandma told me Santa Clause brings presents to the children and Ded Moroz brings the cold from Russia. I didn't believe her and become fascinated on why it used to be forbidden to say Santa Clause. I am a historian now..:)
My dad told me oil stains on the street were little kids that got run over because they didn't hold anyone's hand while crossing the street.
My mom used to tell me that 7-Eleven wasn't open until 11am.
Missed out on many a' slurpee.
My kids have no concept of what coal is, so telling them Santa would leave it in their stocking was more work than it was worth. Instead I told them if they were naughty, Santa would let the reindeer poop in there.
My father told me (and my Catholic cousin) that Easter was the day that Jesus rolled back the rock, and if he saw his shadow we'd have six more weeks of winter. My aunt was beyond pissed when my cousin broke that out at her first communion.
As a kid I put a tooth in a plastic bag and slid it under my pillow for the tooth fairy. When my parents forgot to put money under my pillow, my dad said, ‘You shouldn't have put the tooth in a bag. The tooth fairy couldn't smell it.
“The brown cows weren't working today so we only have white milk.”
“Your baby toe is the smallest because it was born last.”
My dad would tell me that I had a brother named Steve who misbehaved all the time so one day, the raccoon clan came and took him away. He spent so much time with them that he became a raccoon. I told all my friends and teachers about this until in fourth grade, it hit me.
My aunt told my little cousin that after Halloween he would have to leave his bag of candy on the porch for some “Halloween spirit” to take.
She… or the spirit, would leave a gift in the mourning. So my cousin basically collected the neighbors candy to barter for some gift.
My dad convinced me it was illegal to play with a toy or game if you were not in the recommended age groups. For example, if it said, ‘for ages seven and up' and I was six, then it was illegal for me to play with it.
My father told me that pears were apples from outer space.
My friend's parents told him there was a big beautiful fish that lived behind the bathroom mirror, and if he used too much water, it would die.
I convinced my son that I had eyes in the back of my head so I could we him and his brother misbehaving in the back seat while I was driving, a week later he wanted to comb my hair while sitting on the back of my chair, he took a really long time so I asked why, he said he was trying to see my eyes in the back of my head, I said I'm keeping them closed so you don't scratch them with the brush! He believed this for a couple of years then figured out I could see him in the rearview mirror!
When my ex-girlfriend was a kid, she had misbehaved and her dad told her he was, “only going to buy her one boob when she grew up.”
“If you eat after 8pm you turn into a gremlin and the only way to stop the process of changing into one is to eat a vegetable.”
“I believed that it was illegal to have the lights on in a moving car.”
When we go on a road trip I'm going to tell my kids, “If you go to sleep, we'll take the shortcut.”
When I was little my mom told me that boogers were tiny pieces of my brain and I would get more and more dumb each time I picked them.
i forgot one…
you have to eat your dinner with fork and knife . (knife on the right)…so you can join our King (The Netherlands) for dinner one day and dont look stupid
When I was a kid I was super sure that cats are the women of dogs…
When my son feels there was horrible unjustice done to him, and cry, because a catroon was too short, there wasnt something in the store he “needed” or just because the change of summer -winter time, I tell him I will write very angry complain to ministry of cartoons, time or whatever is needed, to let them know we can't accept such awfull conditions they put u