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I still clearly recall the day I learned my mother’s true age and wow, was she unhappy about that! I was 6 years old when the census taker came to the door and he asked my 29 year old mother, among other questions, for her birth year. After her reply, I used my newly acquired math skills and blurted out “Hey, you’re not 29 … you’re 42!” I can tell you it didn’t pay to be a smart kid that day.
So why do we lie to our kids? Don’t we tell them that lying is bad? In my experience, most lies to children are white lies, or lies for the greater good meant to protect them from some knowledge that might hurt them. I bet we’ve all told a few of these untruths…
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Of Course That’s Your Hamster!
When Mr. Fuzzy is found paws up in his cage one morning, the first thing you do is search every pet store in town for a doppelganger and quietly replace the late pet. Then you lie like Pinocchio when your child notices something isn’t quite right.
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Nope, No Onions in There
You know that he will eat just about anything as long as he knows none of those certain dreaded ingredients are in there. Just don’t tell him, or let him see you add them. Hide any tell tale packages. And if he asks? Lie.
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That Spider Is More Afraid of Us Than We Are of It
Oh yeah, right! Even if you want to scream and break out into an arm-waving freak out dance, you will calmly tell your little girl that there’s nothing to fear in hopes that she might avoid inheriting your arachnophobic tendencies.
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I Like Uncle Fred Very Much
No, you don’t. In fact, you can hardly stand your burping, swearing, beer loving brother-in-law, but you keep it nice for the kids. And the Oscar for best actress goes to…
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I Have No Idea Where Your Batman Shoes Could Be
Well, you are sort of being truthful. After all, they could have gone anywhere after you donated them to the Goodwill last week. They were ratty, too small and your child hadn’t worn them in 6 months, but now he wants them. “Keep looking, buddy.”
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Santa Claus Is Real!
This one is probably one of the most common and almost expected lies told by parents. Tales of the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are pretty much forgivable too. To this day, I cannot un-tell those lies to my now twenty-something kids — in fact I am nearly squirming as I type the words. So as far as my kids are concerned, Santa Claus still exists.
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This Won’t Hurt a Bit
Needles, dental work, tonsillectomies, and removal of slivers – we need to downplay the potential for pain to our children. We all do it. This works the first time but after that they get wise. After the lying ceases to work, bribery often becomes your next tool.
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I’m Calling Santa Claus Right Now!
See now, you can’t tell this lie unless you have already told the children that Santa Claus exists. You might say that it’s a lie that makes use of a previous lie. Oh, what a tangled web we weave!
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Look, I Bought Your Favorite Pogos
I don’t even like the smell of these corn-battered hot dogs on sticks, and I sure hate paying $12 for a box of them too. But for some strange reason, the kids like them, so I have been known to reuse a Pogo box and fill it up with the much cheaper no-name product. Try it with some other foods too, but beware – the kids don’t always fall for it!
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That Looks Awesome!
Whether it’s a terrible finger painting, a botched haircut or a mismatched outfit, this lie rivals the Santa Claus one for being most often uttered by parents. Lies that avoid hurt feelings are good lies in my books.
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I Love Fishing!
I hate fishing. I have no desire to dig up worms and stick them on a pointy hook to catch an unsuspecting fish and then wrestle the hook from the thrashing creature. But I have feigned the love of fishing to please my children. Their father has endured a few “makeovers” at the hands of his little girl. You’ve got to take one for the team now and then.
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Sorry, Buddy, They Were All Out
What a shame, the toy store was sold out of BB guns, lawn darts, and replica AK-47s today. I remember going to yard sales with my preteen son one Saturday and he was very interested in a set of boxing gloves, a sling shot and a samurai sword.
“Why don’t I just drop you off at the police station on the way home?” I said to him. Some toys are just trouble waiting to happen.
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Your Girlfriend Seems Nice
Much like dear Uncle Fred, you’re not so crazy about your teen’s choice of significant other. But unlike your brother-in-law who’s likely to stick around for years, this annoying teeny bopper is probably a short term thorn in your side, so you can probably bite your tongue for a while.