19 Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

fingerscrossedI’m a good parent. And I lie to my kids.

The lying isn’t what makes me a good parent, but it doesn’t automatically mean I’m a bad one either. Because you lie to your kids too. I know you do. And if you say you don’t, you’re a dirty goddamned liar.

We lie to our children for a multitude of reasons. Because we want to protect them. Because we don’t always know the right answer. And yes, because sometimes we’re lazy.

There’s a difference between lying to kids specifically to hurt them, and little white lies. The latter is the result of taking care of tiny humans who inevitably drive you to your breaking point and threaten to send you careening over the edge.

So with that mind, here are 19 common lies parents tell their kids.


19. “It’s time for bed.”
Technically bedtime is in an hour. But since I’ve had a long day, you can’t tell time, and daylight savings has brought on the sweet merciful darkness, the night-night train is boarding early.

18. “Oh honey, this tastes delicious.”
No it doesn’t. I don’t care that it’s called “Dada’s Surprise,” because I know the surprise is you took a little bit of everything in the house and mixed it together to create this abomination currently accosting my taste buds. I can’t prove you did it on purpose because you know I’m parentally obligated to imbibe it, but we both know you’re old enough to realize milk and orange juice don’t go together.

17. “That drawing is FANTASTIC!”
Look, I’m your dad. I’m never going to tell you something you worked hard on sucks. But why do you insist on playing this game where you make me guess what you drew? If I’m being an honest, it looks like a sphincter with three arms — not Batman. In the future, just tell me what you drew so we don’t set ourselves up for mutual disappointment.

16. “No, I don’t know where your art project went.”
Yes I do. I threw it away. Not to be mean, but because I have to. Seriously buddy, you bring home five art projects a day from school. Our kitchen wall is filled with your creations. If I don’t make at least a little room, we’ll be on Hoarders in a hot second.

15. “My phone is dead.”
Can I play with your phone? Can I play with your phone? Can I play with your phone? Sometimes I give in and placate you, but dammit IT’S MY PHONE AND I WANT TO PLAY WITH IT! So I lie to you and tell you it’s dead in the hopes you’ll get distracted by something shiny and allow me to tweet about how annoying it is when young kids are completely hooked on technology.

14. “Your mom and I are going to bed too.”
After a certain point, The Bedtime Wars drag on so much that anything is fair game. Which means I will lie to you and say whatever is necessary to put you down. So yes, of course we’re all going to bed. Don’t mind the sound of the TV downstairs, I’m just leaving it on for the dog.

13. “No, I don’t think you’re getting a shot at the doctor’s today.”
Actually you’re getting four shots. Which means I really didn’t lie.

12. “We can’t have a cat because you’re allergic to them.”
We’ve never had you tested, so technically this might not be a lie either. But I will tell 1,000 lies if it keeps those godforsaken felines out of my domicile.

11. “The dog ate your candy.”
Unlike cats, dogs are fantastic animals and man’s best friend. They are also a great tool for parents to shift blame. Because the truth is, I ate your candy. I’m not even sure how a box of Thin Mints became yours. I paid for the damn things. I should just be able to tell you I ate them because I was hungry and dammit this is my house! But then you hit me with those sad eyes and I have no choice but to do the right thing — blame an innocent and much beloved household pet.

10. “Babies are made when two people really love each other.”
Or when two people have too much wine. Or the condom breaks. Or mommy forgets to take her special pill. Or when the vasectomy doesn’t take.

9. “Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy doesn’t come if you don’t poop in the potty.”
Yeah, we actually told Will this when he was potty training. MJ and I got a 6-pack of beer, blocked him in the bathroom, and waited him out. Then, at the end of our ropes, she told him the Easter Bunny would skip his house if he didn’t poop in the toilet. Thirty seconds later he dropped a few chocolate nuggets in the porcelain basket and potty training was finished. See? Lying is just good parenting.

8. “I think your favorite stuffed animal is on vacation.”
If by “vacation” you really mean somewhere in the 50-mile stretch between the grocery store, pet store, and toy store, then yes — he’s on vacation. A permanent one. Ultimately this will end in disaster and tears and crying and refusal to sleep without your old friend, which is exactly why I’m going to lie to you for as long as you’ll buy it. Sometimes parenting is strictly about survival.

7. “The toy store/candy store/Disney World is closed.”
I’ve told you no. Repeatedly. I’ve explained to you with perfect logic and reason why we can’t go to any of the ridiculous places you’re begging me to go. But you don’t care. It’s not your job to care. I get that. But it’s my job to be on time (or at least not ridiculously late), which means it’s a million times easier to lie to you and tell you the place you want to go is closed. Some day you’ll be able to tell time and this ruse won’t work, but today is not that day.

6. “We’re all out of ice cream.”
Until you go up to bed. Then it’s ice cream city up in here.

5. “It’s a tie.”
Bullshit! I won. Not only that, I mopped the floor with you. It wasn’t even close. I’m not sure why I have to spare your feelings, since it’ll only be a few years until you’re older, I’m weaker, and you dance on my withered bones once you’re able to defeat me in just about everything.

4. “Caillou isn’t on TV anymore.”
Not on OUR TV anyway. That bald-headed whiny little shit.

3. “Yes, your fish has been very sleepy lately.”
Someday, when you’re older and I’m mentally prepared, I’ll tell you that Nemo now sleeps with the fishes. But in the meantime, your sleepy fish will be totally reinvigorated as soon as the pet store opens.

2. “We won’t let anything happen to you.”
For my money, this is the best (and most necessary) lie on the list. And make no mistake — it is a lie. We can strive to protect our kids all we want, but shit happens. If gunmen walk into the school, a driver crosses the double yellow line, or armed robbers break into our house, then parents are hard-pressed to be able to keep this promise. But you can bet your ass I’ll keep promising my boys this until the day I die. Because it’s the right thing to do to make your kids feel safe.

1. “Your mom and I were just…wrestling.”
Mom is on top of me because she’s trying to pin me. No, you can’t play too. Yes, we need a lock on the bedroom door.

So how about it parents. What other lies do you tell your kids?

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68 thoughts on “19 Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

  1. My favorite one is always “I don’t know” as an answer to just about everything. What’s the temperature? Where is this? Where is that? What time will so and so be here? Why can’t I breathe underwater? “I don’t know” is my go to response when I’m tired of responding.

  2. Son, you played great during basketball practice. My lil’ guy is the worst one on the team – no contest. Can’t tell ’em that, though! Plus, it’s totally my genes fault.

  3. Nice list, I wish I could still use some of them. When the kids get just a bit older and can read life changes again.

    Need to make a list for middle school kids.

  4. The “one minute” lie is a common one in my house. I’ll be there in one minute. It’ll only take me one more minute. I’ll play candy land in a minute. Also, when my son was going through his phase of passing on bathroom breaks so that he wouldn’t miss a single second of playing with his legos, I told him his penis would fall off if he kept peeing in his pants.

  5. ‘Wow! Really, that is so cool’ when my toddler has spent the last 5 minutes trying to tell me something that is obvioulsy very important to him but I have got the faintest idea what the hell he is talking about.

  6. “Good night, I’ll check on you in a little while.” Yeah, if “checking on” means remaining in the house so you can come down and find me if you can’t sleep. Pairs with, “I checked on you, and you were fast asleep,” meaning “I was downstairs watching Walking Dead and True Detective and you never came out of your room during that time.”

  7. When our then-toddler wouldn’t eat the baby carrots that had been in the fridge a little too long (and got that whitish dried look to them) because they looked funny, my husband told her they were “winter carrots”- special carrots that come from the snow and are especially tasty. She gobbled them up and asks us for them all the time.

  8. I convinced my 9 year old for over a year that I was a ninja before I had kids. I had very special lie detecting skills from my training.

  9. My dad told me the bars in the big bathroom stalls were earthquake bars (we lived in ca) and that if an earthquake happened while going to the bathroom I was to grab the bars so I wouldn’t fall in.

  10. When my son came home showing me the “finger” that the big kids on the bus were holding up, I told him not to do that, because it means “beat me up”

  11. To get me to eat crispy, burned food(cause my mom overcooked everything) my mom told me “eating the burned parts would make my hair curly!” Since my mom has naturally curly hair and she ate the burned parts, of course I believed her.
    I, NOW, tell my daughter the same thing when she complains about the crispy, overcooked food! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. When my girls dress themselves and I tell them they look beautiful. Lie. You look ridiculous and will absolutley get made fun of at school. Live and learn!

  13. Oh, man, I laughed so hard; I tell so many of those lies.

    3 yo: I doan wanna goda pee-skool.

    mommy: ok, then, let’s go on our trip and see gulf course and the nature center. So get in the car.

  14. I tell my daughters I know when they’re lying by smelling their breath. It started with them sneaking food items and I only used it at first when I knew for certain they were lying. Now I know when they get scared to come up to me when I ask to smell their breath!! It’s made them much more honest with me ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. OK there are only one I see that I ever used…I am 60…and I don’t think my daughters use the rest either. “Honey this taste delicious” but we add if you don’t like it let us know.

    “We won’t let anything happen to you” but isn’t that our goal and would we if we could afford not to?

  16. Hysterical! My daughter is only two but I’ve already covered most or all of this list.

    And I completely agree about Caillou. I never showed it to my daughter, never spoke his name, but somehow someway she found out about him and she hasn’t stopped asking since!

  17. Two stand out in my mind:

    1. They quit making diapers. This is the last pack. You will need to go in the toilet.
    This worked fantastic until I 15 mo later when I told the same lie. I had to explain that first they quit making them for girls and then they quit making them for boys.

    2. Your tongue is black. You must be lying. Well, of course you can’t see that it is black when you look in the mirror. Only people who know the truth can see that your tongue is black.
    Sarah recently posted..19 Lies Parents Tell Their KidsMy Profile

  18. When I was little and we had just moved into a new house, my room had dancing teddy bear wallpaper and I really wanted Barbie. My dad sat down and wove an elaborate tale about the bears helping barbie when she got lost in the woods and to thank them, she taught them how to dance. When I got older (12/13) and I wanted to paint my room he told me that wallpaper adds value to the house because Barbie’s dancing bears wallpaper is hard to find, they don’t make it anymore. I fell for his crap again. They only finally painted the room after I moved out and they offered to let me stay with them until my husband got back from deoloyment, because I was 32 weeks pregnant. I haven’t lied to my daughter yet (she’s only 16 months) but I’m sure these will be on my list lol

  19. No sweetie, they don’t make donuts at 6am in ANY donut store. You have to have a bagel with mommy. No, we can’t go in and check. Only the drive thru works this early. The rest is closed.

    Sorry hun, the toy store is closed today. It won’t open again until Christmas/your birthday/Easter…

    See those pretty lights on the tree? Those are video cameras that go straight to the North Pole, so Santa can see if you’re being good. If you aren’t, he won’t show up. Cause he can see you.

  20. My Mom told me sound attracts lightning and we needed to be quiet while it was raining. I grew up in Florida. Lots of rain. I was quiet a lot. Pretty brilliant if you think about it. I believed this until I was almost 30. I’m 34 now.

  21. DJ: That’s actually pretty incredible of your parents. Well played.

    I just remembered something my parents did. They told me the only radio station was Oldies 103.3. I believed that until I was 10. It’s why I know the words to every song from the 50s and 60s to this day.
    Daddy Files recently posted..19 Lies Parents Tell Their KidsMy Profile

  22. My daughter always asks for drinks at night, so I tell her to go to bed and I’ll bring one up when I’ve finished what I’m doing if she gets into bed. I never do because I know she’ll fall asleep before I get chance. When she tells me off next days I apologise and say I did but she was asleep.

    She’s also a very helpful child and loves to know that she has been helpful. For years she proudly told everyone she was Grandad’s Little Hindrance after she “helped” him decorate her bedroom. She was 2.5 at the time, now 7.5 and still hasn’t forgiven him ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. ‘re McDonald’s to our three year old: French fries aren’t served until supper time or it’s dark out. Depends on the time of year.

  24. When my two eldest boys were little, we were pretty well broke (both in diapers) , so I told them the ice cream truck was the music truck.. Fast forward 4 years, “Mom, the music truck says Ice Cream on it!!!!”

  25. Where do I come from. Well we caught you when you were a baby monkey. We chopped off your tail and shaved your hair off then we boiled your tail so the hair wouldn’t grow back. No serious monkey knows he is from my tum

  26. Son the muffins you baked with your mom a delicious but inside of me they tasted like they were burnt. My wife knew I was lying

  27. My aunt used to say she was allergic to whining, and would start ‘sneezing’ and coughing whenever someone started to whine.
    My dad’s favorite was “oh you’re fine.” Dislocated your wrist, no problem you’re fine.

  28. I convinced my 5 year old that if you walk across the street by yourself you will die.
    She’s also convinced if you watch more than one kids program her brain will fall out.

  29. The park is too muddy is my most often lie. Especially after it rained two days ago

  30. Almost 20 years ago, we took the kids on a trip to DC.
    I watched as my kids stood in front of the white house, their little hands gripping that rod iron fence in sheer unadulterated awe.

    And that’s when their father said: oh my God, guys, LOOK!! THE PRESIDENT! In that window! Over there! He’s waving at you!

    My poor kids, confused, squinted at each window in the distance, waving to make sure they didn’t disappoint a president who, of course, was not there. Lol

    We got to the car and my daughter put her little hand on her chest and she was almost in tears: Oh my God, MOM! I can’t believe the president would do that!! He doesn’t even know me!!

    Let’s just say when their father finally came clean with them, they wouldn’t talk to him for days. Lolol

  31. I also tell my kids that Dracula comes out at night so my kids don’t eat late at night, and what if something they eat is mine? Shame on my kids.

  32. 1 I tell my kids that Dracula comes out at night so my kids don’t eat late at night, and what if something they eat is mine? Shame on my kids.

    2 I also tell that if you lie your nose will grow just like Pinoccio’s nose did.
    3 And I tell them that signing for after school activities will make your brain grow bigger then mine. No it won’t I’m 34.

  33. I have had numerous relationships with liars โ€” friends, lovers and even family. Itโ€™s so difficult to exit these relationships until many times, itโ€™s too late and the damage is done. Thatโ€™s the tricky thing with liarsโ€“ once you enter their circle as a stranger, they will eat you up. I now donโ€™t trust as I once did, and itโ€™s for the better. If someone truly wants me as a friend, they have to demonstrate their trust. And, it goes both ways. If they canโ€™t follow through with me, I drop them pretty quickly.

  34. Hi lol I’m a kid haha and haha my parents never told me lies. I’m gonna tell everyone about it in my class haha.

  35. The best and most effective way to build trust with your kids, is to be honest with them. With age appropriate answers of course. It’s so much more healthy than lying, maybe not as easy but the payoff is worth it by far.

  36. My dad usually tells us like no we dont have any of that. Your sister finished it last night.

  37. I am only 10 as well!๐Ÿ˜ I live in Scotland this is so funny! Every time my mum or dad or one of my three sisters says something like that I will ask “are you lying?”
    I only just turned 10 on the 27th of October.
    I am just a kid!!!๐Ÿ˜Š

  38. Here’s a common lie that divorced mothers tell their children:
    “Daddy doesn’t love you”
    “I need to protect you from daddy”

    There is an epidemic in this country of spiteful, malicious, and selfish mothers who purposefully destroy their children’s relationship with their father. Some do it for the child support money. Others do it because they want to punish the father for leaving them. And there are some who are just control freaks, and can’t handle another parent having any say over the children that they see as their rightful property.

    Our judicial system ENCOURAGES divorcing mothers to separate their children from the fathers. It is causing an epidemic of fatherlessness, and it is damaging to our children. If you know a mother who is keeping her children from their father, do whatever you need to to put a stop to it. Because this is nothing short of child abuse.

  39. Yes. Please make sure you visit Walter’s website so I can get big and fat and Walter can continue to fail to understand when his comments are inappropriate and, frankly, super weird.

  40. Actually, I do want people to visit my website, but it has nothing to do with my wallet. I don’t generate any revenue whether I get one visitor or 10,000. I want to generate traffic to my website so that my children will find it, and know that I love them and miss them, because I cannot tell them myself.

  41. Lying to your kids is as bad as your kids being disruptive. I am only a 16 year old male, but I sure as hell know when a guy is lying. My mom is always like your not fat when I clearly am. I’m about 227 pounds, and I’m a body builder. When I get back from the gym my mom says that if I go to the gym too much I’ll get uglier. But I have a girlfriend, and at least 100 girls numbers. I am in Football, and Rugby and my mom is always like. Football players are getting out of fashion, and she will always ask me why I didn’t join marching band. And I’ll say well I’m not a nerd, and who wants to walk for 10 hours a week to some funky tune. I know my mom is just trying to make me feel better, but honestly if my mom just told the truth, then I would feel way better. And I’m not trying to be an ass, but people laughing about lying to their kids is just really a burden on them for showing how much of a bad parent they’re. If your a kid, or teenager you would really understand my point of view. But if you’re a parent and you would like advice from me. Tell your child the truth. It’s not that hard people. When I’m married I’m going to tell the truth to my kids. And it is not hard raising a child. My friends mom was single, raped and pregnant, and worked 3 jobs in a day. Where is he now. Has a hot ass girlfriend. Varsity football, and on varsity drum line. And he lived an average life while his mom suffered worse than you lazy baffons. If your rich, and have a normal life. Taking care of a baby shouldn’t be hard. It might be time consuming, but if my amigos mom could do it for 17 years (with a shitty, time consuming life), then why couldn’t y’all lards do it. I mean this shit is becoming the wallE movie where everyone aboard the ship was lazy.

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  44. “You want to keep shredding toilet paper? I’m going to call your teacher and tell her how you are behaving. “

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