I’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.
I just got an e-mail from my 5-year-old’s youth basketball league, reminding me this Saturday is Picture Day. And to that I say, not for this family!
These pictures are for basketball season. A few months ago, in the fall, we had Soccer Picture Day. And in the spring — you guessed it — Picture Day for baseball. And then, of course, parents are hit up with notice of the time-honored tradition of partaking in the rite of passage known as School Pictures.
What. A. Crock! And here’s why I’m ending it.
Growing up, my father used to routinely beat me and my brother with spoons.
It started while we were on vacation in Gettysburg, PA. After driving from Massachusetts and spending three days crowded into the minivan visiting battlefields and taking in the oh-so-electrifying excitement of Amish country, we had all reached our breaking points. My brother and I were at that point in our relationship in which we couldn’t breathe the same air without fighting, which was making my parents crazy. Now picture all that built up angst, tension, and bad blood squeezed into the tiniest Amish buggy you can imagine.
After that we went to a restaurant to have some lunch. Still sniping at one another even as the waitress was trying to take our order, my brother and I were building up to an inevitable slugfest (which was really just a glorified slapfight because of our mutually agreed upon decision not to hit each other in the face), until my father took action.
He grabbed a spoon, held it under the table, and smacked me with it. And then he hit my brother. We were stunned.
“Did you just…did you just hit us with a spoon?” I asked.
“Yes,” said my father in a matter-of-fact tone. “Every time you guys argue, I’m going to flick you with a spoon.”
We were so stunned at the absurdity of it all, we stopped fighting and immediately started cracking up laughing. And from that point on, whenever anyone in our family was being a dick, they got whacked with a spoon under the table — an unlikely family tradition if ever there was one.
Recently, I’ve started a new family tradition all my own with my oldest son.
I remember being a normal person.
Well, not totally normal. I’ve always been a freak show. But at the very least I used to carry on halfway normal conversations with people. They’d say something, I’d respond, they’d come back with something else, and on and on it would go. Naturally. The way conversations are supposed to happen.
Unfortunately I’ve recently realized having kids turns you into someone completely incapable of having a normal conversation. Tell me if the following sounds familiar.
Why is this narrative coming to you in the first person if I’m dead? C’mon now, a former journalist turned narcissistic dad blogger would NEVER leave his eulogy up to someone else to deliver. Which means even though I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil, you’ve still got to listen to me at least one more time. Thanks Internet.
Who was Aaron Gouveia? Truthfully, I was kind of a dick. Especially during my capricious youth. Someone once swore they’d deliver my eulogy with the opening line of “He’s a son of a bitch and I’m glad he’s dead.” But my mom was always kind of an asshole anyway. Seriously though, I did a lot of things years ago I’m not very proud of and if I could do it all again — well, I wouldn’t actually change anything because it truly was a blast and I had a helluva time. But I swear I’d feel bad about it. Kind of.
Things changed later in life for the same reason most men finally grow up — a good woman.