Ya, I lie to my children; I don’t deny it. We all do what we have to do to survive. And, I’m certainly not perfect. I bet you do it too. The lies I tell my children won’t hurt them.
I find that sometimes the best way to make sure that I keep my sanity throughout some days is to flat out lie to my children. As an adult, I now realize how many lies my own mother told me.
Thanks for the lies, mom!
For example…remember Squeeze-Its? Well, I do. They were delicious sugary drinks in a silly plastic bottle. Lunch box gold.
I always asked my mother if I could have them. She always said: “No; they are too expensive.” I hung my head past the Squeeze-It section feeling bad about our family situation. I believed that my parents’ hard-earned money couldn’t go to such frivolity.
Well, I found Squeeze-Its as an adult…they were $0.10. TEN CENTS.
THEY WEREN’T TOO EXPENSIVE; they were sugar-filled diabetes-in-a-jug, but my mom didn’t want to have the WIlford Brimley conversation with me, so she lied.
She also knew that her argument-loving daughter would engage right there in the grocery store if she told me that they weren’t healthy. She made a quick and wise decision to diffuse an argument before it started, to keep her daughter a little healthier; she chose to lie.
“Too expensive.”… I’m sure I’m gonna use that one too. (Hint: I do!)
Well, here are some of my best and favorite lies. When my kids get old enough to read this, they are going to have the same “aha” moment that I had with the Squeeze-Its!
Lie #1: That’s Coffee
I use this lie for anything I don’t want my kids to drink. Is it always coffee? No. It’s not.
Sometimes its an ice-cold bottle of root beer on a hot summer day that I know my kids will spit into.
Other times it’s an iced tea from Chick-Fil-A that has way too much sugar for a 2-year-old (or anyone for that matter, but they are just so tasty!). But, sometimes it’s just hot chocolate, water, or tea, and I just want it for myself.
Anytime that I let my kids have a drink out of my cup – my bottle – my straw, they leave residue.
Or, on the other hand, if it is something they really like, then they drink the entire thing. I’ve seen my milkshake, my hiking water, and more disappear after ill-advisedly handing my drink to my kids.
Solution: “That’s coffee.”
My kids hate the smell and taste of coffee. They know that mommy and daddy love it, and they don’t understand why. Sure way to keep my kids out of all of my drinks: “That’s coffee.”
They even know that sometimes mommy’s coffee is cold, iced, or topped with whipped cream.
Therefore, I can apply the “that’s coffee” excuse to almost any drink!
Sadly, my youngest has started to proclaim that he loves coffee after sneaking one of my drinks that wasn’t coffee! Now, he is willing to test any drink. That means that he has snuck his fair share of iced coffee. So, I may have to modify this lie for my youngest!
If you haven’t added this lie to your repertoire, you might want to try it out: “That’s coffee.”
Lie #2: “It’s hot”
This is sometimes a truth and sometimes a lie. But, I use this line for ANYTHING I don’t want my child to touch.
I might have taken this a little too far with my oldest. It took him years to get over his fear of potholders because he associated them with the oven. Therefore, he believed that the potholders would burn him if they touched him.
In an act of vindication, my daughter even chased him with the potholders just to torture him. Since she is smaller than him, she rarely has the upper hand, and she seized her moment.
A short time ago he realized that the potholders weren’t actually hot, and the trick doesn’t work anymore for her. She is pretty clever, so I am sure that she will come up with a new torture device soon.
However, anything and everything that I don’t want my kids to touch or maybe even eat: “It’s hot.”
I like to make sure that I mix this one with truth. They already know that candles, the oven, and the stove are all hot. They know that fires are something to stay far away from.
They don’t, however, have extensive experience with scented plug-ins, glassware, or even delicate décor. Thus, they know from experience that some things really are hot, and they don’t usually test it when I tell them that something I don’t want them to touch is hot.
Lie #3: You won’t like it
I really don’t know where I went wrong with food and my kids. Despite serving a variety of ethnic foods, fruits, and vegetables, all of my children are picky eaters.
Never have they ever eaten a piece of broccoli, a carrot, or even corn on the cob without it being secretly mixed in with their chicken nuggets.
Thus, they are fairly skittish about trying new foods. One of my kids even dislikes whipped cream. So, I use their distaste to my advantage and lie to my children about food.
Therefore, they err on the side of caution when I tell them that they won’t like certain foods.
Unless it is covered in chocolate chips and ice cream, they stay clear of any food that they just might not like.
Happily, this means that mommy never has to share her egg rolls, never has to share her avocado toast, and rarely, if ever, even has to have one of the kids ask her to share from the secret stash of snacks I keep on road trips!
Just a simple “you won’t like it” is all I have to tell them to keep them out of my food and back to their mac and cheese.
Lie #4: It’s against the law.
My kids have some strange reverence and fear of crossing the law. They believe that anything I tell them is illegal…actually is. I think that they think “Mommy’s a lawyer; she knows.”
I came up with this lie for my children one day when I nearly threatened one of my kids with the police. Not wanting to make my children afraid of police, I started telling them that certain actions were illegal. Then, I started explaining to them what happens when you commit a crime: fines, court, incarceration, community service.
Standing up in the car while mommy is parking: illegal.
Dropping trash on the ground: illegal.
Practicing dialing 911 on mommy’s phone: illegal.
Sure, all these things actually are illegal, but they don’t exactly merit a trip to the clink when committed by a preschooler.
I have hopes that I am raising kiddos who know how to walk the straight and narrow, who know how to show respect to others and their community, and who learn how to cautiously respect authority.
However, there is a chance that I am raising criminal masterminds or defense attorneys. Not sure which I would be more disappointed in!!
Lie #5: “It’s way past your bedtime.”
Did you run out of energy and patience to read another bedtime story? Is the sun still out, but you need your kids to go to bed? Are you ready for a break?
Try this one: “It’s way past your bedtime.”
This line is my solution to end bathtime, to avoid reading another book, and to just convince my kids to go to sleep.
I lie to my children about the time to get out of nightime snuggles when I am all snuggled out.
Although the aim is to manipulate them so that I don’t have to do any more parenting for the day, they love this one. They feel like they got away with something –like they were able to break the rules.
Staying up “way” past their bedtime is sometimes their fake reward for a fun night or a little too much play. Sure, some nights they really do stay up past their bedtime, but other nights, it is just my chance to check out.
Someday when they can tell time, this one is going to come back to bite me!
Lie #6: It’s too expensive
Yep. I use that one too. Thanks for the tip, mom. I lie to my children about prices.
My kids pick up all sorts of plastic junk with a million pieces and ask to buy it. They ask for game systems, vacations, and even furniture. My kids got ahold of a Pottery Barn magazine and think nothing of the extra zeros on the ends of every single listing.
And, heaven forbid they get more than 5 minutes of network television. Within moments they are asking for every single item in the commercials.
(Side note…we are raising kids who don’t know how to watch commercials…I wonder how that will pan out later in life!)
Seriously, they now know about some special snack cups, a glow in the dark race car track, and upcoming television series all from one night in a hotel on vacation. They can’t remember to brush their teeth in the morning, but they can remember all the words to that silly snack cup commercial.
So, instead of indulging them or giving them a simple “no.” I just tell them “It’s too expensive.”
And, when they offer to use their own saved money, I give their little wad of cash a count and say…”sorry, honey; you don’t have enough dollars to buy that.”
Do you lie to your children? What lies do you tell your children?
So, ya. I lie to my kids. I lie to avoid fights in public; I lie to try to maintain at least a few special treats in my life, and I lie even to keep my friends’ tchotchkes safe from their hands.
Maybe you use some of these too. Maybe you have some good ones you would like to share!
I gave up a lot to be a mom; these few little lies might be one small way to keep my stability!