To all the moms and dads out there: How many times have you lied to your children to get them to behave?
If you’re a typical mom and dad, I’m guessing you’ve done it plenty of times. Come on, just admit it.
I’m sure guilty of it. My parents did the same to me.
When I was growing up, I believed that if I swallowed my gum it would stay in my stomach for a few years. I was told that if I made an ugly face and the wind blew, my face would be stuck like that forever. And the scariest thing: I should never sleep with wet hair because I’d wake up blind.
I will admit that since becoming a parent almost 18 years ago, I’ve fibbed to my children a time or two to get them to behave. I started with the typical white lie: that Santa can see them and will put them on the naughty list if they don’t behave, that I also had a direct line to Santa as well as the cops and could call them any time, and that the particular park they wanted to go to was closed that day.
But I’ve also been really creative with my little white parenting lies. Here are some of my best:
“That toy isn’t for sale.” To avoid buying my kids toys every time we passed through that aisle at Target, I would tell them the desired toy wasn’t for sale. It actually still works on my 8-year-old. I think she’s on to me though.
“This soda is spicy.” When the kids were younger, I tried my best to limit their intake of soda and sugary drinks. However, I never did a good job with practicing what I preached. So when I was enjoying a refreshing glass of Pepsi and my kids wanted to try it, I would tell them it was super spicy. Worked every time.
“I’m gonna find the receipt and return you to Target.” Telling them I’d exchange them for a different kid the minute I found the receipt worked only when they were really young. As they got older it didn’t have the same effect. I remember scaring the bejesus out of my then 3-year-old son with this fib only to have my then 6-year-old daughter out me. “You can’t buy kids from a store, Mom!” she said to me. “Don’t worry. Mom can’t return you anywhere.” she assured her little brother. And that was the end of that.
“The Paint Fairy painted your room last night.” This one wins the prize for craziest lie I’ve ever told my kids. I was painting the walls of my daughter’s room who was 2 at the time and she really wanted to help. I let her help me with one wall then told her we needed to take a break. I waited until she went to bed to finish painting the remaining walls. The next morning, I had to face the wrath of my firecracker of a daughter who was upset that the room was complete. So what did I do? I blamed the Paint Fairy. Sami had her doubts at first. How on earth could a little fairy carry a paint brush? With her magic wand, of course. Duh.
“What kind of soup is that? It’s clam chowder.” While on a cruise through the Mexican Riviera back, my oldest went through a mini-hunger strike and would only eat clam chowder. It got to a point that we ordered whatever the soup-of-the-night was for her every night and told her it was clam chowder. Even when it was chicken noodle soup. I know it seems a little lame and no where near as clever as a friend of mine who would tell her son that the pesto sauce over his pasta was actual Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Sauce just so he would eat it.
Despite these fibs I told my kids at a young age, they’ve actually turned out ok and don’t appear to be negatively impacted by them. I’m guessing that they’ll employ some of these creative tactics against my future grandkids. I might even offer up some suggestions.
What creative lies have you told your kids to get them to behave?