Lies We Tell Our Kids: Are They Harmless?

There are a few lies that are common to all parents. We tell these lies not to be cruel, but to maintain our sanity and peace in our homes. There are some that have become so normal that sometimes we as the parents even forget that they are not the full truth.

Fairy Tale Character Lies

Many parents have told their children about Santa Claus and led them on to believe in his existence. Many have their children write letters to him and leave cookies and milk on the table when Christmas Eve arrives. Out of this group of parents, some go to elaborate lengths to back up their story, such as staging a scene where Santa has eaten the cookies and spilled the milk on the floor.

The Tooth Fairy is another one of these characters. To calm a child who is frightened by a tooth that has come out and left a bloody, gaping hole, the “Tooth Fairy” is often talked about to lessen the sting. It doesn’t hurt that the Tooth Fairy is yet another mythical being who conveniently leaves a gift… usually in the form of money.

Encouraging Lies

There is a set of lies that has been created in the attempt to encourage our children and strengthen their sense of self-esteem. One of these very popular lies is “You can be anything you want to be.” The goal of this lie is to encourage our child that with hope, hard work and determination, anything they dream of is possible. Unfortunately, no matter how much our child desires to spin a web like Spider Man or fly like Peter Pan, there are some things they simply cannot do. This harmless lie does, however, encourage our little ones to keep on dreaming about their future and not give up on themselves.

Lies of Convenience

These lies are told to make life easier for the parents. Perhaps you made a delicious meal you are about to eat and it looks like your child is about to enjoy it as well. That same child, who happens to despise garlic, looks over at you and says, “Does this have garlic in it?” Knowing full well that your child won’t even consider touching the food if he knows its contents, you smile, shake your head and say, “Nope, no garlic!”

More lies in the convenience category include those such as “We have to brush the sugar bugs off your teeth” which uses a child’s natural fear of having a nasty bug in their mouth along with the child’s desire to be a hero and partner with mommy or daddy to rid their mouth of the said bugs.

Another example is telling your child that if they make a nasty face, their face will stay like that. Or when you feel they are too old for a pacifier and you explain to your little one that he must leave it at the doctor’s office so the doctor can give it to another baby that needs it… yet another example. What about, “No, I have no idea where your bag of Halloween candy went!”

Some of these lies are things we may say without even thinking about them as such. It happens often and we need to be sure we are not using lies simply to make our own lives easier. If it has a purpose and is being used to bring something good to our child’s life, then cross those fingers behind your back and say what you need to say.

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