Top Ten Lies Parents Tell Their Children

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Thu, 2006-11-23 21:59

Should you tell harmless lies to your kids? I would definitely try not to propagate these.

Here are the top ten "white lies" from the Times.

It brings back childhood memories.

"The Times November 23, 2006

Traditional fibs still popular

LAPLAND British parents are as happy as ever to fib about Father Christmas. A poll for Reader’s Digest found that almost nine out of ten parents have passed on untruths.
The Top Ten white lies are:

1. Father Christmas

2. The Tooth Fairy

3. Crusts give you curly hair

4. Carrots help night vision

5. If the wind changes, your face will stay like that

6. The Easter Bunny

7. Babies are found under gooseberry bushes (or similar)

8. If you eat apple pips, they will grow in your tummy

9. Picking your nose causes your head to cave in or your nose to fall off

10. Lying does something unpleasant to your tongue.

Richard Bulkeley, a child psychologist, said: “Sharing fantasies may well stimulate children’s brains and help develop language skills.”

( categories: )


Ptgymatic's picture

right to the heart of the matter, as usual, Gregstir?
Do, at least, check the number of negatives and the logic of your conclusions, would you? Take a cold shower first, if necessary, there's a good boy.
= Mindy


gregster's picture

"and not even significantly unlike the style of some humans!"

No doggy-style huh?

Some of you aren't parents, I suspect

Ptgymatic's picture

Some of you don't appreciate the complexities of answering questions when TV, peers, schools, etc. all contribute to the mix of what your child knows, thinks, expects, and is capable of understanding.  

When my young daughter asked me what people did when they made love, I told her it was a very special kind of hugging that adults could do. It fit the physical glimpses she'd had from TV, and it fit the emotional meaning hugging had for her. She was satisfied, and it didn't need to be overturned later. Was that a lie? Afficionados of the Kama Sutra might say so!

This contrasts with my own sex education, which was that my father took the kids to watch our female dog being bred. I swore on the way home that I'd never have anything to do with sex!  Yet that was empirical, straight-forward knowledge of copulation, (and not even significantly unlike the style of some humans!)

Answering children's questions on topics popularly lied about involves explaining the item asked about, and, implicitly: why people act and say differently; how the child should cope when around those people--their friends, for example; how wide and deep this rift between truth and fiction goes, and how they will recognize other instances of it, and which of their current beliefs may turn out to be similarly false, etc. It isn't a simple matter. You can't just ask them about the ramifications, you have to figure it out, guess, and stay vigilant. 

My point is that it isn't simply a question of either telling the truth or a fanciful lie. Most of those lies were probably some parent's effort at finding an answer that would satisfy curiosity without overloading the child. If you don't think there is any such thing as overloading a child, heaven help the kids in your life. And the coarser and more brutish the culture gets, the harder it is to bring them up without making the world itself seem a hostile, irrational, and dangerous place, rather than an open realm of opportunity. 

= Mindy

Of course, the new Number One lie is...

Jameson's picture

AGW. :-/

This is very good post , i

mariajones's picture

This is very good post , i love good  information about goddess Aino.



voucher codes

Interesting discussion

personallydisinterested's picture

I don't lie to children any more than I lie to adults.  I am still upset that all the history I learned in elementary school was complete garbage.  Why should I have to relearn material that I could have learned correctly in the first place?  You don't have to dumb things down for children, nor convince them that Santa Claus is real in order for them to have a good imagination.  Reading fiction works much better, and is a good way to help them distinguish between fantasy and reality, which is difficult as a child.  If you don't want to tell a child about sex, just refuse.  It does a whole lot less damage than when you make up some stupid story and pass it off as reality. 

BTW, Ted...

Jameson's picture

Gorgeous photo!! Smiling

7. Babies are found under gooseberry bushes (or similar)

Jameson's picture

See, the Muslims don't teach their kids this bullshit, and that's why they're out-breeding us 7 to 1.

Santa Claus

Rosie Purchas's picture

My sister told her children there was no such thing as Santa Claus. They don't believe her - they see him all the time at Christmas!

Ayn Rand's namesake, the Finnish Goddess Aino

Ted Keer's picture

Ayn Rand's first name is based on the Finnish Aino, rendered Ayna in Russian. Aino was a goddess in the cosmogenic myth of the Finns. Here is a picture of the acctress Kaari Martin as Aino in an opera of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic.

Ted Keer

image from:

You Old Softie!

Ted Keer's picture

Rick, here's where Santa himself comes from. He's known to the Norse as Freyr and across Siberia as Father Sky. He shines down through the smoke holes in the reindeer-herders' cabins and tipis and blesses their wives and herds with fertility on the Solistice. They leave him milk and vodka outside their doors for him to consume. I couldn't find an image, but Siberian shaman made wreathes topped with reindeer antlers perched atop birch-tree tripods that look suspiciosly like christamas trees with garlands and angel's wings atop as well. Also note Freyr's "potency." Sleipnir, Odin's eight-leeged flying steed sometimes pulls a chariot, and a similar flying steed pulls a flying sleigh in Lönnrot's Kalevala.

Freyr is from


Flying donkeys, or whatever

Rick Giles's picture

. Santa Claus -- which is a crushing disappointment when the kid eventually finds out the truth.

Santa is true though, less the facts about polar elves and flying donkies. That still leaves a whole lot, and a most worthwhile lot, a Christmas spirit, that humans cannot easily transmit- espeically not to children- without the framework of a nice back-story like this.

It's very sad if the whole Christmas package is rejected along with its fantasy wrapping. Parents should help their kids realise that it's the flying donkeys that are untrue and not the benevolence, love, good-will gift-giving, and celebrations.

We might say the same for other institutions, such as the one invented to help children meet dental crisies with good virtue.

Beer Man

Ted Keer's picture


Santa Claus was always pretend or play to us, not explicitly being told that he was real but neither that he wasn't. We played with dolls and models and weren't lectured on their ontology.

As for God, my Father dicussed mass afterwards and elicited our opinions and gave his. He did not always accept the priest's sermon. God was basically the prime mover who made the stars and people through physics and evolution. Natural Law was the source of right. Grace only gained salvation, and grace was obtained by overcomin obstacles and using talents. Altruism and such was just a bug in the system that was easy to work out, given the rational backround.


BTW, Beer? Cheryl?

Top Two

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

1. "god" -- which pretty much destroys the whole physical and metaphysical universe for the kid. It devastates his sense of reality, and his confidence in reason and thought. 

2. Santa Claus -- which is a crushing disappointment when the kid eventually finds out the truth. I think all children should be told it's make-believe from the very beginning. The truth is always sacred. As the kid gradually learns to differentiate between facts and fiction he'll smoothly accept Santa Claus with total mental equanimity, and never a false or sad step, in my view. If the lying process has already started, then the moment the kid asks "Is Santa for real?" he should be told the truth. Something like "He's make-believe -- like Superman and Dracula. But it's lots of fun to pretend." 


Rick Giles's picture

I assumed Marcus knew & meant this

YOu give that carrot-hater too much credit.


Ted Keer's picture

Carotene deficiency does cause night-blindness and can cause permanent blindness, but eating carrots doesn't confer superman vision. I assumed Marcus knew & meant this, so did not dispute it, but did note it when he originally posted.


That lie is a lie!

Rick Giles's picture

I'd be curious to know what Reader’s Digest disputes. Does good vision lack Vitamin A? Or do they claim carrots lack Vitamin A?

Carrots do so help you see in the dark!

I think the Government comes round with all your presents ...

Marcus's picture

From the Times...

"I have great sympathy with Berkshire teacher Jane Woodley who let slip to her nine-year-olds that Santa does not exist. This week my ten-year-old appeared with two milk teeth he’d found in my jewellery box. “Aha!” he declared. “Absolute proof there is no Tooth Fairy.”

“And I’ve known about the Easter Bunny for years,” declared my eight-year-old airily. “I mean, a giant rabbit who goes around handing out chocolate, how stupid is that?”

But Father Christmas is another matter. Children old enough to question why Santa always uses the same wrapping paper I buy in Sainsbury still worry that unbelievers will wake without a stocking come Christmas morn.

So my younger son, trying to square his realism and logic with his desire for magical happenings (and showing modern faith in the nanny state), mused: “I don’t believe there’s Santa in a sleigh. I think the Government comes round with all your presents in a car.”

Two out of Three ain't Bad

Ted Keer's picture

There is a difference between lying and allowing a child to engage in or enjoy fantasy. My parents never told me that there was a "real" Santa Claus or insisted on his existence. They simply had us "leave out the milk and cookies that were for Santa Claus" (as in "for good luck") and they told us that these were our "Santa Claus presents" as opposed to those that we got from our aunts and uncles. I asked my mother at six if Santa Claus was make-believe, and she told me just not to "ruin the surprise for the younger children." My two sisters and I continued to hang stockings and leave out milk and cookies until we left home for college. I am the only one of us who came out terribly damaged. Smiling

gone's picture

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.