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What Lies Do You Tell Your Children?

I tell my kids that there's a Santa Claus, that the tooth fairy is small enough to fly under a pillow and that the Easter Bunny sometimes sprinkles carrots in their food when they aren't looking. In other words, I lie.

For the most part, I am honest with my kids to a point that is sometimes much to my own mother's chagrin. My daughter understands that cancer kills people because she's been to the funerals of a few of its victims. She knows that kids disappear because she caught a clip of coverage on Madeline McCann. And, that people can break each other's hearts, because friends have come over to talk about their relationship woes. When she asks questions, I tell her the truth in an age appropriate way and the same goes for my son.

To see why I feel fibs are justified,


The world is such a crazy place, I think it's OK for my children to believe in the handful of things that keep them innocent — a jolly old guy sliding down our chimney, a sprite stealing teeth and a rabbit crazy about carrots. What do you lie about?

Join The Conversation
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Those are avoiding the question. He's 5, he knows avoiding the question, and would've said "That's not what I asked." I should've said he looked nerdy, not like a nerd. It was seriously straight out of Revenge of the Nerds. *lol* It was cute, but certainly not handsome. And had I even answered "You look adorable," he would've said the same "I didn't ask if I looked adorable, I asked if I looked handsome." Avoiding the question doesn't qualify as "always being honest" with my children, in my opinion. Now you're not contradicting yourself, as yours was you'd never lie. I'm talking about people who say they're always honest, which is a slightly different take. Avoiding a question isn't lying, it's not just being totally honest.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
Greggie, you couldn't find anything you liked about it? Perhaps "You did a great job!" or "I've always loved how dark your hair is" or "You look ready to walk onto Wall Street". That's what I would've said at least. But I also don't think my kids ever look like nerds. That isn't meant to be rude or mean either I promise!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Those who would tell the absolute truth no matter what, I am curious - and seriously curious, not snarkily asking this. My son came out yesterday and had combed his hair all by himself and loved how it looked. It was slicked down and to me he looked like a total nerd but he was really happy with it. When he asked me "Don't I look handsome?" what would your answer have been? Because anything other than "Yes" would've been a lie on my part. I lied, I didn't want to crush his heart.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
it's a pretty sad world when a parent cannot fib about Santa Claus to their child to keep the spirit of the holiday alive! and furthermore, if my kid went to school with a kid whose mom told them Santa Claus didn't exist, and that kid ruined it for all the other kids, i would be livid! lies aren't right, but a fib about something FUN isn't a lie...would you "fib" to a kid about what birthday presents you bought him? yes, probably, because you wouldn't want to ruin the why is the holiday fib any different? some people are overthinking this too much!
Mishell Mishell 9 years
I think lies are lies, even if they are holiday lies. We will still participate in the holiday traditions, but my kids will know that they are just stories and not realities.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Oh and I don't mean to belittle anybody but I have to say that I think an earnest belief that kids should never be sheltered from the truth is probably only even possible for people with very little real adversity in their lives. So, it's probably a lucky thing to feel that way.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I "lie" to my kids about holiday things. I appreciate the effort my parents put into making the holidays magical when I was little and presumably my kids will as well. I also lie to my kids about deployments. When my son asked if Daddy was going to get dead this time in Iraq, I said no, Daddy's coming home just like last time. Yes, I could be wrong and perhaps he'll remember that I said that and lose some faith. But, I really think it would be cruel to tell a 5 year old that yes, there's a distinct possibility Daddy will die and you'll never see him again and expect him to carry that around with him every day until the deployment was over. And there's no real "age-appropriate" way to cushion that - a 5 year old honestly can't process probabilities and letting them know it's a very small chance will do very little to alleviate their concern. I'm sure some of you all will have different opinions on that, but I'm comfortable with our decision.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Thank you. :)
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
oops that is supposed to be :hug: :oops:
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I understand what you are saying. For me though Santa is far outside of the realm of my religious beliefs. I believe in the 'Spirit of Christmas' just as you do... I just put it a different way. Really, there's no guarantee either way, we all just do what we feel is best for us and our kids. Very true, and I think that is what everyone on here is trying to say. :) I'll do what is best for my kids and you will do what's best for yours. And that is the beauty of life and parenting :) :hugs: p.s. I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but your daughter is such a cutie! :)
Greggie Greggie 9 years
It's a completely personal thing about Santa/Christmas. I don't think happiness hinges on it as well, we focus very much on the Catholic aspects. Santa is the spirit, and something I very strongly believe in. And that's based in my religious beliefs. I never felt let down that my parents "lied" to me and said there was a Santa. I thought it was awesome that they did the whole fantasy for us. Really, there's no guarantee either way, we all just do what we feel is best for us and our kids.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I think my comment was not fully understood. LilRuck explained how I feel better than I did. I do believe in age appropriate explanations, but I don’t believe that is lying. I do not believe in blatantly lying to my kids. I, like lilruck, did not believe in Santa Claus and have never felt let down b/c I didn’t/don’t. I don’t believe happiness at Christmas should hinge on whether you not you believe in a man who sneaks in your house at night and leaves presents. I also don’t believe that Easter should celebrate a hopping bunny. Yes, you can celebrate/believe in both, but I know from personal testimonies that it can hinder belief in Jesus. If my kids are going to question religion and Jesus that is find and I will encourage them to explore like they want to, but I don’t want to be the cause of doubting in Jesus. I believe honesty is the most important characteristic of mine and my SO’s relationship. If we have honesty to ourselves and each other then that will help eliminate almost all other problems. Why would I change what I believe is one of the most important aspects of a relationship just b/c the other person is now 5 years old. When my kids grow up I expect total honesty from them. I expect them to tell me the truth when I ask if they have done drugs, had sex, drank, etc. If I start off their childhood by lying to them I don’t see how I can expect them to not lie to me. Lickety split, I have to respectfully disagree with your statement: “if you want to be totally honest my advice would be not to have kids” ... I think that if you should be honest with anybody it should be your kids and spouse. Yes, childhood is magical and imaginative. Believe me I was one of the most imaginative kids. My not believing in Santa/Easter Bunny didn’t impact how imaginative I was/am. I am still very imaginative. I love to play with my nephews ... we play all kinds of thing (house, like animals, etc). I think part of my creativity and imagination came from not growing up with a TV in the house... but that’s a whole other conversation :) .... Oh and I haven’t forgot about the self-esteem diagram. I am still trying to get all of it together. I promise I’ll send that to you soon. Again... this is all just my opinion... I am not going to condemn someone for believing different. so sorry about the extremely long post... and if you don't get through all of it I understand :)
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I keep coming back to this one out of curiosity. I have a friend whose son is 9. He is very curious and asks a LOT of questions. His parents are very open to him and they have never done the "traditional" fibs. He actually has basically spilled the beans to my daughter with SEVERAL holidays. Anyhow..they also answer his questions honestly and they don't seem to hide anything from him. Well as I watch, It seems BECAUSE of this, he doesn't know the difference of what NOT to ask people and he can sometimes ask me questions that I don't feel he should be asking. Of courese I will tell him it's none of his business or he needs to ask his mother depending on the question. He also sits in on adult conversations and doesn't seem to know the difference of adult and child appropriate. And I know this sounds more along the lines of a manners issue, but other than that he is VERY well mannered and polite. His parents just feel there is no reason he should be lied to or not know if he wants to know?
Greggie Greggie 9 years
"I don't see anything wrong with explaining to your kid that a yeast infection is a condition adult ladies can get, like a cold." That's pretty much what I did, but that's not total honesty. If my kids distrust me about sex because we do the Santa tradition, so be it. I'm doing what I think is right, what I learned did and didn't work from my childhood and my husband's, and it either works or it doesn't.
Dana18 Dana18 9 years
I totally agree with ufshutterbabe . I could not have said it better. some child can loss trust in a parent if you do not tell them the truth. This is why so many kids rely on their friends for the truth regarding things like sex and drug. It is best to be up front if asked.
vmruby vmruby 9 years
Its not that they're lies they're traditions and i do go along with the usual Santa,Easter Bunny,Tooth Fairy et.Other than that i always tell my children the truth and only on a level that is age appropriate.There just are some things that are not on a need to know basis.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
I think the age-appropriate truth is the best way to go. I don't see anything wrong with explaining to your kid that a yeast infection is a condition adult ladies can get, like a cold. You don't need to explain the symptoms or details. I want my kids to always be able to come to me for honest answers about whatever they're curious about. For the holidays, I plan to avoid saying "Hey, Santa's coming tonight!" I dont mind them picking up the ideas from pop culture (and their grandmother, I'm sure) - so when they say to me "Hey Mom, Santa is coming tonight!" I'll be like "oh yea? How exciting!" (Kinda like how Ashley and Pete responded to the pregnancy rumors - not denying, but not setting the record straight either.) I don't think there's harm in believing in any of the holiday characters, but I also don't feel the need to implant those characters into their childhood either.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I never think it's okay to lie. Ever, to anyone about anything. I give my kids age appropriate explanations absolutely, but I'd never lie to my spouse or my own children. We never believed in Santa growing up, and Christmas was just as exciting for us. We knew the character of Santa, just like we knew Mickey Mouse, and we still got excited to see him at Christmas. And personally I think clouding Jesus' resurrection with a giant bunny is just ridiculous. Obviously that's my opinion... I know everyone thinks differently.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
Well put Lickety Slit! Those were the kinds of things running through my head.....
anniekim anniekim 9 years
greggie & lickety--you are both so right. Total is honesty is not always wise or appropriate.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
My 5-year-old son just asked me what a yeast infection was. I was not honest.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
being a child is a magical time and kids should get to use their imaginations and pretend. it wouldn't occur to me that santa or the tooth fairy was a "lie", it's part of childhood. if you want to be totally honest my advice would be not to have kids. you'd have to stop saying things like "looks don't matter", "just do your best", "we'll see", "maybe later", etc. and start saying things like "as good as your grades and sat's are, her dad is on the board of directors at drexal-bernham sweetie, so it really doesn't matter where you go to school SHE'S getting the internship after college". and "you'll be working 60 hours a week at a job you probably don't like. and better be ready to do it as a single parent because the divorce rate is 50%." total honesty is not really a kindness. "why did daddy leave?" "well because he'd rather screw a different lady everynight than be with us." yeah, unnecessary.
anniebananie anniebananie 9 years
wait so the whole thing about the pool water turning a different color if you pee is not true?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I dont believe for a minute that "lying" to your children about santa, or the easter bunny, or that if you pee in the YMCA pool there will be a blue ring around you will make them in the future distrust you when they find out its all BS. I , for one, give children credit to differentiate between thier parents telling them there is a tooth fairy, and thier parents telling them that there are microscopic germs they cant see.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I don't think Santa's a lie. I'm 35 and believe in Santa, it's part of the spirit of Christmas. Now the actual application of the specifics, I suppose that's a lie.
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