Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


Better Parenting Through Lying

Photograph by Getty Images

Some parents believe it's disrespectful and cruel to lie to your children. Doing so can only result in resentment over the deception, give the impression that lying is okay and cushion kids from learning essential difficult truths about life. I believe these parents' children must either be under the age of 3 or are so far past the age at which you need to lie that they have forgotten about lying's finer points.

Lying is sometimes the only way you get things done quickly and quietly. Yes, in a perfect world it would be great if your child could grasp that there are rules and consequences, but how many times have you had this conversation with a toddler:

You: "Hey, I know you're having a fun time at the playground right now but we need to go home so that you can eat dinner, take a bath and go to bed, all of which are things you find immensely inferior to playing but simply have to get done, especially because if you don't go to bed on time tonight I will have a nervous breakdown."

Toddler: "All right, that is perfectly understandable. Let's go."

RELATED: Is It Ever Okay to Lie to Your Kids?

I certainly don't believe in promising things and then withholding them or making threats and never following through. I'll scale back on the fibbing when the kid gets older and actually starts understanding the difference between fact and fiction. But in the meantime, if you have an honest method of getting little kids to do what you need them to do in a timely manner that does not result in screaming tantrums that works on a regular basis, please let me know. (And if you're here to talk about how your little angel always does what you need him or her to do with no fibs, the truth is that the comments section is currently broken.)

Otherwise, here are some lies I have used in raising my child that you are free to borrow:

  • The cotton candy that we got at the baseball game and didn't give him because he was having a meltdown wasn't in the trunk but was in fact "still being delivered."

  • If I let him have an extra cookie/stay outside without me/sit in the front seat of the car/sit in the back of the shopping cart I will go to jail (maybe not that much of a lie.)

  • We will ride the choo-choo later today.

  • The doctor calls me every night to find out whether he ate his carrots at dinner.

  • The toy he wants to play with is broken. So is YouTube.

  • I can see him in his bedroom even when the monitor is not turned on.

  • We will put that giant stick in a safe place and play with it later. (We will do any number of things later, actually.)

  • The playground is closed.

  • That thing he just made me watch him do for the thousandth time is really cool/funny.

  • We're definitely going to take that leftover cake/ice cream home and eat it later.

  • I totally understand whatever it is that he just said.

RELATED: Famous Movie Quotes That Are Really About Parenting

Share this on Facebook?

More from baby