The little white lies we tell our kids

The little white lies we tell our kids

Read on to learn what are the most common white lies parents tell their kids, when it is OK to tell white lies to our kids, and more!

At our home we try to follow a ‘no-lies’ rule. Although our 2-year-old is too young to follow this rule, it was made more with our 5-year-old in mind.

Our intention was to instill in her the value of being open and truthful. We have also promised her that she can tell us anything and we will not lose our cool.

white lies

A little white lie we tell our kids – “If you stick your tongue out like that and make that face it will freeze like that!”

Yes, at times keeping our promise to not lose it is harder than we thought.

In reality, the no-lies rule should apply to us parents as well — which is why I found myself rethinking the white lies I have told my daughter on occasion.

What are some of the most common white lies parents tell their kids?

– “If you stick your tongue out and squint your eyes, your face will freeze like that!”

– “If you don’t stay put and be quiet in your car seat, (pointing at a random person on the road) that policeman will arrest you!”

– “The supermarket was out of ice cream!”

white lies

“If you pee in the swimming pool, the water will turn pink around you!”

– “If you eat your veggies, you will get super strong muscles and be able to see in the dark.”

– “If you don’t behave, (pointing at a shop assistant) he will get mad at you.”

– “Of course that’s chicken! (When it is actually another type of meat)”

– “If you pee in the swimming pool, the water around you will turn bright pink, and everyone will know who did it!”

– “Soda is only for grownups.”

– (When you’re together at a toy shop) “You already have that at home”

When is it OK to tell white lies? When should we stop telling them?

There are times when a parent feels that telling their child a white lie is inevitable.

Experts say that telling a white lie in certain instances is perfectly acceptable. However, when lying to their kids, parents should think about the underlying intention.

white lies

“If you eat veggies, you will become super strong and be able to see in the dark!”

It is acceptable when parents fib to their kids to protect their innocence, encourage good behavior, protect their feelings, or — on occasion — to just get through the day.

However, lying to your kids shouldn’t become a common practice.

Here are a few situations and how you can handle them

– If your child constantly nags you go to the playground, the zoo or the water park, telling them it’s closed because you want to get some work done may be the easier route. However, it won’t work in the long run.

Kids are smart and repetitive white lies will result in your child disbelieving everything you say and not learning to deal with disappointment.

white lies

“Stop drinking that! Soda is not suitable for kids. It’s a drink for grownups!”

If you are not able to take your child somewhere on a work day, explain this to them, and promise to take them another time. Remember to keep your promise.

– Experts say it is ok to tell white lies to preserve traditions like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. However, when kids start questioning the existence of these characters, it means they are ready to be told the truth in a way that won’t destroy the magic associated with it.

– If your child catches you and your husband ‘under the sheets’, telling them you were ‘fighting’ would probably cause more damage than the truth would.

So tell them the truth but don’t go overboard with your explanation either. Make sure your explanation is age-appropriate.

white lies

“Sorry honey, they were out of ice cream at the supermarket!”

– When it comes to situations like death and divorce, it is best to be truthful. Lying about such situations will cause your children to doubt you and not deal with their emotions.

Explain such situations in an age-appropriate way and help them your child to deal with the resulting emotions.

What do you do when you are caught telling a white lie

If you are caught telling a white lie, do not become defensive or make up another lie to cover it up. Getting angry with your child for pointing out your fib isn’t right either.

white lies

“If you don’t sit down right now, that policeman will arrest you!”

Simply apologise for telling a lie, (after all, you want them to learn the value of being truthful, right?) and explain why you felt you had to tell that white lie.

At this point, depending on your child’s level of understanding, you can then explain the truth to them.

As in all things related to parenting, do bear in mind that children learn best from the example that we give them. So when it comes to telling white lies, remember that you need to be careful too — don’t overdo it and only do it when absolutely necessary!

Mums, what white lies to do tell your kids? We’d love to hear from you, so do let us know by leaving a comment below.


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Written by

Minoli Almeida

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