White Lies

“My flatmate grew up on a farm and was told by her parents that their TV only worked when it rained.”


Image Courtesy of Kaboompics

We’ve all lied to our kids. Shocking thought, I know, but quite true. And we’re not even talking the most popular white lies out there, like the myth of the Tooth Fairy or Mouse – no, we are talking about the little white lies we tell, just to make life easier, or to make a particularly difficult toddler query go away. When is it OK for parents to stretch the truth, in service of the greater good?

What happens when your children start to see through some of the more benign childhood myths, such as Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy? How do we handle the age old question: Is this real? Children ask this question for different reasons, and at different stages in their lives. It is important to tailor your answer to your child, and to take the lead from their questions. Once you have resolved the query, and have broken the news that (insert name here) is not real,you might use the opportunity to  salvage the positive thought behind the relevant  tradition.  For instance, the Festive Season can still be about giving and celebrating all the abundance in our lives, not necessarily about an actual gift under the tree. We’ve found a great site here, for those who want to read more.

A white lie can also be a way of simplifying the truth, in order to help children digest or cope with a specific life experience that might be beyond their developmental stage. But keep in mind the difference between stretching the truth, and not being truthful towards your children. It is our responsibility to shield them from hurt, but not to dismiss their curiosity and questions out of hand.

On a lighter note, we’ve scoured the net and found some hilarious stories of the often bizarre, definitely innovative lies that some parents tell their kids. You can just imagine the desperation that drove one parent to tell her children that, if they didn’t behave in the drive-through, they would get a ‘sad meal.’ To read more of these funny parent-lies, click here.

Now we often end our blog posts with a general request for some stories in a similar vein, but this time we really want to hear your stories. We’ve taken a poll in the #XanderApps office, and come up with some real doozies of our own.

Here are some of the best examples:

  • If you don’t wash behind your ears, mushrooms would grow there.
  • More biltong will lead to nightmares.
  • During a cruise on the wild coast, a mom on the boat threw her baby’s dummy to a pair of fish eagles, and explained poetically that they needed it for their own little baby bird.


We feel kind of silly for being duped by our parents, so why don’t you share some of your stories with us, and make us feel better about ourselves?

PS – just to come clean, I did tell my toddlers that once the batteries of their shiny, noisy Christmas toys ran flat, there was no way of replacing them. White lie? You bet.