I Lie to My Kids. It’s Cool.

There are a lot of behaviors I didn’t expect from my kids for another four or five years:

Rolling their eyes at me.

Telling me they don’t love me, anymore.

Saying “Nothing! And stop asking me!” when I ask “What’d you do at school?”

And, “You’re going out in that?”

And I definitely didn’t expect lies for another few years. I guess it’s my bad – after all, I began lying to them at a young age.

It began with the stellar (unsolicited) advice I received from an old lady at the playground (who writes her own blog, Life Lessons From an Old Bitch. Seriously.)

Her: You want some advice?

Me (in my head): No, crazy lady.

Her: Lie to them.

Me: Jigga-what?

Her: Just tell them…“I don’t know who made the rules. But those are the rules.”

Me: Laugh. Dispense with my disrespect for a wiser generation.

Her: I mean it. I don’t know why it works. But it works. Just lie to them. They believe everything.

Me: For example?

Her: When they say “why?” to anything, just say, “I don’t know. That’s just the rule. I don’t know who made it up.”

Folks, it works.

Two more stock fibs I employ, regularly:

Because they didn’t listen to their daddy.

Because they didn’t learn to read at school.

Sometimes my lies lack logic, but they make strong impressions.

Son: Why are there mean people in my life?

Me: Because they didn’t learn to read in school.

Him: Why are the dinosaurs dead?

Me: Because they didn’t listen to their daddy.

Him: Why is Ariel’s hair so much beautifuller than Merida’s?

Me: That’s a matter of opinion. And someday your hair may be affected by the degrading effects of humidity. But also: she probably didn’t listen to her daddy.

Him: Why is Donald Trump screaming like that?

Me: Because he didn’t learn to read.

Him: Why do you desperately want me to go to sleep so you can just go watch hours of Homeland?

Me: Because I’m in the middle of the 3rd season and I can’t believe Saul is (blocking this part out to avoid spoilers)…I mean…because someone didn’t listen to their daddy.

And a standard exchange…

Him: Why is that man homeless?

Me: Because he didn’t learn to read at school.

Sidenote: Then, one day, my son approached a homeless man and said, “Are you homeless?” “Yep”, he kindly responded, before I could react. “Because you didn’t learn to read?” my son asked. I wanted a hole to swallow me up whole. But I was also dying to hear the response. At which point, the man coughed up phlegm and spit it on the ground. We left.

I know, I know. I’m simplifying. Greatly. There are a plethora of reasons people wind up homeless. You can write my kid a note with that explanation.

But I digress.

As mentioned, lies are coming back to bite me in the ass; but in a hilarious way.

Recently my youngest screamed “NO!” in my face.

Me: (with completely calm, of course) Don’t you scream ‘no’ at me.

Him: I’m not saying no…I’m just not saying yes.

(He’s 2.)

We’re fighting an endless battle with his pacifier. We’ve figured he can keep sleeping with it until he’s 3. But during the day, his paci-sonar is set permanently to “search” mode.

Several times a day, we hear him drag his completely unstable ride-along train to the kitchen counter, climb up and reach for his paci stash.

Me: What are you doing dragging your train? Are you getting a paci?

Him: No. I’m just checking it.

Me: Really? You’re just checking to make sure it’s there?

Him: Yes.

(Meanwhile, he’s fully reaching for the paci.)


Me: Buddy? What are you doing with that paci?

Him: I’m just holding it.


Me: Buddy? Please give me that paci.

Him: No. I’m just putting it in my pocket.

Stomping feet and pouting are something I try to squelch. Recently the little guy was angry with me, so he stomped.

Me: “Don’t you stomp that foot.”

He did so, again.

I gave him a look.

Then he said, “I’m not stomping my foot. I’m just tapping it.”

True. He was merely tapping it.

The next day…

Him: Where [are the] purple scissors?

Me: I don’t know, buddy, but the green ones in your hand work just as well.

Him: Nooooo…find them. YOU FIND THEM!

Then he began tapping his foot, again.

Me: Are you angry and stomping your foot?

Him: Nope. Just tapping.

And, once again, trying to quell the overuse of “poop”…

Him: Poop!

Me: Did you just say…?

Him: No. My mouth make gun sounds. See? Boop. Poop. Gun sounds.”

Liar, liar pants on foom.


  1. Kids learn how to lie and manipulate at a waaaaayyy younger age than I ever anticipated. And the testing of boundaries is a never-ending battle. I feel I now exist in a constant Cold War…building up an arsenal of justifications for saying “no” and creating new and innovative consequences for poor behavior.


  2. You know that phrase, “What goes around, comes around”? I never knew what the heck it
    meant until I had kids. Then suddenly it all became so clear: your parenting sins get reincarnated
    in your offspring as kid-sins…. It’s ok though. And, oh BTW, I hope the Easter Bunny knows where to find your
    house. It’s nearly time for that lie……..but they figure it out on their own.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My 3 year old is lying to me as well. I’m secretly glad he only does it to get out trouble, instead of just lying out of the blue. I think that would scare me more. Pathological lying from a toddler does not seem so cute. Oh, the joys of parenthood!


    • At the risk of sounding like a total hypocrite, avoiding lies is going to be my greatest preoccupation. So…I’m on it!


  4. Not where I thought this was going.
    I would give opposite advice, sort of. The ‘why’s’ are the most important and fun questions to answer. There are reasons for rules, circumstances, behaviours etc. so explain them to your kids.
    Things are not simply arbitrary (i.e. bedtimes, seatbelts, homelessness etc.) there are reasons for everything, even if they are complicated.
    Teaching kids to think about why things are helps to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills. The answer itself is not the important part, it’s the process of thinking about the answer.
    You’re missing out on one of my favourite parts of being a parent, answering why!


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