Tall tales parents tell their children



Go on, admit it, you’ve used a little “creative licence”  to keep the peace with your kids. Right?

You might have stretched the truth, gilded the lily, told a white lie, fibbed just a teeny, tiny little bit – to fend off incessant questioning, avoid a meltdown or any other perfectly valid reason to keep a toddler (or even a teenager) happy. Or maybe your parents told you something when you were younger that is etched into your memory?

Right? Well don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

A little while ago (OK that’s a lie, it was several months ago), we asked Babyology readers on our Facebook page to reveal what lies they’d been told as children, or now told their kids. And they didn’t disappoint – here are some of our favourites.

Like this one, which I happen to think is pure genius:

A family friend used to tell her kids that if the McDonald’s “M” was yellow it meant the restaurant was full and no one else could go in and eat. – Ashleigh Wallace

Or this one, a sure-fire way to keep things cool in the car:

My dad had me convinced that the button in the car for the emergency indicators to come on was actually an eject button. He threatened to press it when we were being naughty in the car. – Alana De Angelis

This one may have been from the “how do we stop the questions?” file:

I was always told the moon was tied to the car door with an invisible string, that is why it always followed you home. – Margaret Kane

And there were these from the “how do we stop the pestering?” file:

I have my kids believing that the rides in shopping centres are broken because the lights are flashing. – Cheyenne Mcdonald

I also have my 3yo convinced that the sign at the takeaway next to Coles that says “we only use olive oil in our salads” actually says … “sorry, we have run out of hot chips”. – Deb Nielsen

Some parents used fear of public humiliation to their advantage:

(We were told) that if we wee’d in the pool the water would change colour and everyone would know. – Vanessa Haldane

And some just used fear in general to their advantage:

We were told that Mr Whippy has mosquitos in the ice cream! – Shae Northcote

I used to think a skeleton would come out the toilet if I didn’t flush it. – Nicole Chansawang Simonovic

I used to tell my boys if I didn’t get at least five hugs a day (from each one), that I wouldn’t grow properly. – Kelley Black

My parents told me and my sister that if we didn’t brush our teeth, they’d know because they’d send our toothbrushes to the police to be analysed. – Laura Drummond

Then there’s lying… to stop the lying:

When Cohen was little I told him all kids have an invisible red light on their foreheads and it will become uninvisible and start flashing when kids lie … one day he came inside with his hand over his forehead! Obviously had done something wrong and was about to lie – he believed that until he was six! – Bianca Tanganini

The backfire lie:

I was told that tampons were toilet fresheners so I took it upon myself to empty a box of them into the toilet to make it smell pretty. Mum wasn’t amused. – Kelly Ashlee Boden

But this one proved that sometimes a little white lie may actually be OK:

When very young and scared of loud thunder, I was told that it was the man upstairs moving… It took me a while to realise there was no upstairs in our home. – Lynne Evans

It seems we have some very creative parents in our community! Which tall tales were you told as a child, or which do you tell your own children now?


Michelle Rose

Michelle Rose

Michelle is a journalist and mum to two girls who are obsessed with dinosaurs, fairies, pirates and princesses in equal measure. She lives in Melbourne's east with her husband, daughters and a giant, untameable labradoodle. Michelle loves all things vegetarian, wine (it's a fruit) and online shopping.

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