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Date: 20 March 2014

Today's Topic: The Greatest Lies We Tell Our Children

Triggers: BBC Radio 2 Story

My Grump: I HATE LIARS! I guess we all do, don't we? Liars do it to gain an advantage over someone else, or to create a feeling of power. I know I've been lied to as a child, as a teenager and as an adult. The people that lie to me think I don't know. What they fail to realize is that I have a bullshit radar that monitors eye movements, limb twitches, colour flushes, body language and voice inflection. I am blessed with a bloody good memory and a detection count that is nigh on 100% accurate.

Unfortunately I have also lied to my own children, to my eternal shame. In my defence, it was because I wanted them to have a fun childhood. When I told my son that if he went to sleep early like a good boy, Father Christmas would come and give him presents, it was because I wanted him to have the excitement of the build up to Christmas, not because I wanted him to have an early night. When I told him the tooth fairy would exchange his lost teeth for a shiny pound coin, it was because I wanted him to learn the value of money, to hear it rattle in his piggy bank, and to understand the importance of saving.

But what I understand now is that at some point, my lies have to be explained. The truth will come out and I will be exposed as someone who is manipulative and who has used these 'white lies' to engineer obedience. We all do it and rationalize it by saying it's harmless. But is it? We have taught our children that lying is acceptable, and not only have we taught them how to lie, what to lie about, but also to lie to us, their parents.

Remember, when your son or daughter can look you dead in the eye and lie without flinching, you taught them that.

Here is a list of the most often told lies.
How many have you heard? How many have you told?

1. There is a Santa Claus/Father Christmas, but he'll only visit you if you're very good.

2. Mommy and Daddy are taking an afternoon nap.

3. Dont point your finger at a rainbow as it will dissapear.

4. If you keep making that face, it might freeze and stay that way forever!
White Lies Father Christmas
5. This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.

6. Father Christmas only visits children who go to sleep.

7. Sitting too close to the TV will make your eyes go square.

8. If you lie your tongue will fall out and you won't be able to talk anymore.

9. Eating your vegetables gives you magical powers.

10. The ice cream van is a 'music van' and just goes around playing nice music for people to hear.

11. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis!

12. Eating too much spicy food will give you ulcers.

13. There is a Cub/Scout/Brownie badge for washing the car.

14. Spinach makes you healthy and strong.

15. Father Christmas is a big fat man with a fluffy white beard, who parks a massive sleigh on a sloping roof designed to shed anything that lands on it. He then climbs down the chimney with a big sack of presents without getting stuck, and manages to put presents under the tree in complete silence, keeping soot off everything and leaving the same way. He manages to visit every child in the whole world in around 5 hours and is pulled along by flying reindeer. What fun!

16. Eating your vegetables will make you grow up big and strong.

17. If you pick your nose your eyes will fall out.
White Lies Ice Cream Scam
18. The tooth fairy was so tired she left your money on the dining table.

19. The stork brought you.

20. If you eat apple pips, an apple tree will grown in your tummy.

21. The police arrest children who swear or tell lies.

22. If you shave your facial hair, it will grow back thicker than ever.

23. Eating carrots will improve your eyesight and let you see in the dark.

24. Stop playing with that toad – you’ll get warts on your hands.

25. I always eat a healthy breakfast.

26. Daddy has to have wine for medical reasons.

27. Get down off that wall/tree/wardrobe, or you'll fall and crack your head open.

28. The ice cream van plays music to let children know it has run out of ice creams.

29. God helps those who help themselves. (Careful with that one, they may take you literally and turn into bank robbers)

30. When I was your age...I ate all my dinner.. I walked to school.. I did my homework.. I cleaned the car.. I did all my chores without moaning.. I shovelled snow.. I had to do a paper round.. I polished my shoes every day.. I .. I .. I (you finish this sentence).

31. I can see in your tummy so I know if you ate all your greens.

32. Don’t swallow that gum – it will stay in your stomach for seven years!

33. If you keep playing with it, it will fall off someday.

34. The big chimneys you see in the factories are cloud makers.

35. Watching TV too close will hurt your eyes and make you go blind (or more frequently, give you square eyes).

36. If you go out in the cold without a coat, you will get sick.

37. Left over desserts go bad in the fridge at night. (A parents excuse for eating them up)

38. I smoke because it clears my lungs out. (In answer to the question, 'why do you smoke mum/dad?')

39. Eat up, it's chicken.

40. When you lie your nose gets bigger, haven't you ever seen Pinocchio?

41. If you tell me the truth, you won't get into trouble. (Depends how bad the truth is, I fell for that one more than once)

42. Eating your crusts will put hair on your chest.

43. I don't know how to work the Wii/Xbox/Nintendo/DVD player.

44. It's not run out of batteries, you broke it.

45. If you cross your eyes and the wind changes, you'll stay crosseyed (like Clarence the lion - showing my age now. Remember Daktari?)

46. Tesco don't sell pick 'n' mix on a Friday/Sat/Sun/Mon... you pick the day.

47. Sorry son, you're allergic to .... (put whatever you want in here).

48. The cat/dog/budgie has gone on holiday.

49. The worse medicine tastes, the better it is for you.

50. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.

51. Wait an hour after eating before going in the swimming pool, or you’ll get stomach cramp.

My own particular favourites:
When asked where sausages come from, I said pigs lay them.

During a trip to a French restaurant we had frogs legs in the starter course. One of my children asked what happens to the rest of the frog, and I said they have to use crutches.

I used to keep rabbits for the table. At dinner, the boys would ask what was on the menu. Now bear in mind that the boys used to feed these rabbits after school and even named them. I would say 'chicken'. Mother would go round the table, asking who wanted what. Each in turn would say 'a leg please' and this would continue until we all had a leg. Not once did it ever dawn on either of the boys that a chicken only has two legs. Priceless!

When the boys were frightened of the lightening, I just said it was God taking photographs of all his little angels. When the thunder came I used to cough really loudly to disguise the noise.

Please share your thoughts below, and tell us your favourite white lies, thank you.



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