50 Lies Parents Say That Kids Always Fall For

Honesty is the best policy—but every parent has told at least one of these lies.

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Everybody lies from time to time, whether you're assuring a friend that their outfit looks amazing or taking some liberties with your boss regarding what "five minutes away" really means. However, there's virtually no relationship that requires more routine (albeit largely benign) deception than the one between parents and children. Whether you're assuring them that you don't even know what candy is or promising them that nothing fun happens after they fall asleep, every parent has told one of these whoppers to their little ones at least once. See if you recognize these 50 lies parents tell their kids.

1
"I'll think about it."

young asian mother and daughter choosing clothing
Shutterstock/Ronnachai Palas

Parents make split-second decisions on a daily basis, meaning that when you hear "I'll think about it," what they really mean is, "I don't think that Power Wheels is actually a great addition to your tiny bedroom, but more importantly, I'm hoping you forget it exists by your birthday."

2
"I don't have the money for that."

Mom and Daughter Buying Toys, things you should never lie to kids about
Shutterstock

Technically speaking, your bank account may have the $9 necessary to buy that toy. That said, it's pretty hard for your four-year-old to prove it, meaning you don't actually have to bring home yet another doll they'll play with for 10 seconds before tossing aside.

3
"It's way past your bedtime."

little girl asleep in bed, bad parenting advice
Shutterstock

Ah, the joys of having a child who can't yet tell time. This excuse is a game-changer for many parents, making it easy to abruptly end a tantrum-filled afternoon by assuring your little one that, despite the fact they just had lunch, it's practically the middle of the night.

4
"We go to bed when you do."

mother putting young asian girl to bed
Shutterstock/DONOT6_STUDIO

If your kids knew that your evenings are full of movies, TV shows, and treats they don't realize you keep in the house, they'd never go to sleep!

5
"First one to sleep wins the sleeping contest!"

little girl asleep in bed, stay at home mom
Shutterstock/Quintanilla

What we don't tell you: The only prize is knowing you won (and waking up well-rested, if that counts for anything).

6
"We can't get a dog—I'm allergic."

puppy playing with twin boys
Shutterstock

The fun of having puppy cuddles isn't always outweighed by the thought of having to take care of another living thing for a decade. And so, while you may not technically start reaching for the allergy medicine every time you're within a 10-foot range of a Golden Retriever, it definitely doesn't mean you're going to let them look through your local shelter's catalog of adoptable pups, either.

7
"We sent your pet to a farm."

cow with boxer dog, cow photos
Shutterstock

Of course Fluffy didn't die! She is enjoying the best time on a beautiful farm that we can never, ever visit, but rest assured, it's real, and please don't ask any more questions.

8
"If you touch a frog, you'll get warts."

girl with painted nails holding frog or toad
Shutterstock/loflo69

And if we take it home, it might turn into a prince and that'll be a whole annoying thing to deal with, too.

9
"That animal is just taking a nap."

red squirrel asleep on tree branch
Shutterstock/Fiona M. Donnelly

The road is warm and the womb-like sounds of traffic must have just lulled that flattened squirrel right to sleep!

10
"I never skipped class."

kids raising hands in school things grandparents should never do
Shutterstock

Even if you were so rarely at school that your teachers routinely forgot your name, you'd never admit that to your own kids. So, for their purposes, you spent Senior Skip Day at school doing extra credit for your calculus class.

11
"I was a straight-A student."

old report card, things you should never say to a teacher
Shutterstock/SAPhotog

Those old report cards are long gone—they're never going to see how many C-pluses you also received.

12
"We don't have any dessert in the house."

close up of young white woman eating pink frosted donut with her coffee
iStock

There is definitely no cereal box full of candy bars or pint of ice cream hiding in the back of the freezer.

13
"I don't know where your Halloween candy went."

parents checking halloween candy
Shutterstock

Some parents let the Switch Witch take the fall for halving their kids' Halloween candy. Others just feign ignorance about where that epic pile of future cavities went, assuring their children that there will be plenty of time to collect Smarties that languish in the pantry next year.

14
"The cashier forgot to put your candy in the bag."

woman buying groceries
Shutterstock

How. Does. This. Keep. Happening?

15
"That song means the truck is out of ice cream."

ice cream truck, weird state records
Shutterstock

Look, we'd love some soft serve as much as you would. It's such a bummer that they're always out when they come to our neighborhood.

16
"It takes seven years to digest gum."

young black girl in headphones blowing bubble with gum
Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Your kid will inevitably eat a bunch of inedible things—Legos, dirt, a handful of their own hair—so what's the harm in shortening the list by one item?

17
"If you swallow a watermelon seed, one will grow in your stomach."

kid holding a watermelon in front of his face as if it is a smile, things you should never lie to kids about
Shutterstock

See that pregnant lady? She clearly wasn't careful enough at our July 4th barbecue.

18
"If you eat spinach, you'll become as strong as Popeye."

little girl eating spinach salad
Shutterstock/FotoHelin

Those muscles weren't built in a gym!

19
"Alcohol tastes terrible."

two women drinking wine on the couch while little blonde girl watches
Shutterstock/LightField Studios

Margaritas definitely don't taste like melted popsicles and mudslides are way different than chocolate milk.

20
"You won't like this, it's spicy."

Man eating squares of chocolate
Shutterstock

Look, brownies are sometimes made with habanero peppers. You can never be too careful.

21
"It tastes just like chicken."

young white boy eating fish finger
Shutterstock/Ann in the uk

Chicken apparently tends to taste like a lot of other things: cod, frog legs, tempeh…

22
"It's a really short car ride."

Family driving in car
Shutterstock

Your destination is 15 minutes away? "It's a really short car ride." Your destination is six hours away? "It's a really short car ride."

23
"You can get arrested if the light is on inside the car."

young asian girl playing on smartphone in dark car at night
Shutterstock/arrowsmith2

To be fair, it's really hard to see when the dome light is on in the car. And, more importantly, with it on, they never take car naps.

24
"It's illegal for kids to sit in the front seat."

two white teenagers in the backseat of a car
Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

The cops may not pull you over for having your 14-year-old in the front seat, but are you really going to risk letting them sit that close to the radio controls? How much Ariana Grande can one person take?

25
"The car doesn't start until everyone has their seatbelts on."

young white girl buckling seat belt
Shutterstock/lunamarina

Prove. Us. Wrong.

26
"If you put your hand out the window, another car will cut it off."

young boy with hand out the window of a car
Shutterstock/ESB Professional

You could certainly test that theory—but at what cost?

27
"Don't drink and drive means juice, too."

little girl drinking juice in the back seat of a car while her brother eats lunch
Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Sorry, kids: The law's the law. And seriously, have you ever tried to get grape juice out of beige upholstery?

28
"They won't serve you coffee until you're 18."

Red-haired woman smiling and drinking coffee
Shutterstock

Frappuccinos are definitely not coffee-flavored milkshakes, anyway.

29
"I have to take a bite to test for poison."

asian mom eating ice cream with young daughter
Shutterstock/PR Image Factory

Of course it's not that we wanted to order a grilled cheese and French fries ourselves. We're just trying to protect you.

30
"This isn't actually chicken/turkey, it's just called that."

young asian boy eating fried chicken
Shutterstock/Littlekidmoment

"Pear" and "pair" sound the same but are different things, too! Don't overthink it! Language is so funny!

31
"The crust of the bread is where all the vitamins are."

bread with crusts cut off
Shutterstock/rsooll

Everything that's good for you ends up in the crust when you bake bread. Oh, you want to know how that works? Uh, it's very scientific and probably too complicated to explain.

32
"I'm going to tell Santa."

young girl sitting on santa's lap
Shutterstock/lizardflms

When the threat of a time out or loss of privileges won't cut it, there's a trump card: Tell your kids you'll let Santa Claus know about their bad behavior and enjoy just how quickly they turn things around.

33
"The Elf on the Shelf will tell Santa everything."

elf on a shelf
Shutterstock

Don't feel comfortable telling your kids that you'll inform the big guy about their bad behavior? Thanks to the genius of the Elf on the Shelf, you've got the perfect scapegoat.

34
"This won't hurt."

young asian girl getting shot or vaccine from doctor
Shutterstock/A3pfamily

Technically speaking, getting a shot will probably always hurt. But since it's your responsibility to keep them healthy, they can find out on their own time that you may have been stretching the truth a bit.

35
"The water turns purple if you pee in the pool."

three young children swimming in a pool
Shutterstock

Nobody wants their kid to pee in the pool. So, maybe they'll eventually see through this one—but until that time comes, at least you can feel comfortable doing the doggy paddle next to them.

36
"We found you in a cabbage patch."

young white girl peering into cabbage
Shutterstock/ Anita Patterson Peppers

The sex talk can be confusing or even scary for kids. But imagining a tiny baby plucked from under a cabbage leaf? Adorable!

37
"The stork brought your little sister."

mom holding newborn baby at the hospital
Shutterstock

She was definitely not the result of months of careful planning and a few rounds of IVF—or a handful of New Year's Eve cocktails.

38
"Your nose grows when you lie."

asian toddler with pigtails pinching nose
Shutterstock/MZ Stock Photo

Tell them this one and watch them rush to cover their face when they assure you that they've already brushed their teeth.

39
"The TV stops playing kids' shows at night."

father and son watching tv
Shutterstock

What are they going to do, call Disney and ask?

40
"It's illegal to see R-rated movies before you're 18."

young father covering daughter's eyes while watching movie
Shutterstock/Prostock-studio

It's not like they really want to watch Marriage Story, anyway.

41
"Chuck E. Cheese's is only open for birthdays."

chuck e cheese exterior
Shutterstock/George Sheldon

Even Charles Entertainment Cheese needs a break sometimes!

42
"The toy store is closed today."

young white boy looking in the window of a toy store
Shutterstock/Anna Jurkovska

It's amazing they stay open keeping such weird hours, which never happen to coincide with when kids are out of school!

43
"This isn't a toy store, it's a toy museum."

asian mom and son shop at toy store
Shutterstock

No touching! And definitely no buying the priceless works of art!

44
"They don't make batteries for that toy anymore."

young white girl playing with electronic toy with father
Shutterstock/Phovoir

The joys of a permanently-silenced toy cannot be overstated. And as long as you keep them away from the battery aisle at the grocery store, they'll never be the wiser.

45
"My phone doesn't have any games on it."

child on phone back-to-school tips what screen time does to your children's eyes
Shutterstock

I mean, it's not like they'd really enjoy Scrabble, anyway.

46
"This is monster spray."

mother and daughter looking under bed with flashlight
Shutterstock/fizkes

Half of parenting is about managing your little ones' fears. And if that means putting some water in a spray bottle so your kids can fend off the Boogeyman, so be it.

47
"If you don't take a bath, moss will grow behind your ears."

two white babies taking bath
Shutterstock/Romrodphoto

Sure, their ears probably won't start to look like the roof of your shed if they don't get a thorough scrubbing—but you're definitely not going to let them find that out.

48
"If you cross your eyes, they'll get stuck that way."

young asian boy crossing eyes and sticking out tongue
Shutterstock/Keith Publicover

More importantly, we're out of medicine for the inevitable headache those hilarious ocular tricks cause.

49
"It's the rule—I read it in the Mommy Manual."

young black mother reading book to son
Shutterstock/fizkes

If it's not in the Mommy Manual, it's just not in the cards, unfortunately. And, uh, no, you can't ever get your hands on a copy—it's out of print.

50
"If you tell the truth, I won't get mad."

little white girl holding broken phone
Shutterstock/Maximumm

The truth will set you free! Unless that truth is that you really did use all of Mom's lipstick for your art project, in which case, you're in big trouble.

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