White lies and the parents who tell them

Filed under: Big Kids, Tweens, Life & Style, Playground Bureau, Mommy Wars, Home Remedies

We all tell white lies. If we say we don't, to each other and ourselves, we're telling a white lie right then and there. We tell them to other adults, and we certainly tell them to our kids. More often than not, we tell the white variety of the lie to children to get them to do what we want them to do--it's easier than trying to, say, rationalize with them about it. And, for a period of time, anyway, it seems to work. They eat their spinach, stop sitting too close to the TV and are nicer to their sisters.

Several questions about this, though. For one, are white lies any less harmful than the other variety? Secondly, do any certain number of white lies add up to be the other kind of lie, and, if so, is there any sort of statute of limitations on said white lies? And, thirdly, why are these allegedly less harmful, more "innocent" lies noted as 'white'--that's always really annoyed me, because to this writer a lie is a lie is a lie, whatever color you want to paint it. And one lie leads to another, and another, and so on. Until you get caught, that is.

According to a recent article from the Daily Mail UK Online, parents tell their children an average of 3,000 white lies as the kiddies grow up in order to get what the parents want out of the kids. The study also turned up that 66% of parents were willing to resort to lying if other tactics failed. No word on whether simply telling the truth counted as a tactic, although it was further noted that 8 out of 10 parents were willing to lie to their children to protect them from the truth. The upshot? By the time the kids were eight they stopped believing the lies of their parents! The lies considered "white" in this study were those concerning Father Christmas (you know, Santa), sitting too close to the television, and my personal favorite, that if you keep making funny faces your face will stick like that. Boy, have I heard that one before.

What about you? Would you lie to your kid to protect her from the truth? Have you told any "white" lies to your kids that have come back to nip you? Is it OK to tell white lies to your kids even if you do occasionally get the nip?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.