We teach our kids that honesty is the best policy – but when it comes to parenting we all know that there are a few little white lies that we really couldn’t survive without. Here, Rachel Tompkins, runs through the best…
1. “Carrots help you see in the dark”
Any parent who’s faced the dinner-time battle with a toddler who refuses to eat their veg will agree wholeheartedly with this age-old gem. Apparently, it can be traced back to WWII propaganda. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s a pretty harmless little fib that might help you achieve your five-a-day!
2. “Mummy’s not scared of dogs”
A good mum doesn’t pass on her fears to her children, right? That was my aim when I became a mum anyway. So I tried to put to the back of my mind all recollections of me and my mate practically scaling a tree when a dog approached during a picnic. In theory it’s easy, in practice the size and breed of the dog in question can make it slightly problematic at times…
3. “The ice-cream van siren means they’ve run out!”
This little beauty was passed down from my lovely mum. OK so it turns your child into a bit of a social outcast when their mates are old enough to rib them for it, but in the meantime it saves your forking out a fortune for a Mr Whippy every time the sun comes out.
4. “Santa’s watching”
This lie is slightly harder to implement in the height of summer when all talk of Christmas is long-gone. However, this, along with the Easter Bunny, are trusted little lies among many-a-parent in a bid to persuade their children to do as they’re told.
5. “We’ll see”
Uttered umpteen times a day by most mums, this doesn’t really even count as a proper lie because you’re considering ‘it’. Well, that’s what your child thinks anyway! Works in response to most questions that you can’t be arsed to deal with a toddler meltdown about.
6. “The soft-play is closing now”
OK, so just to clarify it isn’t actually closing. But if you don’t manage to drag your sweaty, tired toddler out of this airless hellhole, you’ll be the one closing something – your lips around a nice big glass of wine!
7. “It won’t hurt”
Watching your child have an injection is never nice, but what’s always worse in my book is seeing that look of betrayal on their face when they realise you were lying about the fact it wouldn’t hurt. A doctor friend of mine taught me a good alternative – telling them they’ll just feel something ‘hot’ in their arm/leg. That way they’re prepared, reassured, but don’t feel tricked afterwards.
8. “That’s brilliant!”
Can be in reference to anything; from the hours of flute practice I put my poor mother through as a child, to the undecipherable children’s drawings you’ve dutifully stuck to the fridge door. It’s all about positive praise these days…
9. “It’s past your bedtime”
While it might not always be strictly true, that precious peace at the end of a long day sometimes can’t come soon enough. So what if it is a bit sooner than usual…
10. “Mummy will always look after you…”
Truth is it’ll probably be the other way around when your tiny toddler has transformed into a six-foot brain surgeon (nothing but the best for our kids obviously…). But for the time being you’re the centre of their whole world, and sometimes there really isn’t a nicer feeling.