Whether you have first-hand experience or whether children are something you can’t even imagine being responsible for yet, it’s a common fact that parenting is, well, really hard sometimes. Children can be absolutely adorable, sure. They can also be tantrum-prone, messy, unreasonable, tiny little terrors taking over your house. They ask endless questions and they’re always curious about everything in the entire universe. So, sometimes, even though they want to have endless patience, parents lie. It happens. Maybe it’s been seventeen ‘whys’ in a row, maybe you’re in a rush and just need to get them moving, maybe you need to prevent them from doing something that might be detrimental to their health. Whatever the reason, even the best parent is guilty of telling little white lies every now and then.
And, since many parents have the same issues, there are several common lies that pretty much every kid heard at some point in their youth. Here are 10 lies that your parents probably told you as a kid. Hey, don’t blame them – you probably would do (or have done) the same.
10. Swallowed gum stays in your system
Okay, if you somehow swallow several packs of gum every single day, that might lead to some health consequences – there’s a teeny, tiny, miniscule risk that all that gum will stick to each other and potentially cause a blockage. However, the idea that swallowed gum will stay in your system for seven years, or that it can’t be digested whatsoever, is ridiculous. Your stomach is a pit of acid that digests most things it encounters. The only real reason your parents told you that swallowing gum would leave you with gum in your gut for years to come is because they were worried you’d choke on that gum if you tried to swallow it.
9. Your face will get stuck that way
Every child who has pulled a funny face at some point has heard the same statement from their parents: “if you keep making that face, it’ll freeze that way.” Now, unless your child is a champion who can hold their face in the same position for hours, potentially causing some kind of injury from the mere strain of contorting their faces into a peculiar expression, making a few funny faces is absolutely fine. Your parents just didn’t want you to behave like a hooligan in public, so they told you it’d freeze that way. And, while even kids know it’s a fairly unlikely statement, be honest – it made you think twice when you were still young.
8. Drinking coffee will stunt your growth
As an adult, if you drink coffee, chances are your morning cup of joe is a rare time to unwind and brace yourself for the stress-filled day ahead. Plus, while caffeine can prove a much-needed burst of energy for a fatigued adult accustomed to working long hours in the office and at home, children really, really don’t need to have another source of energy – parents even need to watch their child’s sugar intake to make sure they’re not bouncing off the walls. So, when your parents told you that coffee would stunt your growth and keep you teeny-tiny forever, it was mostly just that they didn’t want a caffeinated child on their hands.
7. Crossing your eyes will make you go cross-eyed
This one takes a page out of the ‘your face will freeze like that’ book. Let’s face it – children just love making weird, silly faces. It makes them laugh, it makes their friends laugh, and everyone can do it. So, it only makes sense that many children add crossing their eyes to their silly expression repertoire. However, parents don’t want their children potentially straining their eyes by forcing them to stay crossed as long as they want, and they also don’t want their child to get into an accident because they were too busy staring at the bridge of their own nose to pay attention to their surroundings. So, they just lie that by crossing your eyes you run the risk of them staying like that forever.
6. You’ll catch a cold if you go out with wet hair
Children don’t really have much patience when they want to do things, so if your child wants to go out in the snow, or the crisp fall air, you bet that they absolutely do not care whether their hair is wet or not. So, many parents have taken to lying that going out into the elements with wet hair is guaranteed to provoke a cold, it really doesn’t have much to do with it. Colds arrive courtesy of a cold virus that children can pick up virtually anywhere. If you go outside with wet hair in very chilly temperatures, the water in your hair might make your strands all frosty, but you don’t really need to expect a punishing cold the very next day.
5. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis
While many individuals find cracking their knuckles to be satisfying and even relaxing, if you’re a parent constantly hanging around a child who cracks their knuckles, chances are that “pop, pop, pop” will get irritating pretty quickly. So, parents scare their children with the claim that cracking their knuckles in their youth will lead to debilitating arthritis when they’re older. The popularity of knuckle-cracking has led to many studies on the habit, and none have found arthritis to be a result of the habit. Constantly putting that type of stress on your joints may eventually cause damage, but a childhood filled with knuckle-cracking doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in for arthritis as an adult.
4. Eating carrots will give you killer night vision
Okay, every child has a super-sized imagination, so it should come as no surprise that children are interested in being able to navigate the mysterious dark. I mean, it’s practically like being a superhero, right? Parents capitalize on this by telling their children eating carrots helps improve their vision at night so that they too can fight crime and defeat the bad guys. Now, this lie is rooted in a bit of truth – carrots have beta-carotene, which helps create vitamin A, which does actually come from carrots, amongst other nutrient-dense foods. However, there are plenty of foods that contain beta-carotene – it doesn’t need to come solely from carrots.
3. The car won’t start if your seatbelt isn’t on
When you’re a parent, one of your primary jobs is ensuring that your kids are safe at all times – and this includes in the car. While most people drive responsibly, things happen on the road, and if a parent needs to brake suddenly or swerve out of the way to avoid something, they don’t want their seatbelt-less kids flying through the windshield. So, many parents tell their children (when they’re younger, at least) that the car won’t start until you have your seatbelt on. This might not work once you have a child who understands how cars work and how things are connected, but for teeny tiny children? They’ll be buckling up in order to get to the toy store ASAP in no time.
2. It has alcohol in it
Most parents are generous, warm-hearted people who want nothing but the best for their children. However, let’s be honest – sometimes, they just want to enjoy a treat all to themselves. Children have their own preferences when it comes to food, but the only thing they know they can’t have is alcohol – that’s just for adults. So, while this may not work on every dish, many parents will explain away a solo treat by saying it contains alcohol. Those brownies? Filled with kahlua. That pudding? Half-rum. Hey, sometimes you got to do what you got to do.
1. The toy store/ice cream shop/movie theatre/etc. is closed
Most parents want to make their children happy whenever possible, but sometimes, you just can’t fit a trip to their favourite spot into your schedule, or quite frankly, you just don’t want to get out of your sweatpants and drive all the way to the nearest toy store to check out that new release. So, many parents simply lie and say that the store in question is closed. Unfortunately, the age of smart phones has made this impossible for kids above a certain age, as they can just look it up and point out that you’re lying. However, if you have a child young enough that they don’t use a phone? Just tell them the ice cream shop is closed. They won’t know.