‘Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
We can all remember that childish playground taunt – but who’d have thought it could be aimed at parents?
Grown-ups are usually inherently good people who teach their children the difference between right and wrong and encourage them to never tell lies to wriggle out of trouble.
But it’s a clear case of, “Do as I say, not as I do” – as being a parent can be flipping hard work and sometimes the plain honest truth just won’t do.
The odd fib or white lie can be the only option for an easy life or a weapon against the constant barrage of questions.
I used to think I was a forthright and honest person as I can’t bear deceit or two-facedness.
However, I was taken aback at the results of a study which revealed a whopping 60 per cent of parents tell porkies to their children on a daily basis.
It made me take a good, long, hard… and honest look at my own “creativity” over the years with our children. I came to the conclusion I’m a big fat liar who should be sporting a long and pointy nose like Pinocchio.
Setting aside any tales relating to those three home invaders who go by the names Father Christmas, The Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny, parenting is a tangled web of harmless fibs which rely on gullibility.
Personally, I blame the parents – our parents I mean – as we are merely repeating history and getting payback for all those lies our own parents spoonfed us.
While I was never told anything as hilariously wicked as the ice-cream man only playing music when he’s run out of ice-creams, my parents certainly reeled off plenty of untruths.
For years, I’d peer into the mirror with an open mouth looking for foliage after my parents said if I swallowed apple pips, a tree would grow inside me.
My mum often said going outside with wet hair would lead to me catching a cold and watching too much TV would damage my eyes.
Speaking of eyesight, one colleague’s mum told him she had X-ray vision to rival Superman and could see through walls after she realised sibling rivalry at the arrival of his little sister meant he was whacking her with toys when he thought no one was watching.
Many cases of parental perjury are food related to try to encourage children to eat their fruit and veg.
I grew up believing eating carrots would give me super eyesight, but despite guzzling more carrots than Bugs Bunny, I’m more short-sighted than anyone I know.
And however many crusts I ate, my hair never turned curly until I had it permed.
I have to admit Hubby and I have been a bit liberal with the truth to discourage fussy eating with our children.
Our banana-detesting son has happily scoffed slices of banana and toffee cake proclaiming how delicious the “toffee cake” was after we omitted to tell him about the “banana."
And our daughter used to love mayonnaise until a bad experience in a cafe and now won’t touch anything containing it. However, she has eaten tuna mayonnaise sandwiches after we’ve told her it’s “tuna and sandwich sauce.”
Sometimes lying is done to protect our children from the harsh realities of life.
When our twosome were very young, we told them our pet rabbits had “gone on holiday” – the bunnies still haven’t returned from their round-the-world jaunt.
But on occasions, fibs fall from our tongues for a quiet life. “Oh, you can’t replace the batteries in that toy.”
Or as one friend’s dad told her, she only had a 2,000-word limit a day and if she went over that, she’d lose the power of speech.
Whenever he fancied a bit of peace and quiet, he’d tell her she was almost at her limit.
When it comes to fabrications, I think you can safely say parents possess incombustible pants!