Sweet little lies

Published 10:36 pm Thursday, October 30, 2008

I’m starting to feel a wee bit guilty about how much I lie to my children.

It’s a cycle, really.

My great-grandmother told my grandmother that the freckles on her nose were angel’s kisses.

My grandmother told my mother that a watermelon would grow out of her ear if she accidentally ate one of the seeds.

My mom told me that Santa Claus knew my every indiscretion and wouldn’t bounce down our chimney on Christmas night to deliver gifts if I didn’t sail straight. (If I had been a little smarter as a child, I might have recanted with, “but we don’t have a chimney.”)

Now, since newer generations are apt to build on the tales of their ancestors, I happen to be the lyingist liar of the bunch.

A few weeks ago, I came up with a doozy and my sweet little 4-year-old swallowed it whole.

Sometimes kids misbehave. Beating them isn’t an option anymore.

I lie. It works.

My son got his Halloween costume early. He has a serious obsession with Spiderman, so a recent trip to Target resulted in a costume. The kid is so in love with the thing, he would wear the mask to bed if I would let him.

Anyway, during one of his naughtier nights, I took the mask and quickly slipped it in my pocket, threatening to take it back to the store if he didn’t start behaving. Before I knew it, I was hiding the mask somewhere else and telling him that I put it in my “magic pocket,” and it would only return when he started being nice.

When he asked me breathlessly over and over and over again,




I told him that the magic pocket would only reveal the mask’s location when he straightened up.

He did, and I fulfilled my promise.

I can’t figure out why we, as parents, feel the need to lie so much to our children. Do we want to protect their innocence? Are we exasperated at their many questions and find it’s the only creative outlet we have left? Or does it just plain work in so many ways?

It turns out that the “magic pocket,” despite its guilt-inducing properties, is a highly effective tool in combating disobedience — at least temporarily.

The magic pocket isn’t the only lie I tell, unfortunately.

While I am unloading my guilty conscience, I must admit that I have told my sons that:

I have Santa’s cell phone number.

Candy tastes horrible (this was tested and disproven, by the way).

The television stops working after 9 p.m.

The list and the conspiracy goes on and on.

Every once in awhile I lie to my children for personal gain, too, although I’m not proud to admit it.

I’m taking them trick-or-treating tonight in Franklin.

Don’t be surprised if you hear me tell them that Snickers candy bars are disgusting. I love those things.

JENA PASSUT is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her e-mail address is jena.passut@tidewaternews.