How to lie to your kids: a beginner’s guide

People lie for different reasons. Some lie to get ahead in life, some to cover things up and for a select few it’s simply to appease the whiny, naggy voice in your ear that constantly demands your attention. No, I’m not talking about your conscience, I would like to think that regulars on this site will have dispensed with such inconveniences long ago. I am talking about those satanic, ankle biting little swine, your kids. Only a few years passed the green poo and sick stage and they seem to delight in bombarding you with an incessant stream of questions and every answer just redoubles the ferocity of the interrogation. Sometimes the only course is to mimic the politicians and just make it up.

The first mistake people make when lying to children is thinking, ‘Hey, they’re just kids – they’ll believe anything!’  This kind of flippant attitude will get you nowhere. Kids love the idea that they’ve outsmarted an adult. If you give up the information too readily they’ll never buy it. The trick is to pretend you’ve let slip an important secret, slyly encouraging them to pursue the matter. Ensure you maintain a façade of reluctance until they’ve eaten up the entire deception like it was yesterday’s birthday cake.

Another key aspect to fooling your keen young whippersnappers is the use of technical language and jargon to appear more clued-up on any given topic. In fact, you’ll notice people use this technique on people of all ages to impress – just listen to any ‘professional’ explaining what he does in detail to the girl next to him at the bar. Ah the bar… where kids’ reign is momentarily adjourned. Anyway, the use of terms such as ‘spherical’, ‘tarpaulin’, ‘HGV’ and ‘concave’ are highly recommended. Don’t ask why, just use them and enjoy brief peace as they scurry off to consult their backup font of information: the internet.

A final tool in the arsenal of any aspiring prevaricate parents is the old fashioned double act. Should the ‘mark’ (or Benjamin or Elizabeth or Sarah etc.) in question be of a particularly wary nature, sometimes assistance is required in order to really truly and positively deceive their prudent young brains. This entails a two-stage procedure. First, one parent must make an abstract allusion to a particular ‘truth’. For example, for an entrenched tooth-fairy skeptic you may try: “Funny that, the washing’s off the line… they’ve obviously been at it again.” The child shall sit, bemused, before biting: “Who’s that mum?” It is then vital to monumentally play it down, “Oh, no one love”. Stage two, as soon as parent 2 enters, they mention the occurrence entirely without prompt: “Washing’s down, did you see?” Before adding, “Must be the tooth fairies again”. Parent 1, shaking their head: “Yeah must be.” And the £2 coin under the pillow shall never be scrutinised again.

To conclude the beginner’s guide to lying to your kids here’s one last tip: if ever in doubt, remember you can always just fall back on, “Well I guess that must mean Father Christmas isn’t real either then?” And give them the look that says, now that would simply be lying.