Monday, July 11, 2011

Pants On Fire

So then, we can all agree that lying to children for as long as you can get away with it is good, right?  Wait, I will rephrase.  In order to avoid a fuss/meltdown/tantrum it is perfectly fine to be creative with the truth in order to get your child to do something you need them to do or is good for them.  Better, yes?

I know this is not what you usually hear from parenting "experts," but trust me, this is the way to go.  You only have a limited amount of time in your child's life where they will believe anything you say, and it's important to take advantage of it.  Don't misunderstand me, I don't think you should lie to your child about important things.  It would be wrong to tell your small child that you are still deciding if you are going to keep them or return them for a better-behaved model.  That's just mean.  Funny, and it might work, but too mean.

Do you want your
kid to go to jail?
Don't let him read.
What I am saying is that being a parent is extremely tiring and these people are put on the planet to work against us.  We have to use all the tools in our parenting arsenal to help them grow into lovable, cooperative, non-criminal, well-nourished, employable human beings. 

When kids are small it is much easier to fool them because they don't have a lot of life experience.  They will pretty much go with what you say.  At least the first 3 or 4 times.  As your child gets older, it's a lot harder to sell them on whatever it is you are trying to convince them of.  You know why?  Because they learn to read.  You people who help your kids learn to read at 3 or 4...poor planning.

Allow me to be more specific.  In a past post A Rose By Any Other Name, I gave some examples of how you can re-name food to get kids to eat it.  They don't like unfamiliar words or ingredients.  But if you give something a cool name, then they want it/ might try it.  Food companies try to do this as well.  They try to market a healthy/healthier food by making the package look similar to the original.  This is great - if your kid can't read.  Kraft just came out with a mac and cheese that has cauliflower in it.  It supposedly tastes just as good/the same as its regular mac and cheese.  Awesome.  A serving of vegetables hidden in delicious mac and cheese.  Awesome, that is, if your child doesn't catch wind of the cauliflower.  If even one of your children can read the box and see the word cauliflower, they are going to insist to you (and get siblings to agree) that you can totally taste the cauliflower and that it's yucky.

There is never going to be a scenario where a child sees there is cauliflower, tries it willingly anyway, and then announces "OMG Mom, you're totally right, this tastes just as good."  It. will. never. happen.  Never.    The actual product has to look the same as well.  That "white" wheat bread that tastes perfectly fine with pb & j on it?  No sale.  It is not perfectly white and therefore it tastes different and wrong and is inedible.  You might as well keep your "white" wheat pasta as well.  Or, you can buy it, cook it, and then throw it in the trash.  Your choice.

Do you see these look
nothing alike?  You can't let
them see the box!  Ever!
The only way vegi-enriched anything is gonna sell to a kid is if the box looks EXACTLY the same and there is no mention of anything healthy lurking inside.  That of course poses a problem.  How can a company let you, the parent, know that their product will help you get some actual nutrition into your child without your child knowing?  Secret Codes, that's how.  The company must make a completely identical box with just a little picture or two in the corner.  It will look like package decoration to an unsuspecting energy drain child.  You can look up on line what the symbols mean.  After one or two times,  you'll know the codes and won't have to look them up anymore.  You know, it is truly amazing I have not been snatched up by a marketing company and  paid a gazillion dollars.  My ideas are gold.

Aside from healthy eating, it is important/acceptable to be creative when dealing with a situation where your child may whine or complain or cry and you are not in the mood to hear it.  This becomes harder to do once your child learns math/to tell time, so keep that in mind as you are whipping out your Baby Einstein flashcards.  If something, like a car ride, is going to take a long time, you can tell a small child the ride will take Toy Story 3 and a Sing-A-Long video until you get there.  Problem solved.  An older child may see the road sign that says your destination is 95 miles away.  If he has been able to figure out any point that a mile= a minute, then he's going to know that you are full of crap when you tell him the ride is "about and hour."  If this happens, just insist that your child misread the sign and that it wont take as long at 95 minutes.  Rarely will your kid think to look at the time and keep track that carefully.  And if he does, just tell him he is remembering the wrong time. Bring snacks you wouldn't normally allow as a distraction.

These children are happy in
the car because their
parents loved them enough
to lie to them.
For those of you who feel strongly "honesty is the best policy," perhaps if you realized the importance of happiness and family harmony you would re-think your position.  Picture, if you will, a child refusing to eat his cauliflower mac and cheese.  He gets in the car for a long trip, already crabby and hungry.  You tell him the trip will take almost 2 hours.  You offer an apple as a snack.  Or, you can ride in the car with me and my lied to, but cauliflower-fed, kids and nap peacefully while they watch their videos and don't realize how long they have been in the car until they have run out of videos, chocolate, chips and juice boxes.  


  1. Well, then, I guess my work is done! You seem to have turned out okay.
    Your mother loves you.

  2. what? you didn't come up with any fun or fancy names for anything. "hamburger" "chicken" - how'd that work out for you??

  3. My problem is that I have one that is 15 and one that is six. I can work out a really good lie to tell the little one and the older one will turn right around and tell him "that's not right, here's the truth"

  4. you need to step up the threats to the older one. :)

  5. We've been rockin the reverse psychology lately to great success. I suspect that once TRex enters kindergarten, that trick may be gone. DQ usually falls for the cat is going to eat it or play with it at least two times within a conversation. The cat has never done anything and yet she falls for it every time (unless it means eating more than 2 bites)!

  6. My older child totally ruined my younger child's interest in trying anything new to eat. She'd turn up her nose and he wouldn't eat it.

    She was the toddler who ate an entire jar of junior baby food, THEN spit out every piece of ground meat contained therein! She never ate a piece of ground meat after that, no matter what I called it. Doesn't to this day. I still don't understand how she can prepare meat that tastes so good when she never tastes it herself.


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