Social Question

buckyboy28's avatar

Is it okay to lie to your kids?

Asked by buckyboy28 (4961points) October 18th, 2010

I saw this commercial today, and it kinda bothered me. It has a daughter looking for a shirt in her closet but it’s not there. She asks her mother if she borrowed it and the mother tells her “It’s not my style”. Cue the flashback of the mother partying the night before and staining the shirt. Then she gets the stain out with Tide, and the stain is gone. Then the daughter miraculously finds the shirt back in her room, and the mother has a sense of satisfaction on her face.

Is there a bit of a double standard here? It makes it seem like it’s okay for parents to lie to their kids, but then you see those “Truth” PSAs which say that kids should never lie to their parents (granted it’s about drugs).

I know that drugs and shirts are completely unrelated, but it really sort of bothered me.

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44 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

I, too, saw that commercial and had the same feelings. first, i would not trust that woman if she took a pledge to tell the truth. i know its just a commercial, but it sets a really bad tone for adults that lie to their children.

No, tell the truth. bad mamma.

Good question. john

sleepdoc's avatar

I think we are becoming more adept in society at rationalization. It is common place and acceptable to do things if we can justify why we do them. I think this commercial is just the advertising industry catching up with where society is living. Unfortunate in my view.

ucme's avatar

Well we promote the idea of Santa Claus, so yeah little white lies are fine when all’s said & done.

john65pennington's avatar

Sleepdoc, no offense, but this commercial is just lieing, not rationalization. parents do not lie to their children. if discovered, the children will use it against their parents….....forever.

wundayatta's avatar

All I know is that I try my best to not lie to my kids. There are somethings I don’t tell them because I don’t think it’s appropriate for them to know, but other than that, I want my kids to know that when I say something, I mean it.

buckyboy28's avatar

@ucme I’m a Jew. I wasn’t lied to. :^)

iamthemob's avatar

I think it’s completely fine to lie to your children, if it’s pretty clear the truth will cause more harm than good. This is true in all close relationships.

My mother didn’t tell me the truth about an uncle’s suicide until I was old enough to understand it. She also told me why she lied initially. I was both able to understand why she lied in the first place, and was able to see her more as a person willing and able to make her own mistakes.

The situation in the commercial, of course, would not be a good situation for lying. ;-)

ucme's avatar

@buckyboy28 Oh the we I referred to meant the wife & I, with my kids!

Dutchess_III's avatar

That commercial is really offensive. No, you don’t lie to your children to “get out of trouble.” I think it’s OK, however, to deflect certain issues or questions to protect them, such as not telling them all the real reasons you and their father divorced.

buckyboy28's avatar

@ucme I was just yanking your chain.

sleepdoc's avatar

@john65pennington…. sorry maybe I didn’t express what I meant well. Many people now commonly do things, which could be called in to question on the basis of right/wrong, ethics, moral values, whatever it is we use to make decisions. But more and more often people are ok going against what they typicall would tell people is right or wrong if they can justify their aciton.

ucme's avatar

@buckyboy28 Is that what that was? Thought I felt a slight tugging.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is making me think of so many other things we see on TV that are potentially destructive. Remember the violent mother on those Burger King commercials? Her hair is all disheveled, her face is red with rage and she’s screaming “I’ll get you King!!!” like some sort of gangsta wanna be. Through it all she has her kids in the car.

cookieman's avatar

I don’t believe in lying to my daughter. I try to practice age appropriate information distribution. I’m guilty of divulging too much sometimes, but I’d rather her hear the truth from me.

As for Santa Claus and such, we had this recent conversation (she’s eight):
Her: “Is Santa Claus real?”
Me: “Do you believe he’s real?”
Her: “Sometimes. Do you.”
Me: “No, but I wish he was sometimes.”
Her: “Yeah…I’m kinda on the fence about it.”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

In general, no. I like that idea of age appropriate info’ distribution though. The commercial is stupid to me though like it promotes, no harm done if you don’t get caught which causes sooooo many problems in real world relationships.

johlucmoha's avatar

I have seen that commercial it is a turn off. It creates a picture for children to
lie. The commercial is sending out mix signals to our kids.
How can you punish your child for lying when you see the parent lying on national
tv in a commercial?

john65pennington's avatar

2nd Answer. my wife has a stepbrother. all of his life, his family lied to him about being adopted. he knew he did not look or act like any of his siblings. the family kept this secret and lied to him, until he turned 21. i will never forget that day, when he was told that he was adopted. i wish i could describe the look on his face for you. after being told the real truth, he abandoned his family and left the state. to date, he has never forgiven them for lieing to him for so many years. they should have told him he was adopted, when he turned age 13, not 21.

Loried2008's avatar

Not okay to lie. Period. Especially to your kids. You are setting an example for them, so if you lie don’t expect them to tell the truth when you want it from them. I’ve seen that commercial too it’s ridiculous.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@cprevite Excellent! She really said she was on the fence? That’s hilarious.
I remember when the year came when the kids wouldn’t let me stay in the room when they hid eggs from the Easter Bunny. Following some discussions I had with another person (who felt I was totally wrong for LYING to my kids!) I asked the kids if they remembered that (They’re grown now, kids of their own.) They said of course they remembered it! I said, “Did you know then that I was the Easter Bunny?”
Corrie said, “Wellllll…..we knew you were in cahoots with him anyway!” :)

JustmeAman's avatar

I would say lying is a harsh term and no you should not lie. Protecting and raising your children often times means to keep things from them and in time it will come out when they can handle it. I find it very interesting that this issue is answered so strongly when there are so many other things like violence and decaying morals that are shown on TV far worse than this commercial.

perg's avatar

I hate that commercial because not only does the mom lie to her daughter, she’s apparently gone into her daughter’s closet without asking. Can’t a kid get just a little respect for her privacy?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@john65pennington If I kid is adopted it should just be a matter of fact from the day they’re brought home. To be told something like that at 13 or 20 or 50 would be shocking.

Loried2008's avatar

@john65pennington Oh wow! That’s so wrong. I have an adopted sister and she has known since she was old enough to understand.

buckyboy28's avatar

@JustmeAman I think I’m so put off by this commercial because it is so bizarre. You can see violence and decaying morals in shows, but they are often clearly labeled as fiction and with the proper rating. This is a commercial, which means it is out in the open, and also I find that the whole idea of lying to your daughter about a shirt seems so unnecessary and foolish.

cookieman's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Yeah, I was cracking up.

Not telling someone they’re adopted is pretty despicable. My daughter is adopted from China and my wife and I are goofy white people. Prior to leaving for China, my little old Italian mother-in-law says to us (in broken English), “Don’t tell her she’s adopted, it’ll cause trouble.” – My wife and I just shook our heads.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@JustmeAman: You’re right, there are worse things such as blatant violence and generally accepted moral breaches but a commercial like this gets digested as, “harmless funny” and slides down the slippery slope. I dislike it as much as “canned laughter” on tv shows, it’s a slow drip of idiocy.

JustmeAman's avatar


Yes that is how society changes by just letting little things in to question current moral values and slowly it becomes excepted as being normal. This is just another example of just that.

cazzie's avatar

My ‘almost 6’ year old thinks I can see through walls and have eyes on the back of my head and that I hear EVERYTHING. I think that’s just fine with me.

He did catch me out on a stupid story I made up about the ‘dry night’ fairy. I left a toy under his pillow after he reached a goal number of dry nights and told him that stupid fib. I was not careful about something I said a couple of weeks ago in the car to my husband and he busted me. You could see he was sort of laughing about it, but trying to be angry and mad. I’m lucky my kid has a great sense of humour because, at the time he said he’d never forgive me, (though a kind of angry smirk), now, we laugh about it and he said he only believed it ‘when he was little’ but not now. No… you shouldn’t really lie to your kids about stuff. I’m dreading when he finds out about Santa. Oh.. the betrayal.

ratboy's avatar

I’m with @ucmeSanta Satan will get you if you do.

ucme's avatar

Okee dokee @ratboy…....or should that now be hellboy!?!

CMaz's avatar

The example just shows a week mother that girl has.

Her mother (who bought the clothing) being nothing more then her daughters bitch.

Oooo i’m scared to tell my daughter I was wearing her clothing. She might ground me, or be mean to me. I am soooo scared.

Her daughter is luck that she did not find it between the mattress with cum stains all over it.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Yes I hate that commercial. I don’t want my daughters to see that and think “Hmmmm”. I’m already dreading the whole “Santa” thing, I don’t need my kids thinking I lie to them about things every day. But with all of the media presenting parents who lie cheat and steal, it’s just going to get worse from here. I can’t bear to think about the damage the media can do to my relationships with my daughters.

Loried2008's avatar

My parents told me the truth when I asked them if Santa was real. For that I am thankful :)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Parent takes money on the sly from kid’s savings account with the intentions of replacing it
Kinda bad, I think.

Parent takes money on the sly from kid’s in-room stash with the intentions of replacing it.
Really bad, I think.

Parent takes money on the sly from kid’s savings account with the intentions of replacing it. It doesn’t get replaced. Years go by and the parent doesn’t tell until it’s discovered by the kid who wants to buy something signifigant. The parent says as the parent then it was an option to put money in the account and not a given to never access it themselves for their own use.

WTF but it happens all the time and parents rationalize and justify. To me it’s a slippery slope. It’s not thieving, it’s not an obligation but it makes for a lot of misery.

Loried2008's avatar

@Neizvestnaya My parents did something similar. They told me they would get me a car if I worked when I was 16–17 (2006–2007) and give them all the money for bills. Guess who’s STILL paying for the car? ... Me.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Loried2008: My parents did the same with my savings account they paid into, my grandparents paid into and I paid into over the years. It was supposed to go towards financing college. Oops. I am a long time removed from the disappointment but it definitely bugs my parents more. I often wonder if they’d had a family meeting and discussed needing the money for what they did, how would we all feel now?

nebule's avatar

no I don’t think it is…ick… lying to your kids = lying kids

xxii's avatar

Never okay to outright lie to your kids.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

You shouldn’t lie to anyone, your kids being no different. But sometimes one has to lie and sometimes we have to lie to our kids – you just have to make that tough call and keep it to a minimum. Example: when my oldest asks him why his bio dad doesn’t come, I don’t tell him ‘because he’s a deadbeat who doesn’t care to’ – instead, I say ‘your dad loves you very much and wishes he can be with you but is working today.’ And I feel fine with this lie, for now. When he’s older, he’ll already know the answer.

Blondesjon's avatar

There are no absolutes in life. As much as everyone hates to hear it there are times in life when lying and other actions we find distasteful are indeed necessary. You do what you can and hope that you’ve done right.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t think it’s OK to lie to anyone, ever.

mrrich724's avatar

No. Why would you do something to your children that you SHOULD be teaching them NOT to do?!

Also . . . if they find out, you run the risk of losing that much respect from them. I know that when my elders (who are supposed to be the more experienced and mature folk who can DEAL with the truth) lied to me, I definitely lost a little respect.

Supacase's avatar

It depends on the age of the child. There are absolutely things I do not tell my 5 y/o because I don’t think the information is appropriate. I have had to rely on the little white lie from time to time. For example, instead of telling her someone was in the hospital for a suicide attempt, we told her they had a heartache.

And, for those who say we should not do something we are teaching them not to do… well, I actually am teaching my daughter that there needs to be a filter on what she goes around telling people.

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