Tag Archives: Lying

Parenting Fundamentals – Lesson One

Cow Final

By Jack Edwards

Parenting is difficult. It requires numerous skills, not the least of which is gazing into the innocent little eyes of your child and lying. But, unfortunately, not everyone is born with this skill, it takes practice.

When my wife and I were preparing for our first child, we bought a copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care Book.[1] One big problem – nowhere in the book does he explain how to lie to your kids. At first, I thought our copy was missing a page. Did he just forget? Was his editor hung-over the day he proofread the manuscript?

Before any of you purists climb onto your high horses, I’d like to take you on a walk down memory lane. Here is an example of how my parent’s lying to me played a critical role in my development. To do this, I must introduce Brownie the Cow.

I grew up in a logging town.[2] We had a few acres, and my parents bought calves which we raised. We named each one, and my favorite was Brownie, who, not surprisingly, was brown. One day Brownie mysteriously disappeared. Coincidentally, our freezer became brimming with beef. When I asked my mother where Brownie went, she made a critical error – SHE TOLD ME THE TRUTH! The tears flowed like Niagara Falls.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Each time I sat down for dinner, I would tearfully ask, “Is that Brownie?” And my mother answered in a steadfast voice, “No.” Now, that’s what I call responsible parenting.

Later, I was able to observe my oldest sister, put these skills to good use. In her young adulthood, she found herself with two kids and an unruly dog. Now, I cannot state the following with what one might call “actual knowledge,” and I was the one who bought that Brownie story night after night, but I’m pretty sure what I’m about to tell you is another example of “good parental lying.”

One day I visit my sister and the dog is gone. My young niece and nephew explain to me that it went to live on a farm. Keep in mind that this is in Oregon. The zoning laws are draconian. Land use regulations prohibit people from buying a few acres and starting a little farm. As a result, there just aren’t that many farms. So right off the bat, I’m suspicious. I’m young and single at the time and have no kids. I haven’t pondered the importance yet of lying to children. So I express my skepticism to my young niece and nephew. And WHAM, my sister slams into the conversation like a marine hitting the beach at Normandy, strongly attesting to the accuracy of the farm story. Then the kids, sensing that Mom is under siege, chime in with their support. I push back a bit, grilling the kids, then let it go.[3]

So, here is the short and sweet on laying on the baloney to your kids: Keep it tight. Any unnecessary details will come back to bite you later when you mix them up: “The dog’s on the farm.” And, a flat affect greatly enhances believability: “No. It’s not Brownie.” In conclusion, Dr. Spock’s brother Mr. Spock would agree that there are times when lying to your kids is absolutely the right thing to do. In fact, it’s logical.


[1] No, not that Spock. That was “Mr. Spock” from Star Trek. Dr. Spock was Mr. Spock’s younger brother.

[2] Refer to Wikipedia for the meaning of the word “logging” and its role in our nation’s formerly robust economy.

[3] “No,” they had not seen the farm. “No,” they were not told the location of the farm.

Tips for Lying – Lesson 1

Final Fibbing or No

Every major civilization and religion throughout history has frowned on lying.  And I wholeheartedly agreed – generally speaking, that is.  Nevertheless, I was taught that if you are going to do something, do it well.  Take pride in it.  Give it 100%.  It is in this spirit, we begin Lesson 1.

Whether you are 14 or 40, few skills are more important than effectively lying to your parents.  Remember, not everything is about you.  Not everything is about your needs.  There are times when you need to put your parents’ wellbeing ahead of your own.  Is it really going to do them any good to know the real reason you didn’t get home until 3:00 a.m.?  Do they really need that kind of aggravation?  I’m not saying you should lie often, but the occasional white lie, or fib as it were, has its place.  Think of it this way – it’s a win-win.

Tip #1.  When concocting a whopper designed to relieve you from attending school for the day, attention to detail is critical.  For example, never feign illness by simply saying: I think I got food poisoning.  While food poisoning is an excellent choice of illness, because unlike the flu, you can announce later in the day that you have recovered and go out with friends, the lie lacks the necessary specificity.  Your parents are far more likely to believe you, and grant you that much needed day off, if you say instead: I think I got food poisoning from the expired Tuna Helper I ate last night.  This statement directs your parent’s attention away from you, and to the Tuna Helper.  And even if they don’t think the Tuna Helper is the culprit, they will immediately begin painstakingly cataloging everything you’ve eaten in the last 24 hours.  The key is to get them thinking about anything other than you, and how completely un-food-poisoned you appear.  And also why all your dramatic retching, to put it bluntly, isn’t producing any actual vomit-like substances.

Tip #2. You may have heard the old adage that the three most important things in buying real estate are location, location, location.  A similar principle applies to the delicate art of lying.  Please write this down: “Deny, deny, deny.”  Practical examples:

  1. You are confronted with three eye witnesses accusing you of lying?  Deny, and state emphatically and without hesitation, “They must really hate me.”
  2. You are confronted with incontrovertible video recorded evidence that you are lying?  Deny, and say while scratching your chin in contemplation, “Wow, I guess they really can doctor any electronic recording these days.”
  3. You are confronted with DNA evidence linking you to the scene of a crime?  Deny, and reveal your darkest secret, “I have an identical twin who was stolen at birth.”

Homework (due prior to our next lesson):

Develop and successfully implement a detailed and believable lie which gets you out of attending an unpleasant family function, such as visiting Great Aunt Jennie at the old folks’ home.  Note: Up to half credit available if you are caught lying, but effectively deny it.

Next lesson:  Tried and true methods to land your dream job by lying on your resume.  Bonus material: How to expand on that lie during your interview.

Thank you for enrolling in this course!  Trust me, these techniques really do work.  Would I lie to you?

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