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The Most Ridiculous Lie I’ve Ever Told My Kid, According to 14 Dads

One said gum-swallowing leads to bouncy poop. Another, that booger picking leading to brain destabilization. These dads get an A+ in imagination.

In general, it’s bad form to lie to your kids. There’s been plenty of evidence to back this up. And it makes sense: When a child knows the truth but the parent lies about it, the child starts to doubt him or herself. Eventually, resentment builds when kids are old enough to know the truth. Within reason, however, a little white lie is fine. For instance, despite the fact that some have argued the contrary, lying about Santa or, say, the tooth fairy won’t do any lasting damage.

This is a good thing, because what parent doesn’t bust out the occasional ridiculous lie to keep their kid safe or, honestly, prevent them from driving you completely insane? Who among us hasn’t hidden an annoying toy or at the very least taken the batteries out of one that wouldn’t stop buzzing and explained that it just stopped working? Who hasn’t fibbed that, yes, sweetie, the ice cream truck plays its music to let everyone know it’s out of ice cream. It happens. And, honestly, it’s fun — and oh-so-necessary — to come up with these creative fibs, as they keep your kids content and prevent you from scolding or saying “no” all the time.

That’s why we asked a variety of dads about the most ridiculous lie they ever told their kids. One said gum-swallowing leads to bouncy poop. Another, that booger picking leading to brain destabilization. Yet another, that he has Santa Claus on speed dial and even created an address on his phone. All of them earn points for creativity.

That I Knew The Stats of My Son’s Toothbrush

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“I was ahead of my time with this one. I told my son that his toothbrush was ‘smart’ – like, connected to my phone, not intelligent – and that it told me how long he brushed his teeth every day. I used to pull up Google Images of charts and stuff to fake him out with. Now they actually make toothbrushes that do exactly what I was lying about. Where’s my cut?” – John, 42, New York

That Wheat Bread Is Made of Chocolate

“I used to tell my kids that wheat bread is brown because it’s made with chocolate. They would ask why they couldn’t taste the chocolate, and I just told them that the bread only used a little bit. I think I sprinkled a little bit of Nestle Quik on it from time to time. Eventually they wised up, but I got them to eat wheat bread for a solid year and a half with that one.” – Matt, 43, Florida

That Santa Was Watching Her Through Security Cameras

“I always relied on Santa to do my dirty work. So I told my daughter that the security cameras she saw in stores and restaurants were linked directly to the North Pole, and that Santa was keeping tabs on how she behaved. I told her to ask a store employee about it. She did, and he played along beautifully. He said something like, ‘Don’t tell anyone, okay? I could lose my job…’” – Josh, 39, New York

That Fairies Are Everywhere

“One thing I learned is that kids respect fairies. There’s the Tooth Fairy, of course. She’s the O.G. But, in our house, we have the Homework Fairy, the Chore Fairy, the Dinner Fairy, and so on. They don’t come around all the time — I couldn’t afford that — just enough to remind my kids that they’re watching. They’re about to grow out of it but, up until now, it’s been a really helpful tactic in motivating them to do things.” – Al, 44, Ohio

That I Had Santa on Speed Dial

“I had the name ‘S. CLAUS’ programmed into my phone for a long time. So, whenever one of my kids was acting shitty, I’d pull it out and hold it up. They saw me swipe through to dial ‘Santa’, as I gave them one last warning, and they shaped up pretty quickly. I did have a real number programmed in there, too, so they could hear it ring. I forget what it was. Some old 800 number or something.” – Neil, 37, California

That I Had a Candy-Finding Phone

“I told my daughter I had an app that would let my phone see into her tummy so I knew if she’d been eating sweets. I kept a pretty good eye on her at the start of this ruse, so I would see what she ate, find a picture of it online, and hold my phone up to her stomach. Once I got her to fall for it, she believed in the X-Ray phone for about two-and-a-half years.” – Bill, 39, Connecticut

That a Chuck E. Cheese Invitation Is Akin to a Letter from a King

“Chuck E. Cheese is invitation only. So, you have to be invited there for a birthday party or something. You can’t just ‘go’. I hate that place. That’s a creepy f$%^ing place.” – Aaron, 37, Illinois

That Swallowing Gum Gives You Bouncy Poops

“I heard this one from another parent, but it worked on my son, too. I told him that, if he swallowed his gum instead of throwing it out, his poops would bounce back into his butt and be stuck there forever. He had his doubts, I think, but I did notice him throwing away his gum after that. To be honest, I don’t know why I thought that was a big deal. Other than possibly choking, swallowing gum does nothing to hurt you.” – Collin, 38, Ohio

That My Son’s Breath Smells Bad When He Lies

“This is a modification of one I read before I became a parent. The old trick was to tell your kids that their cheeks turned red when the lied, with the idea being that they would cover their cheeks to hide the redness, without realizing they were unintentionally ratting themselves out. For my twist, I told my son that his breath got really bad when he lied. So, I would notice him chewing gum, or brushing his teeth at weird times and, sure enough, it was usually before he knew we’d have to talk.” – John, 36, North Carolina

That My Son Has Special, Door-Opening Powers

“The first few times my son came shopping with me, I showed him how to open automatic sliding doors by swiping his hands back and forth. I told him he was controlling the doors, and that they only opened for everyone else because his powers kept them safe. He’s older now but, sure enough, still swipes his hand in front of doors to ‘open’ them.” – Kylen, 38, Ohio

That The Internet Closes at 9PM

“Pretty simple: I was having trouble with an 11-year-old who would not get off the computer or phone. So, I pretended to get a call one day — in front of her — that said the Internet would now be shutting off at 9:00 PM every night. She didn’t believe it. So I drafted and sent a letter, from the cable company. That worked better. To drive the point home, I had two friends over one night, and they pretended like they couldn’t get service after 9 o’clock. Honestly, it only worked for a few months thanks to her friends, but I was proud of the elaborate nature of my scheme.” – Liam, 40, Michigan

That Gross Gardens Grow on Dirty Hands

“My son was — and still is — filthy. He just gets into everything, and tracks it everywhere. Especially with his hands and fingers. So, when he was little, I told him that, if he didn’t wash his hands really well, the dirt he left on them would seep into his skin, and a garden would grow out of his hands in ten years. I’m not sure if he thought that was cool, or not. But, as I started waxing on the perils of having hand gardens — you can’t high-five anyone because they might be allergic to the plants, you can’t play video games because the vines will get tangled in the controllers — he began washing his hands a little more thoroughly.” – Matt, 37, Ohio

That Rocks Grow When You Feed Them

“My son wanted a puppy. I did not. So, I tried to test him with a responsibility exercise that I rigged in my favor. I told him he had to show he was responsible enough to take care of a puppy by taking care of a rock, feeding it and watering it until it grew. The idea here, obviously, is that rocks don’t grow. I’ll be damned if he didn’t water and feed (pieces of deli-sliced turkey, for some reason) that rock every day for about a month. Eventually, after four weeks of wiping up the water and eating bits of turkey to keep the game alive, I was actually impressed with how well he did. He proved his responsibility. I found a bigger rock, swapped it out, and we got a puppy.” – Robert, 43, California

That Picked Boogers Destabilize Your Brain

“My son picked his nose constantly. He was 10 or 11 when this started. So I told him that boogers need to stay in your nose because they help balance your head. If you pick them out, your head will tip over. He didn’t buy it…until I edited the Wikipedia page for boogers (aka: ‘dried nasal mucus’) to say something like, ‘Boogers are necessary for cranial equilibrium, or balancing the head. If boogers are removed manually through the nose, the head becomes destabilized, and may tip in any direction, resulting in injury.’ Once he saw it on there, it was gospel. It’s on the Internet, right? It’s gotta be true!” – Gary, 44, California