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18 Funny Lies Parents Have Told Their Kids

Parents need to bend the truth. And sometimes it has hilarious results.

Parenthood requires quick thinking. And sometimes, when they’re at the end of their rope and want their kids to behave or just want to pull a fast one on their offspring, moms and dads throw out some brilliant and hilarious white lies. Yes, these fibs usually serve the purpose of getting a kid to brush their teeth, getting a kid to get out the door, getting a kid to stop asking about when they’ll buy a pet. But they also have another: providing parents both a chuckle and a chance to screw with their kids. From one parents’ stoplight-forecasting powers to another’s very clever way to keep kids quiet in the kitchen, here are 17 stories from adults about the funny — and very believable — lies their parents told them. 

A Fish Eye Fib
“My dad told my sister and I that tapioca was made out of fish eyes. I believed this until I was 17. It is even funnier because my 13-year-old sister (at the time) was the one to break the news to me. I still won’t eat it to this day.” — Jessica 37, Maine

Red Light Magic
“My mom used to stop at a red light and then tell us when it was going to turn green. How did she do that? “I’m magic,” she explained, quite simply and without embellishment. I believed that for years, perhaps even until I got my own driver’s license and understood that you could see the light turn yellow on the cross traffic light, so you would know that it was going to turn green on your side. “— Joryn, 62, Florida

The Brown Cow Conspiracy
“When I was in kindergarten, my Dad told me that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. My family have been ranchers for generations in Texas. Even in kindergarten, I’d spent lots of time helping my Dad on the ranch, even though we lived in a large city. So, I told her, and convinced the rest of the class, that she didn’t know what she was talking about because my Dad knew more about cattle than she did.” — Joe, 42, Texas

Silk ‘Worm’ Pie
“I had a terrible sweet tooth growing up, and my favorite was French Silk Pie. I would ask for it constantly, and could probably eat a whole pie in one sitting. Obviously that isn’t a very healthy habit, so my dad put an end to it by telling me French Silk Pie was so delicious because of the “silkworms” in it. Being seven and highly gullible, it grossed me out so much that I never asked for it again. I only found out about the white lie many years later when someone ordered a slice at dinner, and I asked them how they could eat it knowing there were worms in the pie.” — Frances, 26, Tennessee

Chopsticks and Hiccups
“Until I was 30, I believed that if I put chopsticks on my head I could stop my hiccups. I realized later on that it’s a Vietnamese belief and tactic which my mom used to distract me from my hiccup bouts.”  — Janil, 47, Pakistan

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The Thumb Test
“My mom used to do this thing where she’d hold our thumbs to see if we were lying. “Let me hold your thumb,” was always her response to me saying something sketchy. As an adult, I figured this had some scientific basis. We probably tremble when we lie, or our pulse picks up, but I found out a few years ago that it was a total sham — it just scared us into confessing.” — Amy, 36, New York

The Great Germ Migration
“They told me I have to wash my hands before I eat, because the germs will crawl down my fork into my food. I was 19 when I realized that was fake. “— Cassidy, 23, New York

Thunder Bangs
“My parents told me that thunder was created by clouds banging together.  I believed that until I spoke about it in front of my 8th grade science class.  The teacher and the class laughed so hard at that. I didn’t realize until that moment that it wasn’t true.” — Katie, 52, California

The Pineapple Allergy
“My mother is allergic to pineapple and she has a strong reaction, so she always told me that I was also allergic to pineapple. The reality was that she never bothered to look if I really was allergic. So I tasted pineapple when I was early 20’s. Since then I never believed her on anything.” — Abe, 26, Texas

Crusty Bread, Curly Hair
“As a kid, my parents (primarily my mother) told me that if I ate the crust of the bread from my sandwiches, I would get curly hair. I believed this until about high school.” — Caitlin, 38, Illinois

Technology During Dinner? Sour Stomach
“This is not a white lie as much as a Latin lie. But my parents told me that using any technology (television, phone) while eating a meal would destroy my digestive system.” — Celeste, 25, Texas

The Refinanced Couch
“When I was about 8 years old, my parents bought a new couch. We were not allowed to bring food or drinks into the living room to prevent stains on the couch, and over the following years if my brothers and I were rough housing around the couch, our parents would tell us “The couch isn’t paid off yet.” When I was 27 years old, my mom made a reference that the couch wasn’t paid off yet when their dog was jumping on it. I stopped in my tracks, became deeply concerned and asked, “Is everything alright? Do you need any help from me financially?” She admitted that they paid for the couch with cash, and they just used that a way to keep us from damaging it. It’s still an ongoing joke between the family to this day.”— Sara, 28, North Carolina

The Wild Turtles
“My mom told me it was illegal in the state of North Carolina to have a pet turtle. I would have to find one in the wild if I wanted one. I didn’t realize that was bullshit until like college.” — Kit, 27, New York

The Cross-Eyed Fears
“My mom told me if I went cross-eyed and someone slapped me in the head, I’d be stuck like that forever.” — Rob, 24, New Jersey

Carrots and Glitter
“My mother always told me that eating cooked carrots would make my eyes sparkle.” — Amarri, 42, California

The Indoor Car Light Lie
“My parents told me that it was illegal to have the indoor car light on while driving. I didn’t realize it was a lie until not long ago. I saw a meme joking about that exact lie and I was like ‘Shit, that’s not actually illegal.'” — Vinny, 25, New York

The Exploding Pressure Cooker
“My grandma used a pressure cooker pretty often in the kitchen and she used to tell my cousins and I if we were loud while the pressure cooker was on then it would blow up the house. Turns out she just wanted us to be quiet.” — William, 26, Kentucky

The ‘Mommy Bite’
“My parents told me that the first bite of pizza was the ‘mommy bite.’ I thought that was a ‘thing’ for way too long. Safety may have been the pretense but the reality is that she was like, always on diets and needed a taste of the good stuff.” — Jay, 24, New York

The Cat Allergy
“My dad told me that he was severely allergic to cats, which is why we couldn’t have one. He’s not allergic, not even a little bit. He just didn’t want us to get another pet. I found this out like last year when my mom adopted a cat. “— Christine, 32, Connecticut