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Friday 29 September 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Shutterstock/Iryna Inshyna "That ice cream will stunt your growth."
# little white lies
10 devastatingly effective white lies I've used on my kids
Well, MOSTLY devastatingly effective.

AS BBC PRESENTER Dan Walker pointed out last week, nine out of ten parents believe that telling white lies are the secret to a happy life.

And it’s true. In order to survive parenting, sometimes you have to lie – I do it all the time. Here are some of my favourites.

1. “Too much telly will make your eyes turn square”

In its initial stages, this lie is exceptionally effective. My children threatened to put blankets over all screens for a week after I first let this one loose. In reality, square eyes has a short shelf life, so save it and bring it out when you really need it.

2. “If you don’t come with me right now, I will leave you here alone”

Look, we’ve all been there. Your kid is the one in the supermarket, clinging onto one of those ride-on cartoon characters that demand €2 for three minutes of fun, and you HAVE to get home to put the dinner on. I find the addition of a quick about-turn towards the car park directly after issuing the threat to be most effective.

3. “Santa (insert seasonal fictional character here) is watching you”

I break out Santa And The Bold List every August and use it right through to December. If you play your cards right, you can utilise the Easter bunny, tooth fairy and a lesser known mythical creature known as the House Elf to make this one go all year round.

4. “The soother/bottle fairy came and gave it to a new baby”

Best used when living in close proximity to a park with one of those ‘fairy trees’ – AKA a germ-ridden tree where soothers go to die. In the dead of the night, remove said soother or bottle and then bring your kid on a fairy walk to show them how the fairies ‘recycle’ old soothers to get them ready for new babies.

5. “Sweets stunt your growth”

I mean, some would say that this is true. In times of parental anxiety and impending dentist trips I have been known to shriek, “that bag of Haribo is going to make you SHRINK. You’ll never be big enough to play in the GAA final.”

It works periodically.

6. “The wind will change and your face will stay like that”

All kids go through phases of making strange faces. My youngest son practices his face contortions in my sliderobe mirror, and it drives me mad. Whenever the wind whips up around our house I send the warning out to the boys – along with the time-honoured threat “If you stick your tongue out at someone during winter it might fall off.”

7. “The shopping centre police will get you and put you in kid jail”

Just me? I created the shopping centre police when my children were very young and still valued authority. SC Police have become such a phenomenon in our family that my kids reckon they dress like everyone else just to try to catch bold kids out. The boys spend each trip to a big shopping centre trying to guess who is SC Police, and hiding behind me. Bliss.

8. “Your pet goldfish ran away”

Ah Dory. Why did you have to go and die on us? While disposing of a dead pet goldfish it is essential to come up with a believable back-story. Ours couldn’t stand the monotony of our sitting room, so took a dive down the toilet to try to get to the Caribbean, where life is much more exciting.

9. “Maybe if you’re good we’ll do it tomorrow”

Promptly followed by “ask your father/mother”. We all know that parenting is an endurance sport, and in order to survive it, sometimes someone has to take one for the team. In our family, it’s always my husband.

10. “There are no more biscuits in the press”

Except for the dark chocolate digestives that I hid behind the kidney beans and will be consuming without taking a breath once you people have FINALLY GONE TO BED.

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More: 12 solid reasons to ditch the guilt and let your toddler play with your iPad>

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