Lying to kids

WE SHOULDN’T LIE TO OUR CHILDREN. Obviously. It goes without saying. And yet we do lie to them, with the full approval of society. Father Christmas. The Easter Bunny. The Tooth Fairy*.

In fact lying to children – or, at least, teasing them with false propositions – helps them to grow intellectually, and to realise that the world isn’t always what it claims to be.

These are some of the “lies” I believe it’s OK to tell:

  • Chickens lay eggs, and pigs lay sausages.
  • Wind turbines are giant fans that make the wind. That’s why they’re always going round when it’s windy.
  • Zebras are horses that have been painted with stripes so the farmer knows who they belong to.
  • Electricity pylons are spaceships left behind after a Martian invasion was defeated.
  • Bees make honey and wasps make jam.
  • There’s a parallel universe the other side of mirrors where people exactly like us do exactly the same things.

*When our older son was losing teeth and having them replaced with 50p coins (inflation!) our youngest spotted a major injustice. So he made a cardboard tooth and put it under his pillow before he went to sleep. I replaced it with a cardboard 50p piece.

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