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15 White Lies Every Parent Tells Their Kids

Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

The cracking sound you hear when you pop your knuckles is caused by gas bubbles popping in your joints. Although studies have shown that this practice could potentially lead to ligament damage, there is no connection between it and arthritis. 

Watching TV damages your vision.

Watching TV damages your vision.

Parents touted this claim to get their children to play outside, but the irony of it is that children’s eyes are better at adjusting focus and less susceptible to eye strain than adults’. So if anyone should refrain from watching TV, it’s the parents themselves! 

Drinking coffee will make you stop growing.

Drinking coffee will make you stop growing.

Most parents probably told their children this because they didn’t want to deal with an over-caffeinated maniac. However, there is absolutely no evidence that coffee stunts growth. Some studies actually suggest it can decrease your risk for certain cancers.

Sneezing with your eyes open will make them pop out.

Sneezing with your eyes open will make them pop out.

The majority of people reflexively close their eyes when they sneeze, so it’s virtually impossible to hold them open anyway. Props to those who try this and succeed. It may be difficult, but there’s no risk of losing your eyeballs. 

Swallowed gum stays in your stomach for seven years.

Swallowed gum stays in your stomach for seven years.

We’re not exactly sure where this myth came from, but it is definitely not true. Gum cannot be digested, but it still passes through your digestive tract just like any other food. If you happen to swallow an entire pack, however, it may cause blockage. 

Your grades in elementary school matter.

Your grades in elementary school matter.

Parents tell their kids this so they won’t slack off in school. In reality, these grades are absolutely meaningless. It’s not a terrible idea to instill this idea in your children, though. It can create good study habits that will carry over into high school.

I'll think about it.

I'll think about it.

If your child asks if they can go to a sleepover you aren’t comfortable with, the easiest way to say no is, “Let me think about it.” It gives you more time to come up with a concrete reason, and their hopes don’t get shot down immediately. It’s a win-win!

Your pet ran away.

Your pet ran away.

Especially for younger children, this lie is a lot kinder than telling them the truth. A child could be scarred for a long time if they knew that their hamster got eaten by the family dog. You should take that one to the grave!

Santa gives naughty kids coal.

Santa gives naughty kids coal.

Threatening children with the idea of Santa is a wonderful way to keep them in line as the holiday season rolls around. We can’t say we disagree with this way of thinking. How else are you going to get the kids to set the table for dinner?! 

You'll catch a cold if you go outside with wet hair.

You'll catch a cold if you go outside with wet hair.

You know how you catch a cold? A cold virus. Leaving your hair damp and walking outdoors could possibly make you feel chilly and may make you sneeze once or twice, but you will not ever actually get sick (we promise). 

Wait an hour to swim after eating, or you'll get cramps.

Wait an hour to swim after eating, or you'll get cramps.

The sentiment behind this one is nice. Parents don’t want their kids to get cramps and drown, but this logic is flawed. Studies have shown that eating before/while exercise can actually reduce the risk of cramps by giving you have more energy!

They don't sell replacement batteries for your toy.

They don't sell replacement batteries for your toy.

Parents probably feel guilty for selling their kids this lie, but most of them would say it’s worth it for their peace of mind. If a toy is obnoxiously loud, there is no shame in pretending that it’s a one-and-done type thing. Your child will forget about it before you know it!

Eating candy will give you acne.

Eating candy will give you acne.

We understand that parents are simply trying to persuade their kids to make healthier choices, but there is no proven connection between junk food and acne. Acne is caused by puberty hormones. They’re going to have to deal with it either way, so you might as well let them have some chips when they’re especially angsty. 

If you cross your eyes they'll get stuck that way.

If you cross your eyes they'll get stuck that way.

Your eyeballs will always return to their original position. No matter how long you try to cross them, the muscles that hold them in place will eventually fatigue. This lie does prevent kids from embarrassing you in public, so it may be worth it. 

Carrots help you see in the dark.

Carrots help you see in the dark.

Yes, the beta carotene in carrots is good for your eyes. Saying that it will help you see in the dark, however, is a total exaggeration. On the other hand, it’s not a bad way to get your kids to eat their veggies.