Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lying Parents

Petra posted the following parenting tip last week: "LIE TO YOUR CHILDREN."1

The post reminded me of a mega lie my wife made up when our daughter was little. My wife invented a story about an evil witch that kidnaps misbehaving children. "The Pocketbook Woman," as we called her, sneaks around the neighborhood looking for misbehaving children because they taste better than nice sweet children. She was called "The Pocketbook Woman" because one day my wife was cleaning out a hall closet and came across an old black pocketbook that she didn't want. So she set it on the kitchen table as a reminder to toss it out. But our daughter happened to see it and for some reason became terrified of it. I guess our daughter hadn't been behaving very well that day; otherwise when our daughter asked about it, my wife probably would'nt've told her that "it belongs to the pocketbook woman who stopped by looking for you. She wanted to take you home with her. She really likes children that don't listen to their mommies."

The dramatic improvement in behavior would've even impressed John Rosemond.  We've invoked "The Pocketbook Woman" occasionally when nothing else would get through to her.  Now that she's eleven years old, however, our daughter is likely to take us up on the offer to live with that woman.

What lies did you (or do you) tell?  What lies did your parents tell you?

1The Wise Young Mommy Speaks--Parenting Tip # 1: Lying to Your Children is Good for Them


Delirious said...

I didn't really teach my kids that there was a tooth fairy, but they had heard it from someone and believed in it. I just told them to put their tooth in a cup of water on the kitchen counter/ window sill, and they would get money. But my problem was that I kept forgetting to put the money in. They would come in and ask why the tooth fairy didn't bring them money for their tooth. So I told them that sometimes it takes a few days.

I tried telling my oldest child that there is no santa claus when she was quite small, but she wouldn't listen to me. She wanted to believe. So I just let her believe, and rationalized my lie by telling myself that Santa does exist in us. :)

Anonymous said...

My father was the authority figure, no two ways about it. My mother brought us four siblings up, by and large by herself. The bogey man for us was our father. Just to tell us that our misbehaviour will be reported to our father was enough.

None of us siblings, after becoming parents, have ever used any such ruse with our children. They seem to have been brought up quite well for all that!

Anonymous said...

My MIL gave our daughter a small Tooth Fairy pillow. It was like a large pin cushion with a small pocket that the tooth (or a quarter) would go into. It also had a strap sown onto it, so it could be hung on the doorknob.

Eventually, she decided to stop using that pillow and placed the tooth under her regular pillow. That didn't matter. She slept so soundly that I could pick up the pillow (with her head on it) and fish around for the tooth. I was almost brazen about it.

The biggest problem was that we lived in an affluent neighborhood. She had classmates that the tooth fairy would give like five friggin' dollars to. Naturally they'd brag about it, and it was necessary to lie still more and say that the extra money was intended to make up for the fact that the childrens' parents were mean and smelled bad.

I still have the teeth I collected.

Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Hi rummuser:

I do remember the long wait for Father to come home to hear about how awful I was. It was dreadful.

Now that I'm a father, I'm sure he dreaded it, too.

Thanks for commenting!