People Share the Lies They Realized Their Parents Told Them as Kids

By Andie Wood
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Big Think

When it comes to hard jobs, “parent” is almost certainly one of the hardest. After all, you’re expected to somehow feed and clothe an essentially helpless human until they are at least 18 years old, all while preparing them for life as a productive member of society and supporting them emotionally and psychologically along the way.

At the same time, you’re going to be exhausted and busier than you ever believed possible, because you still have a job and your own personal life to worry about. So, is it any wonder that instead of telling your children the absolute truth about everything all the time, you sometimes fudge the truth? You create an inventive fiction to fill the gap in reality or just because your children will believe anything, and that’s pretty funny. Today, we’re hearing from 25 Redditors about lies told in childhood that they only really figured out when they grew up.

The Magical Music Truck

Just thought of another one. When I was really young, during the summer a particular truck would come around town playing music. My mom told me it was simply a music truck that went around to make kids happy over the summer. With no reason to chase after it, I had no idea that there were pictures of ice cream on the side. One day I was at my neighbor’s house when the “music truck” came by, and my neighbor gave my friend and I a dollar and told us to go get ice cream. I was confused, but I followed my friend… and found out the truth.

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Spoon University

I ran home and told my Mom, but I didn’t actually confront her because I didn’t realize she had lied. I just thought she was uninformed. Occasionally, she’ll tease me with my famous line, “YOU’RE NOT GONNA BELIEVE THIS! THE MUSIC TRUCK SELLS ICE CREAM!”

A Long-Held Belief in Lollipops

This wasn’t so bad for me, but it traumatized my sometimes ditzy younger sister, kind of along the lines of Santa, Tooth Fairy, etc. When my cousins and I were younger, we always looked forward to visiting our grandparents for the inevitable sugar rush. The best part without a doubt though was the “Lollipop Tree.” We would run out and get to pluck a half dozen or so lollipops each that we eventually realized were just taped onto the low-hanging branches of the only tree in his backyard. Once my Grandma passed away, my Grandad moved into a condo, and the tree was left behind.

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Blogspot

Skip forward about 8 years, the first generation of grandkids are visiting, and my Grandad goes about his usual habit and starts taping lollipops to the tree in the yard of our house. My sister sees this and just about cries, yelling “YOU MEAN YOU MADE THE LOLLIPOP TREE?!?” She was 16. I couldn’t stop laughing for 20 minutes.

She Used Them for Cover

Growing up, my Mom insisted that we had to wait for the second ring of the telephone before we answered it; otherwise, it would mess up the call. She would get angry to the point of shouting if we picked it up on the first ring. I didn’t heed her insistence when she wasn’t home, and sometimes when I picked it up on the first ring, there wouldn’t be anyone there, so I thought maybe there was some truth to it.

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Mirror

I figured out 12 years later that she was having an affair, and when the guy wanted her to call him, he would call our house, let it ring once, and hang up, so she could call him back discreetly. She’s still with the guy (my parents are divorced) and he still does this TO THIS DAY. Old habits die hard.

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Eyes Where They Shouldn’t Be

My mother told me when I was about four that she had eyes in the back of her head, and that all mothers had them. I can remember sneaking into her room when she was sleeping and trying to brush her hair back to find them.

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Twitter

The Most Frightening Talk in History

During "the talk," my parents told me that the reason guys use condoms is that there is acid inside every female that burns off the penis… I believed this for years.

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Video Blocks

The Gizzard Was Gone!

When I was growing up and didn’t want to eat something, my grandfather would say, “Eat it… it’s good for your gizzard.” I’d think to myself, “Well, I don’t want my gizzard to go bad…” and just start downing whatever was on my plate.

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ThoughtCo

Fast forward to 7th grade science class when we’re learning about the human body. I asked the teacher in front of thirty classmates, “Where’s the gizzard??!”. The only thing that makes classmates laugh that hard is when a teacher tells them it’s okay by laughing to the point of tears with them. I learned a lot that day… about science… about not trusting adults… about shame.

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The Whitest of Lies

I took breakdancing lessons when I was 8, and I was horrible. The class was supposed to have a dance recital to show of all our “moves.” Well, suddenly, I no longer was going to class every Tuesday. My parents told me the classes had ended. Total lie. I was so bad that the teacher did not want me to ever come back. I found this out 20 years later by accident when my mom said, “Remember when you got kicked out of the breakdancing school that we paid for?”

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Entity Mag

It’s Not as Illegal as He Thought

When I was a kid, I liked turning on the ceiling roof light in the car when it was nighttime and my mom was driving. Whenever I did, she would say, “That’s illegal! If you do that, I’ll get caught by the police, and they’ll take me away!” I never turned on the light again. Then one day when I was a teenager, my friend turned on the light in the car. Needless to say, I made myself look like a fool in front of my friends.

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eBlogfa.com

The Family’s Darkest Secret

My grandmother told both her kids (my mom and aunt) that my aunt’s father passed away in a car accident and that they were only half-sisters. She told them this when they were in high school, and seriously, they looked nothing alike. So, everyone thought this was true for decades. When I was doing some genealogy research, I found out that my aunt’s dad was caught breaking and entering, and things took a turn for the worse. I asked my grandmother why she didn’t tell anyone this, and she said it was too unseemly to talk about. The only person left who knows the family secret is me.

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Gen Security
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A Taste for Nothing Sweet

My entire childhood I was told that I didn’t like candy and that I didn’t like soda. They must have started it very early because I never really questioned it until I got older. I now enjoy candy but very rarely eat it, I suspect because I never really miss it. I still remember eating a candy bar that had peanut butter in it when I was young, and before I could really taste anything but the peanut butter, my mom told me I didn’t like it, and I instantly spit it out. To this day, I can’t stand the taste of peanut butter or anything chocolate with nuts in it. I still never drink soda.

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9coach

A Mistaken Avocado

When I was like eight years old my mom got sushi for dinner once. I asked her what the green stuff was, and she told me it was avocado, and she loved it, so I ate a spoonful. Worst experience of my childhood. I didn’t eat avocados for ten years after that because I thought I hated them. She tells me that she really did think it was avocado.

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Delish

Just Like David Carradine

This is the first time I’ve ever told anyone or talked about it outside of the family (who are all Mormon, as well as my dad). My mom always told me that my dad passed away in a car accident a few months before I was born. I remember one day when I was about 10 or 11, she pulled me into her room and said that it wasn’t a car accident. Instead, my dad went missing for a few days, and someone finally found him — in an isolated town in a far away country.

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NY Daily News
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For the Sake of the Children

I thought my mom was religious. We weren’t devout Christians, but she made frequent, casual references to God (“Go play outside. God gave us a beautiful day today.”). We occasionally attended church with extended family, and she sent me to Bible school when I was about 8.

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Huffington Post

I became an atheist in high school and nervously mentioned it to her one day, expecting the worst. She told me that she was an atheist too, as were most of our relatives. I asked her why she sent me to Bible school, and she said that she wanted to show me religion and let me make up my own mind about it.

Basically, all my close relatives were treating religion the exact same way as Santa Claus — everyone pretended to believe in it for the sake of the kids, but they just expected us to grow out of it on our own when we got older.

Dad and Atmospheric Control

My father trolled me for years with this one: When I was young, I would take baths in the evening. There were a number of bath toys, including empty shampoo bottles that I would play with. One day I went to fill up the tub and found that one of the bottles was filled with ice cold water! A week passed, and I thought nothing of it until one was filled with really HOT water! Things got progressively weirder as the water I left behind in the bottles would change colors, temperatures, and flavors. My dad fed me some nonsense about how science does weird things, depending on the atmospheric pressures. I believed him until I caught him dropping in food dye one day.

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Real Simple

The Fish Eggs That Never Were

My fiancée’s parents convinced him that tapioca is fish eggs, like the things that baby fish come from. I brought him to a tea store and ordered bubbles in my tea, and he leans over all nervous and says, “I don’t want any. I think those are fish eggs.” I tried not to laugh trying to explain to him what tapioca is. Then, when we got home, I googled tapioca and showed him the wiki article about what it is made of. His response: “Well, anyone can post on Wikipedia!” So, he still didn’t believe me.

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YouTube

Fast forward to a year later, I bring it up in front of his mom, and she laughs and pulls out a box of tapioca pudding. She rolls her eyes and says that at holiday meals they call tapioca fish eggs because of the texture. He still doesn’t believe it’s not fish eggs. Despite what I and his mom told him.

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The Chinese Food You Wouldn’t Eat if You Only Knew

My very traditional Chinese grandmother used to cook all these crazy Asian foods and force us to eat them, even though they tasted horrible because they were “good for us.” One recurring dish was cordyceps. My mom told me they were plant roots, like carrots. Years later I read an article which revealed that cordyceps are really parasitic fungi which invade the bodies of insects, gradually replacing the host tissue until the bugs are entirely made of fungi. HORROR.

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Cordycepsinca

The Clearest Kool-Aid in History

Well, my dad’s family was quite poor growing up, and in an effort to save money, my grandma would put food coloring in their water and tell them it was Kool-Aid. Apparently, it worked quite well as they all had their favorite flavors and such. They only found out when they went to their cousins and had real Kool-Aid. They complained about it being way too sugary, and so my grandma had to spill the beans. It was also a good example of the placebo effect.

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Adweek

Kisses of a Devil

My grandma told me that my freckles were angel kisses. They are not.

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LA Times
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If It Works, It Works

When I got my car at 16, my dad told me that if I ever ran out of gas, the mechanic would have to reprogram my car’s computer, and it would cost me over $1,000. I made sure to keep the tank at least 1/4 full of gas, because I didn’t want to have to pay that money to get it fixed.

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Flickr

It probably kept me from getting stranded out in the middle of nowhere and was a pretty clever little story to tell, because I was already a penny pincher back then. Almost 20 years later I brought this story up to him, and my dad swore up and down that he would never tell me a lie like that.

Too Dangerous to Live

We adopted a rescued racing greyhound when I was young. He was lovely and very fast! Unfortunately, he had to be put down quite soon after we got him. According to my parents, he had something wrong with his brain from running round the track that constantly made him dizzy.

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Wikimedia

I brought this up when I was in my late teens, and they admitted that he actually attacked the neighbor’s cat (racing greyhounds are trained to chase mechanical rabbits), so he was deemed too dangerous to live.

The Magical Truth

I was told my parents were in a car accident. I had to live with my awful aunt and uncle until I was 11 years old when I was told that I was a wizard, and my parents had actually passed away after protecting me from Lord Voldemort.

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Harry Potter Exposition
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Ho-Ho-Hit and Run

When I was really young, my dad ran over our dog Bruno on Christmas Eve and told us that Santa had run him over with his sleigh. Not sure how that was supposed to make things better. He could have just said Bruno was adopted as a reindeer or something.

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Maxpixel

Now That’s Cold

My parents told me that when the ice cream van plays music, it means they have run out of ice cream.

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Flickr

A Disturbing Sense of Humor

I grew up on a farm, and we had three rabbits that were my pets, which we kept in an enclosure outside. After having them for about a year (I was 5-6 years old), I go outside one morning to find the cage torn open and fur everywhere. I was devastated, and my father insisted coyotes had gotten into the cage. Later that night, my parents had some friends over and had a potluck with the centerpiece being a stew. I ate some, ended up spitting it out, and promptly forgot about it.

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Free Stock Photos

When I was back home for Christmas a few years ago, my dad and I started discussing eating vermin as a meal, whereupon he asked if I remembered eating rabbit stew as a child. Come to find out, he broke the cage, shot the rabbits as they ran away, and spread the fur around to make it look less suspicious. Later, he made the stew and thought it hilarious that I was eating my pets later that night. My dad is a redneck with a sick sense of humor.

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Funeral for Junk

Our pet pot bellied pig was hit by a truck, and it shattered his pelvis. The vet put him down because there was nothing he could do. My dad just told the vet to incinerate the pig. When he got home, my mom and us kids asked dad where the pig’s body was so we could bury him. He got a bunch of junk (food from the freezer and blankets and stuff) and stuffed them inside a large garbage bag. We then buried the garbage bag. There was even a eulogy.

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Pixabay

Problem Solved

When I was about 7 years old, I came home from school to find my mother sitting on the couch waiting for me. She told me that my bird, Noel, had died that day. I was so upset. A couple years ago she admitted to me that she had a sinus infection that day and stayed home from work. The bird wouldn’t shut up, so she opened the bird’s cage, set it on the back porch and let my bird go free. She thinks it’s funny. The bird was kind of annoying, I guess.

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Flickr

The Best Dog in the World

When I was younger, my parents got me and my siblings a golden retriever. He was the best dog in the world, in my 8-year-old eyes. One day he just started going #2 all over the house, and a few days later he “ran away” (according to my parents).  I stood outside in freezing cold weather for hours, crying and yelling his name and for him to come home. Of course, he never returned.

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A few years ago, on a hunch, I asked my mom if that’s what really happened, and she told me, “No, Marshall ate a thermometer (the glass ones filled with mercury) off of the counter and went crazy so we had to put him down.” At that point I was old enough to understand that they did what they had to do, but they could’ve at least made me come inside and stop calling for him.

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Holiday Trust Issues

My trust was irrevocably shaken the day I found out Santa was simply an illusion used to manipulate me with my own greed. To make it worse, my parents didn’t come clean about it. They just kept going, doing more elaborate things every year to convince me Santa was real. They still haven’t had a talk with me about it, and I’m 30.

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U.S. Dept of Defence

Not the Teddy Bear

I used to have this huge stuffed teddy bear. I slept with it every night. My mom’s boyfriend at the time was a truck driver, and they told me he took it along for a ride with him once to use as a pillow. He didn’t have it when he came home, and he told me that he had given it to a little homeless girl, and it had made her so happy. I had proudly told everyone at school about the story, and even had my teachers PRAY for the little girl (I was in a Catholic school). My mom was just sick of the thing, and they didn’t want me to be upset she had thrown it out. She told me years later when I happened to bring up the story.

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Wikimedia

Quick Thinking

My sister got a Budgie on her birthday when she was very young. On the first night, it escaped from the cage, and our Bernese Mountain Dog ate it. My father woke up in the morning, realized what happened, raced to the pet store at the mall, bought an identically colored budgie and put it in the cage.

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Wikimedia

My sister didn’t learn about it until like 10-15 years later long after the bird had died. He had forgotten about it but brought it up one day.

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