Why Lying to Your Kids Teaches Critical Thinking Skills

Lying teaches critical thinking.

My parents divorced when my brother and I were very young and every other weekend my father was a single Dad. He was a little too relaxed when it came to sunscreen and proper hygiene, and he would leave his Playboy magazines around like they were just another issue of The S.F. Chronicle. But now that I'm a parent myself I realize he not only did the best he could do, but some of his quirky style was actually quite brilliant. 


One of his genius ideas was lying to us. Yes you heard me right, lying. Some lies were mere stories and some were outright (but harmless) lies. His stories were about fighting cowboys and Indians (Native Americans) on his way to school every day while trudging through snow and then single-handedly winning all baseball games. My brother loved those stories, I half-listened, I would have preferred more romance and less fighting. But then there were the lies.  


I asked my Dad one time where his favorite Brut cologne came from. "It comes from a certain gnat's armpits in Europe.". This particular piece of information caused years of insomnia. How exactly did they get this cologne from the armpits of a gnat?  Did they just puree the gnats and skim off the cologne? Did they put the gnats on tiny crucifixes and extract the fluid with I.V. lines?  And could the gnats survive without their special armpit juice? And who the Hell discovered this special formula?


Now that I'm older I am grateful that my Dad told me this ridiculous lie. Both my brother and I can think waaaaay outside of the box. My brother has been a Navy SEAL for almost 20 years and I'm fairly high functioning myself. I attribute a lot of this to do with my Father's creativity, laid-back style and humor. My Mother always let us be our own people too.


So this morning while driving the kids to school I came up with my own lie. My daughter asked me if brothers and sisters can get married.

I said, "No, it's illegal.".

She asked, "Why?".

And I answered,"Because the babies will have cloven hooves.".

My son asked, "What are cloven hooves?"

"It's what goats and sheep have."

Silence for 2 minutes

My son asked, "How do you know this?"

"I learned it in school."

My skeptical young man asked, "What class?"

"Uhm....Animal Science.". 

Silence for the rest of the ride. 


I'm sure I just gave my kids a little bit of insomnia, but at least they will be quiet while they sort out this fabrication.

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Pamela Hayat June 06, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Great story!
Renae Wilber June 06, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Love it!!!
MissyK June 07, 2012 at 04:54 AM
My daughter believed for the longest time that the ice cream truck was just a nice man that drove through the neighborhood playing music for us.
Charlotte June 07, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Thanks Pam and Renae! Missy that is brilliant.


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