August 31, 2023 | Melissa Budish

People Share The Completely False Things Their Parents Told Them As Kids

As kids, we look to our parents for knowledge and wisdom. In the earlier years of our childhood, before we are old enough to even go to school, our parents remain our primary source of information for everything and anything. When we have questions, we automatically assume that they have all the answers. 

But the reality is, they don't—in fact, some times, our parents tell us little white lies to satisfy our curiosities, rather than simply admit they have no idea what the explanation for something is. 

People took to the internet to share the completely false things their parents told them as kids, and their stories will make you shake your head in disappointment. Read on for some embarrassing (but highly entertaining) tales:

Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Windshield Wiper Mechanics

My dad told me that the windshield wipers would count the raindrops on the windshield and when it reached one million, that's when they would wipe the rain away. If it was raining harder, they went faster because it reached one million at a faster rate. He also convinced me that the alarm light on the inside actually means the car is about to fly, but it doesn't turn on when anyone else is in the car.

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#2 Lights Off

"TURN OFF THE LIGHTS IN THE BACK SEAT BEFORE WE GET PULLED OVER." My dad would always say this. Funny enough, now that I can drive, I can see that I can't look out the rearview mirror properly with the light on. It is super annoying to drive with the light on in the back. I don't blame my dad for telling me this, but he could have just said that and young me would've gone, "Oh, okay."


#3 Beware The Belly Button

As a kid, I used to play with my belly button a lot. My mom told me that the knot in my belly button held my skin together and if I kept playing with it, I’d untie the knot and my body would fall apart. It freaking terrified me, but it worked.


#4 The Scurvy Lie

I read Treasure Island and asked my older sister what scurvy was. She lied and said it's when pirates and sailors spend too long at sea with no women and become gay. I didn't question it because I was like, 10 and apparently dumb as heck. Then, we were watching a TV show about the colonies and how scurvy was rampant and ending people. I was really confused at how scurvy could do that and even more confused when my mom said oranges prevented it.

vintage-books-and-candlestickPublic Domain Pictures

#5 An Angel's Demise

My mom and I moved in with my dad when I was around four years old. Christmas rolled around, he had this light-up skeleton tree topper in lieu of an angel. He took it out of the box and I asked why it was a skeleton. He got this horrified, shocked look on his face. "Oh no! We must have forgotten to poke holes in the box last year!" I thought my angel suffocated and we were putting her skeletal body on the Christmas tree. I cried for hours.


#6 Crusts And Curls

My grandmother didn't like me wasting bread crusts. She also thought that all little girls wanted curly hair. So she told me, "Eat the crusts of your bread, it will make your hair curl." I totally believed her, but I really wanted straight hair, so I made sure to never eat the crusts. So I guess the joke's on you, grandma.


#7 A Halfway Decent Compromise

When I was little, mom would say that we were going to the zoo, but she took us to the pet shop. Another time, she took us to the “aquarium” which was just the fish section of Petco.


#8 The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars

My grandpa told me that when the ice cream man is playing his jingle, that means he ran out of ice cream. He would make himself seem great by going and getting some from the ice cream man's "personal stash." Later on, I found out the ice cream man was my grandpa's dealer. Meh, he always had a screwball on Sundays, so fun all around.


#9 Calculators Are Everywhere

“You won’t always have a calculator handy.”  This deeply frustrates me. I'm not that bad at math, it's just that I take ages to operate without a calculator. That's why I struggle with math but I love physics and technology. They let us use calculators in the exams. My teachers are basically sabotaging my math grades based on the assumption that "I won't always have a calculator in handy," when in reality there's always one in my pocket.

1280px-HP_CalculatorsWikimedia Commons

#10 The Boogey Man

In my country, there's this saying that parents sometimes tell their kids and it messed me up when I was little. They say that if you're going to act poorly or too loud, some random man will appear, come into your room and just take you with him. So, my whole childhood, whenever I felt I did something bad, I was watching my back for this dude. He never appeared.


#11 A Blue Tongue

"If you eat too many M&M's your tongue will permanently change color." I think my mom told me this to deter me from eating a lot of chocolate, but honestly, I would have loved a blue tongue.


#12 The Worst Parents

They told me a string of lies. Bear with me.

I lived with the family in Japan for a year at the end of the '80s. The time came to go back to the motherland, and at that point, the number of toys I amassed as a kid in Japan was not small. They were also very, very cool toys, them being from Japan and all.

My parents promised we would take them all home with us, all the while putting them in strange, big black bags. But since air freight is so expensive, they said we would simply put them on a ship in order to save some money. They would be home before I knew it, they said, but only after we arrived, since ships are much slower than planes.

I got home and could not stop asking them: when will the toys arrive? I wanted to share them with my new classmates! After a few months of constant nagging, they sat me down and said they had to tell me something. They proceeded to explain that, unfortunately, the ship sank on the way, along with all my toys on it. I was so miserable, and retold the story to all friends, for a couple of years.

Many years later, during a family dinner, I said: do you remember when all my toys from Japan sank? It was so sad and unfortunate! They then explained it was a lie all along, and that, yes, those were indeed garbage bags.

161208-F-JC454-005Joint Base Langley-Eustis

#13 Furry Shells

When I was about six years old, my dad convinced me that turtles grow fur under their shells. Fast forward to the eighth grade—I was in my U.S history class and the topic of turtles came up. I explained to my teacher that turtles have fur. He then proceeded to turn on the projector and Google "do turtles have fur" in front of the whole class. They didn't... I had never been so embarrassed in my life. I told my dad this story a couple of months ago (I'm 17 now), and he still laughs uncontrollably whenever I mention it.


#14 Slug Terminator

I grew up in an area where slugs destroyed many a yard. As a child, I found them to be utterly adorable and didn’t understand why everyone didn’t like them. My mom told me that slugs LOVED salt; that it was their favorite food. She said that whenever they ate salt, they sometimes wiggled a happy dance because they loved it so much. I happily went around the garden with a salt shaker, ending who knows how many slugs. I was maybe four or five years old.


#15 Godly Photographer

I was scared of lightning. To ease my fears, my dad told me it's just God taking pictures of me. That started a habit of me running to a window whenever there was a thunderstorm so I could pose for my picture.


#16 A Medical Myth

Cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis. I freaking hate when people tell me this. It's literally just gas bubbles that are making the noise. Actually, I had one customer grab my hands to stop me from popping my knuckles as an attempt to "stop me from getting arthritis." I was so angry, man. First of all, don't touch me. Second of all, you're 100% wrong.

1280px-Cracking_knucklesWikimedia Commons

#17 Clothing And Carrots

If you're not dressed properly for the cold weather you might catch a cold. That and carrots make your eyesight better. Then again, technically, carrots contain vitamin A which stops eyesight deterioration. So they don’t make it better, but they stop it from being worse. I guess they were onto something there.


#18 Ruining Santa

I remember coming back from Christmas break in first grade, doing our little show and tell. When it was my turn, I showed the class my new Barbie camera. One of the parents asked me, "Oh, did Santa give that to you?" And I just looked at her straight in the eye and very bluntly said, "My parents told me Santa's not real." Cue the entire class of 25 small children freaking out and crying while teachers and parents tried to calm them down. And that's how I ruined Christmas for a bunch of six-year-olds!

Kids_spot_Santa_at_Shaw_161217-F-IW330-167Wikimedia Commons

#19 Color-Coded Sheep

They told me that farmers spray painted the backs of sheep for identification, so they could “remember their names.” This is apparently only half true. Yesterday, my boyfriend enlightened me on the fact that farmers actually paint the underbellies of the male sheep, so they know which females have been mounted.


#20 A Pass On Cannibalism

My dad once told me and my brother that the guy who worked at our corner store liked to take kids and eat them like the witch from Hansel and Gretel. He explained that some people had to eat people to survive so the government gave certain places a pass on that. So, as long as he took them from the corner store, by law he could eat them.

He told us a similar story with a church about an hour's drive away. He said they did human sacrifices and would just pick someone who walked in once a day. I believed both of these fibs way longer than I'd like to admit. Turns out, he just thought it was funny to force us to go into those places, and apparently worked as a quick punishment. I wish I was kidding.

140801-F-LM669-030Air Force Medical Service

#21 Softening The Hit

"Your mom will get better." She eventually passed a few weeks before my eleventh birthday. That was eleven years ago. It's weird to realize that I have now spent more time without her than with her. Before I found the medication that helped with my nightmares, I had several each week. Most of them were about my mother's passing, but in extremely gruesome ways where I was the reason for her demise. It's probably because I blamed myself for so long.


#22 The McDonald's Scheme

My mother had a few McDonald's bags since I was obsessed with them. Every day, before my father would be back from work, she would put what she cooked into the bags and place them outside the door for my father to pick up. I was fooled every time, man. How could I know McDonald's had no soup?


#23 Proving Him Wrong

"You'll never make it in life without a man." My dad said that to me in front of my grandma. It was really embarrassing but when we left, she hugged me and whispered, "Don't listen to that. You don't need a man to be happy." I'm still single but I'm also better off than most of my family. Your parents don't always know what's best for you.


#24 Solo Shopping

My mom told me that children were forbidden in a nearby shopping mall. I later found out she just wanted a few minutes alone to do some shopping without me screeching constantly and wanting her to buy me something.


#25 Debunked By Zoology

They told me that if you pick up a baby bird and put it back in its nest, the mother bird will abandon the nest because of the human scent. It took a basic zoology course to learn otherwise. Birds have no sense of smell or taste. Which explains why they can eat carrion. Man, sometimes I feel like my parents just told me whatever nonsense came into their mind.


#26 A Selfish Lie

My dad’s all-time favorite snack is Twinkies. He used to tell me that little elves lived in the Twinkies and that the three holes were there so they could get outside air and breathe. I never ate another Twinkie in my life and my dad didn’t have to worry about me taking his favorite snack ever again.


#27 A Serious Threat

As adoptees, my brother and I got this. "You had no family and no name until we gave you one... And if you don't behave, we will give you back to the agency" We were adopted as infants and to me, the threat seemed 100% credible. It did lasting damage to my ability to trust. They're great parents though, I promise.


#28 The Power Of A/C

Dad: "Close the door! Do you want to air-condition the entire freaking neighborhood?!"

Me: "And for today's weather, we see a cold front developing at Dexter's house that will continue until he gets off his lazy bum and shuts the front door..."

Air_Condition_Unit_Interior_View_USAWikimedia Commons

#29 How Birth Works

When I was in elementary school these two older boys asked my friend and me on the bus home if we knew where babies come from, and they ultimately ended up claiming women gave birth out of their belly buttons. Ouch.


#30 My Father, The Seahorse

My old man has had a big belly for years and used to tell me and my brothers that he... birthed us. Did we believe him though? Absolutely. I was his child and my mother gave birth to my sisters. I definitely believed it... and I don’t want to admit how old I was when I realized it was a lie. It's just so embarrassing.


#31 Fresh Milk

My mom, who worked in the chilled department of a supermarket, said she was responsible for milking the cows at the back of the shop, as well as bottling the milk before taking it to the shop floor. There aren't even any fields at the back of the shop, but I believed her because, well, I believe everything my mom told me.


#32 Imaginary Pepper Fields

I work in the produce section of a grocery store. When I was filling up the peppers, these two little kids said, "Whoa, that's a lot of peppers." Unlike myself, I replied with: "You should see all the ones growing in the back." I walked away watching their expressions of awe. I wonder how long until someone debunks that for them.

Back View of Woman Filling Up The Papers in the OfficeFlickr

#33 Scary Teddy

They told us that teddy bears ate spiders. I can see the comfort this might provide some kids. I would never hug a teddy bear again though, and I'd tell my other stuffed animals during the daily pre-bedtime meeting to stay away from him in case he'd burst open and a million spiders appeared. It'd probably have been better to say that teddy bears chased spiders away.


#34 No Locks Allowed

"If you lock your bedroom door, the room will set on fire." No rooms were locked in our house, including the bathroom. It made sense when we were younger but as we got older, they still didn't see the need for one. Super awkward for guests, I felt. Even when they got their new house done up, there were no locks on the bathrooms again. It doesn't help that my dad has a habit of closing the door even when no one is in there, so you have to do the awkward knock every time.


#35 Beehives And Spiders

That when the "beehive" hairstyle was popular, some women ended up losing their lives because black widow spiders nested inside of them. And then they always wondered why I hated spiders for the rest of my life. Though, apparently, we don't need to be afraid of black widows. Yes, they are venomous. But they're also super non-aggressive.


#36 Elephants In Your Ears

My mom used to call earwax elephant excrement and tell us little elephants would go #2 in our ears at night and that's why she had to clean them every night. We would giggle endlessly at the idea of giant elephants somehow finding us and shrinking down to size to go in our ears. It's such a dumb lie but it's so funny.

#37 Throwing It All Away

I moved states at the end of primary school, and my parents decided to go through and throw away as many things as they could while I wasn't home, citing I'd never know. But I did. I may have not known exactly what was chucked, but over the years I'd notice that I couldn't find things and assumed they were binned.


#38 Migraines And Flatulence

They told me that migraines are caused by pressure buildup from an inability to release gas. Call me crazy but this was true for me in the few times I've had migraines. They are always awful, then I pass some gas and they simmer down. I started to believe my migraines were linked to my indigestion because I had eaten some bad food the day prior.


#39 The Cause Of Heartbeats

My dad explained the electrical impulse that makes your heartbeat. As a little kid, I completely misconstrued what he was talking about and fully believed there was electricity in your blood. Like visible lighting bolts inside your veins. I would tell people this all the time, and when they didn’t believe me, I’d gleefully scoff and crow that I knew something they didn’t. My dad said it was true, so how could it be wrong?


#40 Hamster Cover-Up

My daughter had a hamster when she was in between 5th and 6th grade. One day, it escaped its cage. It was missing for a few days already when we saw our cat running up the stairs with something in her mouth. I knew immediately it was the hamster and ran after her. I caught her halfway up the stairs and got the cat to drop it. I told my daughter, who wasn't a huge fan of the cat, that she "saved" her and was taking her back to her cage... Yeah... I lied. My daughter believed that story all the way until she was in college.


#41 Rubber Feet

When I was about six years old,  I asked him how birds could sit on power supply lines without getting electrocuted. My beloved dad said, "Because they got special feet that make them immune to it," instead of just admitting he didn't have a freaking clue. I believed him though and never second-guessed it until it came up in physics class. The teacher asked us and I raised my hand, proud as heck for knowing the answer. I was shocked when I heard the actual truth. This man almost ruined my reputation, self-esteem, and confidence. He's great, though.


#42 A Family Secret

I noted that a picture of my mom after giving birth to me looked like her sister. They assured me it wasn't. I found out through a cousin when I was 15 that she was a surrogate and it was, in fact, her in the picture.


#43 A Windy Bridge

My mom told me many lies... We have a long bridge in the GTA. They close it when it’s windy. I asked how they know when it’s too windy and she told me that the indicator is when three cars get knocked over. I was mildly traumatized by that.


#44 Bad Luck

I was superstitious as a child so they probably took advantage of that to get me into better habits. Don’t do (insert action here) because then you’ll get bad luck. The ones I remember the most were licking a blade and putting my shoes on the table. I think biting my fork might have been one of them, as well.


#45 That's Not Yours...

"I'm putting your Christmas and birthday money from the family into your post office account."



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