People Share The Lies They Realized Their Parents Had Told Them As Kids
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 useless human until they are at least 18 years old, all while preparing them for life as a productive member of society and not messing them up emotionally or psychologically along the way.
At the same time, you’re going to be exhausted and busier than you ever believed because you still have a job and your own life to worry about.
So, is it any wonder that occasionally, instead of telling your children the absolute truth about something, you just wing it? 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.
#1 The Angry Elf Wants His Ear
My parents raised me on a steady diet of lies based on the idea that I’d have to eventually learn that everyone lies, and it was their responsibility to calibrate my nonsense detector.
So, when I was just shy of six while rummaging through a box of old junk, I found a strange object. I now know it was a malformed oyster shell. Definitely not the kind you’d get served at a restaurant, but worth keeping if you found it. It looked -exactly- like a grotesque ear, except sand-worn outside and pearlescent on the inside. My father claimed it was an elf ear, and I could have it if I wanted it. I gleefully accepted.
Two hours later, on the way home, he said, “Oh yeah, almost forgot. The elf is still looking for that ear. He was really mad I took it. If he finds you, he’ll take your ears. Don’t worry, though, he can only track you while you sleep. That’s why I only take short naps. Whew, it will sure be good to get a full night’s sleep.”
“Take it back, DAD! PLEASE!” – “No way, I’ve been trying to find someone who wanted it for a long time, I was glad to hear you liked it. Yours now, no backsies.”
I didn’t really sleep for three days, getting progressively more tired. My mom found out when she drilled my dad about why I kept falling asleep and immediately waking screaming, “NOOOOOOOO!”
#2 A Stern Message About Bowls
I own a pet store. I just want to tell everyone to stop putting goldfish in bowls. They should live 25 years and get up to a foot long. They die in childhood because people put them in bowls instead of the proper sized tanks. It would be like living in a closet filled with your own feces.
#3 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 followed my friend… and found out the truth.
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!”
#4 A Long-Held Belief In Lollipops
This wasn’t so bad for me but 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.
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.
#5 The Bugeroga And The Cat
Constant lies, this one takes the biscuit because I LIVED IN FEAR FOR YEARS.
So I was born in apartheid South Africa and lived in a white gated community. Child snatching, among other crimes, was prevalent at the time and my parents used to tell me about this witch called Bugeroga (say it in a South African accent and it sounds about right) that would steal children. She was black with black hair that covered her whole body. She had sharp claws which she would use to snatch children and then rip them apart and eat them. Now presumably my parents told me this story to stop me wandering off and getting snatched for real, however they abused the heck out of it. Everything I did would apparently cause Bugeroga to come and get me (not eating vegetables etc).
So anyway one night when I was 4 years old, I woke up in the middle of the night because something startled me. As I opened my eyes I saw a shadowy figure sitting at the end of the bed. I froze and just lay there in sheer panic, pretending I was still asleep. Suddenly I felt sharp claws digging into my legs. I think I lay there for another hour while this creature flexed its claws into my legs. I finally convinced myself to make a run for it. 1, 2, 3… I jumped out of bed screaming and got the heck out of there.
…It turned out to be the neighbor’s cat. Traumatised for life.
#6 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.
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.
#7 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.
#8 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 which burns off your penis… I believed this for years.
#9 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.
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.
#10 They Troll Us All
They told me that if I work hard and ignore socializing and have no friends, then I will grow up and have a job and have friends and be able to start a family.
Lol, my family trolled me hard.
#11 The Whitest Of Lies
I took breakdancing lessons when I was 8. 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?”
#12 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.
#13 The Kisses Of A Devil
My grandma told me that my freckles were angel kisses. They are not.
#14 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 doing a breaking and entry 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.
#15 We Think They Were Joking
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.
#16 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 unless.
#17 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.
#18 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 somewhere… in an isolated town in a far away country.
My parents lied and told me that I was allergic to nuts when I wasn’t. I missed out on 20 good years of my life.
#20 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.
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.
#21 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.
#22 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 overall nervous like 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!” and he still didn’t believe me.
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, and 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.
#23 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 till the bugs are entirely made of fungi. HORROR.
#24 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.
Also a good example of the placebo effect.
#25 A Subtle Difference
Got told that my Uncle “works for the Queen.” He was in prison at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
#26 A Dastardly Plot
I had my cat Brutus since I was one. We were going on vacation for the first time, so we dropped him off at my aunt’s farm that was about 20 minutes out of town to babysit him. He ran away, and I was heartbroken.
Four months later, Brutus showed up at the end of our street. He had a very specific birthmark on him so it was definitely the same cat. My dad saw him and his jaw dropped. He was with us until I was 18.
Found out later, at the age of 22, my aunt never babysat him and, in fact, my parents were trying to get rid of him. Brutus did not let that happen. My parents got owned.
#27 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.
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.
#28 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, constantly making him dizzy.
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.
#29 The Ultimate Sacrifice
Shortly after we got a new kitten, one of my other cats got hit by a car. My parents told me the cat sacrificed himself by pushing the kitten out of the way of the car. Kind of a weird thing to lie about, but i guess it did soften the blow a little bit
#30 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.
#31 Now That’s Cold
That when the ice cream van plays music it means they have run out of ice cream.
#32 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.
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.
#33 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 a eulogy.
#34 Problem Solved
When I was about 7 years old, I came home from school to 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.
#35 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.
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.
#36 Holiday Trust Issues
Santa. 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.
#37 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.
#38 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.
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.
#39 The Failed Cover Up
Oh, I’ve got a humdinger. My family had a Cockapoo mix growing up we called him “Gooey”, he was mostly my mom’s dog but me and my brother LOVED him. One weekend my mom, brother and me were leaving to go visit my grandparents. When we returned my dad was acting weird and sadly told my mom that he had found Gooey lifeless one morning while we were gone. My dad said that he was old and he had died in his sleep in his favorite spot, he even took us to the nice little grave he made for him so us kids could say our goodbyes.
Fast forward a few months and I have gone with my dad to his job so I could play with his boss’s daughter. Me and the daughter are in the yard playing when we see the neighbor kids come outside with a dog. I stopped playing and asked to pet the dog because it looked so much like my old Gooey.
I told my dad about the dog right before we left his job that day and he acted surprised and told me to show him which neighbors house had this dog. My dad is talking with the guy who lives there for some time and then comes back and gets into the car, it’s then that he drops the bomb.
Apparently, while we were off at the grandparent’s house to visit he had taken Gooey and our two other dogs to a local swimming hole so they could get exercise by swimming because it was so hot. Unfortunately Gooey had run off during the swim and my dad went nuts trying to find him for the rest of the weekend.
By Monday, he had given up and decided to fake the dog’s funeral. Reason being because he couldn’t bare to admit to my mom and us that he lost the dog. So he built a fake little grave and even covered it in big pretty rocks so no wild animals would “dig it up” and told us the dog died of old age.
#40 Enough Is Enough
Growing up, we had continual squirrel infestations in our attic. It drove my dad crazy. So, we decided to buy an animal trap and release them several miles away in a nearby forest. They would disappear for a few days but would eventually end up their way home. This must have happened more than 20 times.
Then one day, they stopped coming back. I asked my dad what happened and he explained that he drove them into the country, very far away, and released them. I never thought any different.
One night at dinner my father confessed that he did not take the squirrels to the country. He put them into a plastic garbage bin, put the lid on, duck taped it shut and cut a circular whole in the side. He then ran a large pipe from the exhaust of his car to the bottom of the sealed garbage bin and turned his car on. The squirrels died.