Father Christmas is watching you,” “Carrots will make you see in the dark” and “Your pet has gone to live on a farm” are among the top white lies parents tell their kids.

The top 20 list of little lies that adults use shows that four in five parents have told their offspring something that wasn’t true.

The threat of Father Christmas topped the poll, with 62 per cent of parents employing St. Nick to keep their kids in check.

Second on the list was “We’ll see,” which any kid knows really means “No”.

The poll was conducted by Blue Cross pet charity, who offer advice and guidance to help parents talk openly to children about pet loss as part of their Pet Bereavement Support Service.

Tracie McGrory, Pet Bereavement Support Service Manager, said: “There are lots of different reasons why parents might tell little white lies to their children.

“However there are times, such as the death of a family pet, parents may use little white lies to protect their child from emotional harm – sometimes parents simply don’t know how best to explain the death of a pet to a young child.

“When a pet dies, it may be a child or young person’s first experience of the death or loss of something close to them and it can bring about confusing thoughts and feelings.

“Our Pet Bereavement Support Service takes hundreds of calls and emails every week, many of which are from parents who are seeking advice on how to explain the loss of a pet to their kids.”

The majority of Brits say that they lie to their children to protect their innocence, save them from being upset or to stop them behaving badly.

The top white lie told to kids about their pets is after one dies or has gone missing, when “Your pet has gone to live on a farm in the countryside” is employed.

On average, parents think that children are ready to start learning about death at the age of seven and a half.

Millions of adults say they believed a lie their parents told them into adulthood, with one believing their dad’s claim to know the destination of every plane in the sky – not learning the truth until they were 28.

Another was told that a haggis was a mysterious three-legged creature that roamed the Scottish mountains, and was hunted by Scots to be eaten.

One 62-year-old recalled the time when they were four that their cat ran away, because it kept having its tail pulled. It was 53 years later that it was revealed that the cat had actually been given away to stop it scratching the furniture.

And one respondent genuinely believed their father’s statement that the entire world used to be in black and white before colour photography came along.

Forty per cent of parents say that they would definitely lie to their child to keep up their belief in Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. And over half say they’d definitely tell the truth about a pet dying.

However, one in ten parents say they’ve replaced their child’s dead pet with an identical looking one, to trick their child into believing it was still alive and well.

Tracie continued: “The way in which children and families deal with pet loss may lay the foundation for how they cope with other losses later in their life.

“We’d always advise parents to be honest with their children about pet loss, but knowing how to deal with it can be very difficult. Our Pet Bereavement Support Service is a free and confidential and we are open 365 days a year to help those that need it.”

To find out more visit Bluecross or call the charity’s Pet Bereavement Support Service free on 0800 096 6606.


  1. Father Christmas is watching you
  2. We’ll see
  3. We’re almost there
  4. We’ll come back another time
  5. Carrots will make you see in the dark
  6. I always know when you’re lying
  7. We can come back and buy that toy next time
  8. I didn’t bring my purse with me today
  9. If you watch the television too much, your eyes will go square
  10. If you keep making that face, the wind will change and it will freeze
  11. If you tell lies your nose will grow
  12. If you touch it, it will break
  13. They don’t sell replacement batteries for that toy
  14. If you swallow chewing gum it stays in your stomach for seven years
  15. There are fairies at the bottom of the garden
  16. When the ice cream truck plays that music, it’s run out of ice cream
  17. If you leave the house with wet hair, you’ll get sick
  18. This is medicine, you wouldn’t like it
  19. Father Christmas prefers a beer and crisps to a mince pie and milk
  20. Your pet went to live on a farm in the country
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