Parents lie to their kids constantly - whether it's a purposefully malicious lie or "just messing around" it's a think that happens in almost every family.
Regular readers will know my family had me convinced that I was the "Moon Princess" until I was well older than I'd like to admit. They told me that the moon followed me around because it loved me, so I spent most of my childhood talking to the moon reassuringly, like it was my space-puppy.
I never stopped to think about perspective or celestial distance or the fact that it meant the moon followed everyone. My family never fessed up to the truth. It took a blindsiding realization in sixth grade to crush me and my poor moon-puppy.
I not-so-secretly still talk to the moon and I'm almost 40.
Reddit user lphillips5 asked:
One Million Drops
My dad told me that the windshield wipers would count the raindrops on the windshield and when it reached 1 million then they would wipe the rain away. If it was raining harder they went faster because it reached 1 million faster.
The Truth Comes To Light
"TURN OFF THE LIGHTS IN THE BACK SEAT BEFORE WE GET PULLED OVER!"
Wait that's a lie?
My dad always told me this too! It wasn't until a few months ago that my sister and I found out this wasn't true.
My dad would always say this. Funny enough, now that I can drive I can see that I can't look out the rear view mirror properly with the light on, he could have just said that and young me would've went "Oh, ok".
Considering how annoying/difficult it is to drive with the interior lights on, I was surprised when I found out it wasn't outright illegal.
Having a light on means you can't see out your rear view mirror, and it can lessen visibility out your windows. It may not be specifically against the law. But it does fall under other laws like distracted/dangerous driving. I'm sick of how everyone just doesn't question the statement that it's not illegal.
That my mum, who worked in the chilled department of a supermarket, would have to milk the cows at the back of the shop and bottle the milk before taking it to the shop floor. There aren't even any fields at the back of the shop.
Save For Something Special
Birthday and Christmas were only a month apart so I would tend to get some money instead of presents from family and relatives around that time of year. My parents would always tell me I had to learn how to save my money, so I was never really allowed to use it, just save it for something "special".
Usually my money would go missing and I couldn't find where it was, only to find out my father, who smoked a pack a day, took it to buy cigarettes, or also would use it for drinking money. Frustrated by this, me and my brother asked our parents if we could get a bank account, so instead of leaving our money laying around, we would deposit it somewhere where it would be safe and would be able to be saved for a long period of time.
After saving after a year or two, we wanted to get either a new game console or game, and adding up what we knew we had, we determined that together we had enough. We go to the bank.
I had a balance of $0, my brother had a balance of $-10 (yes negative). Appears since parents signed us up for the account, and cause we were children, they had full access to our account. When we confronted our parents about it we got the whole, "You're the child, we're the adult" speech or, "You take money from us everyday just by raising you".
The only lesson we learned was if you save your money you will never get to use it. So we pretty much stopped saving our gift money and tried to spend it asap.
Oranges For Scurvy
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.
Then we were watching a TV show about the colonies and how scurvy was rampant and killing people. I was really confused at how scurvy could kill and even more confused when my mom said oranges prevent scurvy.
Mom and I moved in with my (now) dad, I was around 4 years old. Christmas rolls around, he had this light up skeleton tree topper in lieu of an angel. He takes it out of the box, I asked why it was it was a skeleton. He got this horrified, shocked look on his face. "Oh no! We must have forgot to poke holes in the box last year!"
I thought my angel suffocated and we were putting her dead body on the Christmas tree. Cried for hours.
The Japanese Toys
Not a single, but a string of lies.
Lived with the family in Japan for a year at the end of the 80's. Time comes to go back to the home country, and 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.
Parents promise we will take them all with us home, all the while putting them in strange big black bags (for garbage?). But since air freight is so expensive, they said, we will simply put them on a ship in order to save some money. There will be home before I know it, they said, but only after we arrive, since ships are much slower than planes.
Got home, and could not stop asking them: when will the toys arrive‽ I want to share them with my new classmates, they were very cool! After a few months of constant nagging, they sit me down and say they have to tell me something.
Proceed 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 explained it was a lie all along, and that, yes, those were indeed garbage bags.
When I was about 6 years old, my dad convinced me that turtles grow fur under their shells. Fast forward to the 8th grade, I'm in my U.S history class and the topic of turtles comes up, and I explain to my teacher that turtles have fur, he then proceeds to turn on the projector and Google "do turtles have fur" in front of the whole class. They don't... never been so embarrassed in my life. I told my dad this story a couple months ago (I'm 17 now), and he still laughs uncontrollably about it whenever I mention it.
God's Flash Photography
I was scared of lightning. Then my dad told me it's just God taking pictures of me, so don't be scared. So I used to run to a window whenever there's a thunderstorm and pose for my picture.
My mother had a few McDonald's sacks hidden since I was obsessed with them and never wanted to eat anything but McDonald's.
Every day, before my father would be back from work, she would put what she cooked into the sacks and would place it outside the door for my father to pick up. He would walk in the door pretending he brought McDonald's home. I was fooled every time, man. How would I know McDonalds had no soup?
Happy New Year
"HAPPY NEW YEAR ITS 12 WOW YOU STAYED UP"
It was 9. They pulled this every year until I was like... 12 ... They turned the clocks back and put on an east coast channel. No wonder I always watched the ball drop in NYC on TV... Whilst living on the west coast of Canada hmmm.
That there were crocodiles in the boarded over pond at the bottom of the garden, so I'd stay off the somewhat rotten planks that could break. Instead I ended up dropping all sorts of things in because I thought they might be hungry.
My mother had always told me that since I had asthma, smoking would kill me right away if I tried it. It did work, never smoked anything to this day.
Unrolling The Sidewalks
My great aunt's parents had her believing that sidewalks were only out during the daytime, and if you stayed up late enough or got up early enough you could see the workmen rolling or unrolling the sidewalks.
Crappy Sex Ed
So when I was like 5 I started getting horny sometimes and I was so confused I asked my mom why and she told me there was a mouse stuck in my vagina.
That bread crust could make you whistle. I was like heck, if carrots could help my eyes (they don't), and milk could help my bones, why couldn't bread crust help my whistling muscles? So I suffered through many a sandwich crust hoping to finally be able to whistle. It wasn't until junior year of high school as my mind was wondering on the bus did I sit up and have a holy crap my life is a lie moment.
Hate to make this depressing but my parents told me that it's normal for couples to fight (They fought regularly). I even stayed in a nasty relationship because I thought that it was normal to fight so often. I didn't realize that it was wrong til years later in high school. I was talking to my English teacher about some parental issues going on and on way or another I had mentioned what my parents told me. She then said, "So, they lied to you?", and the reality hit me. My parents divorced not to long after.
My parents told me that if I ate my boogers my penis would shrivel up and flake away.
That dogs are attracted to the headscarf, and automatically will chase you. I am big animal lover and my mom hated the fact I pet stray dogs. So for the majority of my childhood I thought dogs were Islamophobic.
Putting Christmas decorations up before Christmas eve will attract Satan to your home.
It's fun to sit around and pretend, isn't it?
Or maybe you win the lottery, it doesn't matter. The point is there's a lot of things you can do with a billion dollars, so with the world the way it is let's take a fun trip down imaginary lane.
What would you first do if you ever became a billionaire?
These are the people who would help the world continue running, keeping the sails on the ship and the car on the road. They spend their money responsibly, reasonably, and with caution.
Maybe a little boring, but extremely necessary.
The Bare Minimum
"Turn on double verification in my bank account"
"Bank account or bank accounts?"
Let's Put These Things In Proper Order
"Get an attorney"
"Then an accountant"
"It's so unlikely to become an accidental billionaire, but basically this, the only way to survive it is to create a company that runs your life and has multiple employees. Your attorneys, accountants, drivers and security detail. You are now the CEO of a small company that is dedicated to your safety."
Doing Things For Others As Well As Yourself
"This will sound cliche.
Take care of friends and family.
Travel for remainder of my life."
"You would be popular for taking care of your friends and it's a good thing to do, but i feel like it would get weird once the word gets out. You might suddenly find yourself surrounded by a lot of long-lost friends."
Of course, if you've been gifted billions of dollars you don't have to go down the reasonable route. Instead you could take all of your money and do something silly with it. Something obnoxious.
A Whole Lot Of Nothing
"Nothing, with that kind of money I could afford not to do anything for a while."
"Anyone with a billion dollars who is still working is a psychopath."
"Buy two senators and make them fight."
"They are surprisingly cheap; can you get a few more and let the rest of us watch?"
Start A Lot Of Beef With A Lot Of People
"I'd employ a law firm that semi-exclusively litigated my petty squabbles with the world. False advertising. Cop car paint colors. Whatever else that bothers me."
There's no explanation for these ones. They say money makes you eccentric and these people's dream purchases are proof of that idea.
Who's Gonna Stop You?
"I would never tell anyone and pull money out of my @ss when i need it."
@ss pennies do give a certain amount of confidence."
Sounds Like A YA Novel In The Making
"I'd build a Hunger Games theme park complete with an Arena and invite 24 children a year."
That's Some Fancy Ketchup, Bro
"I'd still eat Kraft Dinner but with really expensive ketchups. Dijon ketchup."
"And an emu. I bet you always wanted an emu."
Dream big. Have fun imagining your future.
Just don't dream of a death match for kids. That's probably not an ideal way to spend your cash.
Our interactions with strangers can be pleasant – whether it's a fellow customer at a store smiling at us or talking sports or other mutual interests with a friendly bartender.
But then there are those who you just can't figure out but engage in a conversation with anyway until something in your gut tells you to abort.
Whether it's an ominous situation or a mysterious individual, your instincts telling you something is not right is usually accurate and what happens next depends on whether or not you act on what your inner voice tells you.
"What is Your Best 'I'm in Danger' Story?
These predicaments could have resulted in severe consequences. Or not.
"Driving through jasper on our way to leduc when my dad saw a family on the side of the road looking off into the bush off the side of the road. So we pull over and walk over to ask if they need any help. They say that they saw a bear in there and were throwing rocks at it to get it to come out so they could take pictures. My dad told us to get back to the car and we sped off down the highway. To this day i wonder what happened to those idiots."
"Not me, but a really close friend was going through flight school and they were going through emergency procedures and the instructor asked something along the lines of."
"What would you do if you noticed the power was lost?"
"And at that very moment, the aircraft lost power and my buddy said 'Well that's a neat trick and makes it feel real.' To which the instructor said 'No, that's not me. This is real.' Apparently, my buddy giggled and said 'oh no.'"
"And then they had to crash into the gulf and he swam away."
"I can't think of a better example than that."
The Thing In The Bushes
"When I was about 5-6, my mom and her best friend took us kids out huckleberry picking. We brought a battery power radio so we were making noise and would not startle any wildlife. We were all kind of spread out around these wild berry bushes. The adults heard this snorting, stomping, and sounds of a large animal moving through the dense overgrown areas coming towards us. They freaked out, screaming for us kids to run to them so we could run to the truck together. Moms friend threw her FULL bucket of huckleberries (5 gallon bucket, took all day to fill) at whatever was coming, hoping to distract it..."
"It was a cow."
You never know what strangers are capable of, especially where drugs are involved.
Sacrifice For The Devil
"I used to work in a group home. I was working a night shift and one of the residents was pacing by his room. I asked him what he was doing, he went into his room quickly. I assumed he was on meth since that's what he liked doing. Thought not much of it until a few hours goes by. I go to get some water and heat up my food, and he is standing in the hallway. Again, I ask him how he's doing and try to check in with him. This guy starts speaking in some made-up language in a loud whisper (think Harry Potter talking to the basalisk). He then takes like 4 steps slowly toward me then stops. He says 'I can't stop him forever.'"
"I call police for his and the the safety of the house."
"Police show up and talk to him for a bit in private. One officer comes back to my office and says 'yeeeah, he's not himself right now. Said the date was May 50, 2100.' It was January... and 2015. They took him away. They also found and took a pocket knife off of him and gave it to me for safekeeping."
"Now if that wasn't already messed up, I went back on the security footage and I saw him stand outside of my office door (outside my view) for like 30 minutes without me realizing. Standing still, like in paranormal activity."
"I checked the camera from when he was speaking the weird language, and he was standing there for like 20 minutes heavy breathing before I walked by."
"2 weeks goes by and he's released from the hospital sober and mentally present again. He decided to move out of the house. He came by to grab his stuff, and pulled me aside to apologize. I forgave him and tried to brush it off. Buddy looks me in the eyes and said that he was planning on killing me that night for a blood sacrafice since he was seeing some crazy stuff and he believed a demon was controlling him, but the police ruined his plan."
"I kept the knife as a morbid souvenir."
The following people these Redditors engaged with were very suspect. No drugs were apparently involved, but they were apparently quite mental.
"So, just for context, I'm Scottish. I was on Holiday in Durham and it was late afternoon. We just arrived and we were going to visit the Cathedral."
"So these lads (likely students, they were obviously on a night out or something) came up to me and were like 'hey do you know how to get to so-and-so street' and I was like 'sorry, I'm not from here.' Suddenly the guy got mad and was all 'are you Irish, ARE YOU IRISH?!' And I was like 'No I'm Scottish' (but I was sure I was going to get beaten up because, let's be honest, if he's like this to someone who's Irish then he'll not exactly be hunky Dory with Scots), but when I said that his demenor did a 180 and he was all 'oh right, you're cool, sorry to bother you' and walked off."
"And that's the story of when I was nearly hatecrimed because someone thought I was Irish."
"Went out for a drink with a pretty girl I got talking to on a bus. She was a bit awkward, but seemed kinda fun. She kept talking about her roommate, and the crazy hi-jinks they got up to. She even joked that we would have a threesome if I went back to her place."
"We went back to hers... at which point I found out that her roommate was a barbie doll that she talked to like it was a real person. Her place clearly hadn't been cleaned for years, and the toilet was full of green 'matter.'"
"The final straw for me was when I stepped on her cat's corpse..."
Not The Basement
"Couple of years ago I was picking up a chair I had bought from craigslist. I drove to this guys house and got a creepy vibe instantly when I stepped inside, for reasons I can't really understand to this day. After a minute or so of small talk, where he was mostly busy staring at me and not completely focused on the conversation, he asked me to follow him down to the basement where the chair supposedly was. As he went for the staircase he raised the volume of the music playing to a level that was distinctly louder than normal."
"I noped the f'k out and went straight home again."
In middle school, I was not a popular kid. So it surprised me when my fellow classmates who were viewed as "popular" actually engaged in a conversation with me during lunch when I was sitting by myself.
They asked me what my favorite food was and what TV shows I watched. I genuinely thought they were interested in me, but I was also skeptical about their forced friendliness.
My suspicions were confirmed when, in my peripheral vision, I saw their buddies dragging a trashcan over towards me.
I blurted, "gotta go!" and I darted. Those jerks were going to throw me in the garbage!
Chocolate milk hair and spaghetti sauce-drenched shirt was avoided that day, thanks to my gut instincts. Damn bullies.
Deciding to foster a child, while clearly admirable, is the furthest thing from a no-brainer. So much consideration must go into the decision to provide safety and security to a child who hasn't always had it.
Nobody has ever left a thriving, trauma-free family dynamic and found themselves suddenly plopped into the foster care system.
A child arrives there because the adults in their lives have struggled to give them what they need, be that love, nutrition, physical safety, or stable emotional environments.
So a foster parent enters a child's narrative a little after the fact. That can make the whole experience a real challenge.
Curious to learn the specifics of those challenges, Redditor RaeRai293 asked:
"People who are or have been in the foster system: What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a foster parent?"
Many people unpacked the nuanced dynamics of a well-known element of foster care: children arrive with a history of trauma.
"I had a friend growing in up whose biological parents were foster parents. I remember that when I went round I wasn't allowed alone with certain children there. We are still friends now and said that alot of children are from abusive families, physically, mentally."
"So you need to be prepared to receive children that have experienced horrific things in their life and the baggage that brings."
You Will Not Be Perfect
"Take care of yourself. You are not a superhero. If you don't remember self care (mental, emotional & physical), you will struggle."
"You cannot give from an empty cup and foster kids will drain you. They are suffering from trauma and you will feel that. Don't ignore your needs or they will suffer more."
Prepare for Some Sorrow
"It can be extremely heartbreaking. My aunt and uncle fostered a few kids. The 2 youngest girls were i believe 6 and 4 when they took them in. Their birth mother was an addict and sex worker."
"I remember once we had planned a camping trip."
"When we told them we were going camping they started hysterically crying. I later found out to them 'camping' was sleeping out in the streets."
Coming on the back of those upsetting realities, the foster parent's conduct and parenting style needs to be very deliberate.
"Regardless of how long the kid stays with you, they will remember how you treat them. Be patient, many may not understand what is happening at first. Most will be angry but even if they upset you don't let it show."
It's Not About Your Opinion
"Have lots of empathy for everyone involved. Put aside your judgments and listen. Figure out how you can best serve the kids. There is no magic pill that will help them. It takes time, therapy, patience and a lot of empathy."
Not For No Reason
"go easy on them. We dont act out because we just feel like it or hate you, we act out because we're not used to being treated nicely and in the back of our head we always know that we could be sent away any day so we might not wanna get attached too fast."
"my sister and I went into foster care when we were really young and we came from a very abusive family so we just expected every family to be like that? I'd flinch every time someone tried to touch or hug me and I still don't like it. you just gotta be very patient because you never really know what they went through"
Last, others reminded folks that the point of foster care is to provide temporary safety until the child can, ideally, return home.
For obvious reasons, that's so important for people to get straight.
Know the Goal
"The system is designed to reunify families as its first goal. If you are in it to adopt you will have conflicting priorities. If you're not, you should keep in mind that in order for a successful reunification to happen, you really need to forge a relationship with the bio parent(s) and in a sense, foster them as well."
"Almost all parents who are part of the system probably should have been foster kids based on what they grew up with. Treat the kid (s) as part of your family but recognize the pain of a parent having their child taken away. Regardless of what they did, they are probably hurting"
A Different Thing Entirely
"The goal of foster care is reunification, not adoption. I wish more foster parents understood that. You're not entitled to someone else's child, and foster care is not some free version of adoption."
"It can be a result, but the goal 99% of the time is reunification with bio parents. Also, no matter the situation, there WILL be trauma. It's not easy."
Remind Children Too
"First of all; As a foster you are part of a system trying to reunite families."
"First time children are going to be confused and frightened, reassure them that everyone, including you, is working on getting them back to their family."
"Children that have been in the system before will still be frightened, but might not show it, they may also be scared of going back to their parents."
"Each will be different and you need to adjust to their needs. Emotional and physical."
"Treat them as you treat your own child. This means feeding them the same,(and healthy foods) getting the clothes they need, making sure they get to the dentist and doctor, giving them treats/toys/fun things as well."
"Give them their own safe space."
"Allow them to make choices (which shirt/shoes do you want? Do you like this food? What meal do you want tonight, choice 1 or chose 2?) They have no control in their own lives, this helps give them some control."
"Get them a suitcase, that's theirs, that they can take with them when they move on. Most don't have one."
"Give them an allowance from the money you get for housing them and spend the rest of the money on things they need. It's for them, to help you care from them and it's not yours to vacation on or by your (bio) kid a new iPad."
"THEY WILL REMEMBER YOU FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES. Someday you may be a horror story about their past, or you may be the one who gets remembered fondly and with love. You dammed better be the one they remember with love."
Perhaps fostering a child has crossed your mind in the past. Here's hoping this list helped you iron out your motives, concerns, and confidence level.
People Divulge The One Thing They Want To Tell Their Parents But Are Afraid It'll Break Their Hearts
Who knows us better than our parents?
A lot of people, in fact. Not every person's relationship with their parents is perfect, and sometimes people have reasons why they hide things or choose not to be entirely honest that are perfectly valid. It takes a lot of courage to be open––especially if the environment in which we grew up wasn't exactly ideal.
That's what we were reminded of after Redditor Magical-Potato-Chips asked the online community,
"What's something you've wanted to tell your parents but won't because it'll break their hearts?"
"I hate staying..."
"I hate staying in their house when visiting because it is so messy and their dogs are not trained properly and all they do is watch TV all day.
My old room was my one sanctuary, I kept it completely clean and clutter-free, but then my dad took it over, and now it is floor to ceiling stacked with boxes and junk.
I love them to death, but living in all the junk, smells, and rowdy dogs just isn't enjoyable."
"I do think..."
"Probably just a real talk about how abusive my mother was to us. She's mentally ill and I've forgiven her. I do think she tried her best, but she didn't have the right tools to be a good mother. It would stir up more issues than it's worth. I just accept her for who she is."
Sometimes that's easier.
"I was afraid..."
"I slide my feet whenever I walk on wood floors, no matter where, at every age no matter what. I was afraid of my mom knowing I was up and around. The more noise I made, the more negative attention I received."
This is sad. When we hear that "children should be seen and not heard," we should remembeer that these are the consequences.
"I was easily manipulated..."
"Their bad example of love, marriage, and family led me to several abusive relationships. I was easily manipulated because I was terrified of being abandoned."
"That my dad..."
"That my dad dismissing my interests as a child and preteen makes me not want to talk to him. And he's said a decent amount of hurtful things he's never apologized for.
He retired and lives across the country, and I just pretend I'm bad at calling/texting."
"My mom is extremely bad..."
"I was so obedient when I was a child only because I was afraid that I would agitate them and get shouted at any time.
My mom is so proud that she raised an extremely well-behaved and polite daughter. But the only reason I was like that was because I lived in a fear of violating the adults' rules and the consequences. My mom is extremely bad at controlling emotions."
Sometimes talking to a parent can feel like dealing with a land mine.
"I am living with my family of Muslims and I go to a Muslim school and I hate it. My parents will either be really sad or really angry if I tell them I am atheist so I have to be quiet and pretend.
I can't eat, wear or do what I want and I have to constantly listen to teachers and students preaching about death and how I will burn in an eternal flame if I don't believe. It's terrible, sometimes I have doubts and going to school to listen to them talk is legitimately scary."
"That I'm always sweet and agreeable..."
"That I'm always sweet and agreeable not because that's how I really am, but because I'm terrified that they'll kick me out if I disagree too strongly or cause any strife. I'm disabled and can't work. There's nowhere else for me to go.
My parents have never given me any indication that they would do such a thing, but they could, so I can't trust that they never will. I'm always on my guard, trying to figure out what will make them happy and what I need to hide."
My heart breaks for this person.
"That would kill my mother."
"That, yes, my sister is right. You were emotionally abusive when we were kids.
That would kill my mother. She vents to me about how awful it feels to hear that from my sister. She tried her best."
"As a result..."
"I never went to them when I was hurt or needed help because I always knew how stressed they were dealing with their own problems. They didn't hide it well.
As a result, I often feel the desire for attention that I never got, and have to avoid attention-seeking urges. Sometimes I blame it on them, even though I know that isn't fair of me."
Having trouble with your parents?
"Particularly for children who had a difficult relationship with their parents as kids, recognizing a lack of closeness with parents in adulthood can feel like another, added layer of grief. In any case, feeling a distance from one's parents is undoubtedly difficult, but there are some strategies that you can use to cope," writes Dr. Samantha Rodman, a clinical psychologist and columnist with TalkSpace.
Practicing acceptance, focusing on qualities that your parents do have, finding support and solidarity, and being the parent you wish you had can go a long way.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.