4 Times Lying To Your Kids Is Never Okay (And 3 Times It Is)

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mom and daughter

Most parents have an arsenal of little white lies they use to protect their kids (or save their own sanity). And that's totally OK! 

The problem arises when parents lie about heavier topics like death or divorce.

We may think we are sparing the children's feelings with a fib, but in actuality, we are depriving them of emotional development.

Not to mention we miss out on the chance to build trust and communication between our children and ourselves.

So when should you tell the truth, and when is it OK to lie?

Let this guide help you answer that question.

RELATED: 10 Lies We Need To Stop Telling Young Girls About Sex

1. Death

Not OK: Whether it's a four-legged friend or a great-grandparent, it's never easy to tell a child that a loved one is gone.

But using elaborate metaphors or avoiding the topic altogether only sets you up for trouble in the future.

It is better to tell your child the truth, tailoring the talk to their age. And if you're scared to tackle the topic, there are plenty of books to help.

2. Where Babies Come From

Not OK: It's much easier to tell your child about the stork than sex, but avoiding the topic can foster unhealthy, confusing, or negative views about sex and body image.

That being said, your conversation doesn't have to turn into a biology lesson. Start small by saying an egg grows in Mom's belly. Then, as your child becomes older and more mature, you can provide more specific details.

RELATED: 5 Punishments To Guarantee Your Kids Never Lie To You Ever Again

3. Santa

OK: While we would love to see parents get credit for the piles of presents, we are also OK with telling kids that a red-suited man gives them all their gifts.

Why? Because Santa helps foster imagination and keeps kids innocent for a little while longer. The same is true for the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny.

4. Divorce

Not OK: Kids are more perceptive than we think and can sense when something is up with their parents.

So if you try to tell them that you and your partner still love each other, chances are they won't believe you. Not to mention it may give them false hope that you two will get back together someday.

5. Veggies at Dinner

OK: When it comes to hiding veggies in your kids' meals, what they don't know won't hurt them. In fact, it will actually help their health.

6. Your Party-Filled Past

OK: Someday you will have to talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol, and they may ask if you ever experimented when you were a kid.

Telling them the truth — especially if there were negative repercussions — could actually remove the temptation. But if you don't feel comfortable or you're not sure how to explain yourself, then perhaps you should keep the past to yourself.

7. Absent Parents

Not OK: If your partner walked out on the family, he or she might be dead to you. But that isn't what you should tell your children when they ask where their mom or dad is. Should the absent parent ever walk back in, you will have a hard time explaining that lie to your children.

RELATED: 7 Steps To Keeping Your Cool When You Know Your Kid Is Lying

Leah Rocketto is the senior editor of and has spent 8+ years writing and editing women's lifestyle content. She's been featured in PopSugar, Prevention, Yahoo, and more. Follow her on Twitter. 

This article was originally published at Popsugar Moms. Reprinted with permission from the author.