Expat Magazine

White Lies and Child Abuse - The Thin Line

By Expatmum @tonihargis
I recently commented on an article over at InThePowderRoom, about the white lies we all tell our children from time to time, usually for their own good. OK, sometimes for their own good and more often to get them to shut up and/or stop fighting.
My comment, in a nutshell, was that although it was never said to me, I always hated overhearing those stupid parents who pointed to another adult (usually a middle aged man) and warned the recalcitrant child that "That Man" would take them away if they didn't behave. Outrageous really isn't it? I thought I'd been imagining it all until I overheard the very same warning issued a few years ago in Heathrow Airport. Apart from disobeying the golden rule of parenting (don't issue a threat you can't carry out), how about not painting a perfectly respectable citizen as some kind of peodophile?
And then I thought about all the other daft things parents say to kids, or in my case, used to say to kids.
The Sand Man - According to my gran, who babysat for us almost every Saturday night that I can remember (well, until I started pub crawling that is), if you didn't go straight to sleep, the Sand Man would come and put sand in your eyes. Wha? And then your little 8 year old self is expected to slip straight into a warm, fuzzy sleep and totally not lie wide awake, scared out of her wits until 3am.
Running Away With the Gypsies - Of course, it's far too racist and non-PC to say that these days, but this is what my mother would say when we asked her (probably for the hundredth time) where she was going. She even says it to my kids who, having no knowledge of "gypsies" have been known to report that grandma's running away with the cheapskates! I remember one night, having been put to bed and not being able to sleep (Sand man issues) I heard the front door open and close. My mother had gone next door to borrow something from a neighbour, but as far as I was concerned she had finally succumbed to the tantalising lure of the gypsies. When she exited the neighbour's house (a whole 5 minutes later) she was greeted by three young children in nighties and pyjamas, wailing in the front garden!
It'll Drop Off - OK, that sounds a bit rude, and I'll admit I may have said it to my own offspring from time to time, but really! "Just leave your finger/ear/little toe alone or it'll drop off", is actually a very useful means of preventing potentially fatal infections (wouldn't you say) and can be shoved under the "for their own good" umbrella, but still..... . Have we ever known anything to drop off?
Anything you remember from your childhood? More importantly, any daft things you say to your kids now?

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