3 Lies a Dad Might Tell His Kids

photo credit: WesleyIG via photopin cc
photo credit: WesleyIG via photopin cc


It’s said about bravery: If you’re not brave, just fake it. No one will notice.

It’s implied, in fatherhood, and coaching, too. A dad can’t know everything. A dad doesn’t need to. A dad needs only to give the impression he knows everything.

Let’s say your opponent doesn’t know your weakness or deficiency.

Do you even have that weakness or deficiency?

I realize the opponents in this case mean my own daughters.

I’m aware of myself – sun-soaked with a sun-soaked and rum-influenced state. Maybe I left my playbook open, in the opposing team’s hotel meeting room. A time zone and border between my girls and I might give a false sense of stealth.

Why would a dad with a slight advantage toss it away for the sake of a Monday post? Here are three lies a dad might (or might not) tell.

It’s in the interest of … survival.

1. “I know all there is to know about smartphones and Instagram.”

photo credit: earcos via photopin cc
photo credit: earcos via photopin cc

Kids fingers-swipe and download apps the way we used to rule the Atari joystick. Generation Next turns us into grandparents. We can’t even set up our voicemail.

Or switch from ice to water on the fridge without an intervention. If you haven’t yet declared your technological ineptitude yet, try this, fathers:


We fool kids with socialist jolly elves and philanthropic hares. We do it with tooth-auditing fairies, in fact. We con kids that dad has a magic app. It tells him what dip-shit boy they’re Snap-chatting.

Or what Google search they cave to in ill-advised alone time.

Just tell them dad just installed the DadWatch app. Santa’s surveillance capacity appears capable as the Walmart employee satisfaction committee in comparison.

2. “I will break a boy in 17 pieces if he brings you home late.”

photo credit: Beedle Um Bum via photopin cc
photo credit: Beedle Um Bum via photopin cc

Dads, we’ve been that boy.

So the boy brings your daughter home late. The worst traffic since Aberdeen won the Scottish League Cup will do that.

(That was just 1990. To my kids, that’s Jurassic Period).

Here are things I’ve told my girls when it comes to discussions about boys they like*:

Has he ever ridden in an ambulance?

Do they casts for a fractured sternum exist?

I need that son-of-a-bitch’s social security number.

*-or, maybe told them. What’s the difference?

I won’t delve into the trite diatribe of dads who clean firearms around a boy. What dad would take shots at a boy? He just brought a girl home 15 minutes late from the dollar movie and Krispy Kreme?

But we have this cultural standard to uphold of mental instability.

I’d rather identify with the boy, with a firm handshake and eye contact.

Jeevs the shit out of them every.single.time.

3. “Just wait until I tell your mom.”

photo credit: Chris Wild via photopin cc
photo credit: Chris Wild via photopin cc

Don’t do this one.

If a dad defers to mom, he surrenders credibility. Know all those Disney dad stereotypes? That we’re just an extra kid, with a driver’s license.

Everyone post-Michael Keaton riles you to share fatherhood with. Doesn’t he?

Get up. Stand up. Be a dad.

Praise kids, with authority.

Speak to your children, with authenticity and authority.

Set example, with clarity.

And never, ever, push any of it off to Jesus, Santa or mom.

Be brave.

What lies do you tell your kids?

Amy Mascott’s post on Teach Mama blog inspired this post.

bravery quote


  1. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says:

    The thing with kids is…never let ’em see you sweat. Bluff until you are blue in the face, then swear to it. And in those evil eye staring contests? Remember it’s like dogs, right? The alpha dog never looks away. I suppose that will work with any boys that attempt to take Kidzilla out one day, too.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think a kid has to have an idea his parents can hold it together. You can’t let them smell blood. And that says nothing for the way I’ll protect my herd. Until I’ve got nothing left!

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think a kid has to have an idea his parents can hold it together. You can’t let them smell blood. And that says nothing for the way I’ll protect my herd. Until I’ve got nothing left!

  2. I truly think the same can be said for a mom to pass off her mom duties onto dad. It’s a fine line for parents period, but still we have to do all we can to keep order and remain credible in our kids’ eyes and all three can damage this, especially number three.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Good point, Janine. Nothing’s more important than getting this parenting thing done right.

  3. ksbeth says:

    jesus, santa and mom are quite the formidable holy trinity. not to be used as a bargaining chip or messed with. they will know.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      nothing gets past you three, beth. kids know so much more than we give them credit for.

  4. Kir Piccini says:

    All good stuff, lots to think on.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Kir! It’s definitely been on my mind.

      1. Kir Piccini says:

        I have an idea about being the mom of boys. If I write it would you consider running it on your site? *Just a thought*

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Most definitely, Kir. Email me!

  5. I told my older son once, “Why do you listen to me? Half the time I just make things up.” He goes, “You DO?” Maybe I shouldn’t have given myself away like that. Haha.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh wow – this is going to require follow-up posts to see how the boy proceeds with this intelligence … maybe it’s like the Tree of Knowledge.

  6. Catherine Johnson says:


  7. Kim says:

    HaHa – my boys know that they are far more advanced than I am when it comes to technology. When I can’t figure something out I just hand my phone (or whatever) to one of the boys to do it for me.

  8. gilberthcardenas says:

    Good read.

  9. Tamara says:

    Ha, I like to be in the same sentence with Jesus and Santa 🙂
    I don’t even CLAIM to know more about smartphones than my 6yo, he outsmarted me on that years ago 😉 The only thing I have up my sleeve is the pass code to said gadget. Take that, youngster!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s the Big Three, Tamara. These kids know how to finger-swipe right out of the womb. That pass code, though, is gold – until they learn to by pass that somehow. That’s why we have to keep moving!

      1. Tamara says:

        I think the future is support groups for parents whose kids are e-smarter than them. I think it has already started. There are lists going around explaining texting abbreviations 😉 You know, TTYL and stuff.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        While we met, the kids would be home watching PG-13 TV series. Binging, even. TTYL – Tons of Tortillas Yield Love, that’s what it means, right?

  10. Rosey says:

    I never understood the instant dislike of a boy just because he was dating one’s daughter. The reverse can be said too.. my husband instantly disliked a girlfriend of one of our sons (serious to them at the time) and made their dating life miserable. I never got that either.. and though we (me and hubby) have many, many happy years and memories, that one caused a lot of fights out of earshot of the kids. A lot of not loud, not mean, but still very mad at each other fights. 😉

    PS Love the app lie… I might use that one w/the youngest, hehehe!!! Kidding (but the thought made me happy 🙂 😉 🙂 ).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Elise’s first official boyfriend was a good kid who used to walk the sidelines with me at her games. We have to look out for our kids, but also demonstrate we trust their judgement. What was it about her he instantly disliked?

      I think the idea that Big Brother is watching isn’t a bad thing for a kid to feel. Hopefully, their own conscience serves that purpose.

  11. tamaralikecamera says:

    Ugh, I think once I did the, “Just wait until Dada comes home!” Why did I do that? Luckily she was young and doesn’t remember!
    I do know everything about smartphones, though. Everything. And when Des brings home girls, I’m going to show them my water gun collection.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think that’s an easy out when the kids just don’t listen, though. Like, “my big brother can kick your butt!” kind of thing.

      By the time Des is dating girls, smartphones will be dinosaurs. And he’ll probably still have excellent hair and T-shirts, though.

  12. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says:

    My dad still tells a story about when I was younger. He used to tell me he knew everything, but one time I fired back that only God and President Reagan really knew everything! 🙂 My dad was a very close third place, though, I’m pretty sure!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      God and President Reagan! I forgot to add them to the Jesus, Mom and Santa triumvirate. That’s quite a council.

      Any dad would be honored to come in second to Ronny Reagan. Well, most.

  13. firebailey says:

    The Holy Trinity….you crack me up

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know when to kneel in prayer, Kerri! And when to duck.

  14. A friend of mine greeted his daughter’s first dance date at the door and whispered to him “If you touch her, they won’t find your body.” Needless to say, the young man didn’t even want to hold her hand the rest of the evening! From that point on, both daughters warned any new beaus that Dad was a little “different”.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Why put the thought in the kid’s mind? I’ve been thinking a lot about this after the comments. I think if a dad comes right out and threatens violence, kidding or not, a boy will think he’s unsure of his daughter’s choices and is insecure about what he’s taught her as a dad.

      Maybe, if I act like I trust the bloke, at a moment he’s about to make a bad decision, he’ll remember that.

      If not – well, hopefully my daughter will follow through properly on a well-placed groin kick.

  15. When my daughter starts dating, its my husband who is going to be the calm cool collected one and me sitting out in the front yard with a shot gun! **Note to self read up on shot guns.** My husband laughed and said, “No dear, it’s all about physiological warfare”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes, to physiological warfare. I want a boy to think I know more than I know.

  16. My kids are already on the verge of being more tech savvy than me. However, I don’t let them know it. Truth is, once they truly pass me, I’ll be the first one to ask for help.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      When did it become obsolete to use a flip phone like a champ? I refuse to refer to my new smartphone as a “machine,” though. I’m not that old! You’re right – the time will come when it’s good they can help us navigate these things. Let’s just hope they do the right thing when no one is watching!

      1. If so, we will know we have done our job as a parent.

  17. Rorybore says:

    Any smart boy knows he needs to impress and get by me. Mostly I just can’t wait to tease the crap out of them — not mean; just fun so that everyone will just Calm Down.
    Hubby doesn’t need to clean a gun — I am sure the boy will already know his profession and that he most certainly has one and knows how to use it. The eye contact is THE thing.
    Honestly though, my girls hold the world record for most topics of conversation covered in 5 minutes while spinning in a twirly skirt and flinging glitter on anyone within range. If the boy can stand them till curfew, I’ll give him the badge.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m interested to know the mom perspective on all that. A boy in high school said when i first went to a girl’s house, I should bring her a flower, and one for her mom. I think that would make a mom suspicious of me.

      Yes to eye contact. I might not be a lion, but I AM the alpha male. Make no mistake.

      Girls never outgrow that, do they?

      1. Rorybore says:

        I think a wise mom could see the heart behind the action. I mean, us girls sense when a guy is simply being smooth to slide under our radar. We just have to listen to that inner guide. just as we know a true gentleman when we see one, in that his words and actions line up.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think you’re right, Rore. Does a girl’s radar work if the dude is handsome and/or smells nice? We men have that inner guide when it comes to women, but we don’t always remember to switch it on.

        I’d love to hear more from moms about their approach when the daughter starts to get attention from boys.

  18. We used to tease my Dad – he did clean his hunting rifle once in front of a boyfriend. Shortly after that, he started leaving the ladder leaning against the house next to my window…we teased him that since the gun didn’t convince him to marry me, maybe he’d take advantage of the ladder.

    As for lies, we still do Santa but on a low-down scale because Hubby is dead set against it. He sees it as lying – I see it as making a little magic before the world crushes innocence.

    Great post!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think it’s a right of passion, unless you’re an ultra conservative. I wonder what they do?

      I could use a little magic now and then too. Glad you liked this, Jenn!

  19. I’m all about faking it until I make it around here. I know one day my kids will sniff out the truth, but right now they believe I know what I’m doing generally. For all they know, I’m a regular Bobby Flay, Martha Stewart and family doctor. Fooled ’em good!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s all we can do, right Gina? By the time they get the truth, hopefully they have kids of our own, or just feel sorry for us for having to live this way. I remember the day each of my girls realized I wasn’t the strongest man in the world.

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