Why You Should NOT Always Tell The Truth to Your Child (15+ Reasons)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

When we become parents, we all vow never to lie to our children regardless of the situation. But there comes a time in any parent’s life when a lie would be far better than the truth, and there are many reasons why. 

Sometimes a lie would be far better for your child emotionally because they might not be old enough for the truth, or it would be too painful. This is especially true in young children who have lost a pet and don’t understand death. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring the various reasons why a lie may outweigh the truth when speaking to children and what situations could be avoided. 

1. They May Not Be Old Enough For The Truth 

One of the most common reasons behind a parent lying is because their child is too young to understand the truth and the reasons behind it. This includes the death of a pet or relative, and the child isn’t quite old enough to understand what death means. 

A lie may be to sugarcoat the truth and safeguard the child. When they are older and have a better understanding of how the world and life, in general, work, the truth will slowly be brought in.

2. The Truth May Be Inappropriate 

Sometimes children ask questions that are inappropriate, and there is no child-friendly way to answer their questions. In this case, it could be okay to lie about the answer, or you could tell your child you don’t know the answer. 

Certain truths come with certain ages; as one gets older, they will start to view their parents differently as they will be a lot more open with you when they are emotionally ready.

3. They Don’t Need to Know the Truth 

Sometimes we ‘lie’ to our children not by actually lying but rather by not telling them the truth. This is especially true in situations when the truth is harmful or could be emotionally damaging. But remember, you would rather have your child hear the truth from you than from someone else.

4. The Truth Could Be Harmful 

Sometimes we hide the truth to protect our children from both physical and mental harm. As parents, it is a part of our instinct to protect our young, even if it may be frowned upon by others. 

Sometimes telling your child the truth about something could emotionally scar them. You will always want to protect your child at all costs and may feel you can control the severity of the hurt the truth may cause them.

5. They Might Not Handle the Truth 

When children are young, they don’t possess the mental or emotional capacity to process certain things in life. This includes things such as death, disease, or injury. As a result, sometimes it’s better to lie about the circumstances of something rather than tell them the truth. With age comes understanding.

6. They Might Not Be Mature Enough 

All children mature at different times in their lives. But sometimes they don’t mature due to a medical problem. So even if your child may technically be old enough to hear the truth, they may not be mature enough to handle it. You will know at what point your child is ready to hear the truth.

7. They Might Not be Ready for the truth 

Sometimes in the case of a loved one dying, it would be better to allow your child to first process their death before telling them the circumstances surrounding it. This is especially true in a situation where someone dies suddenly or due to unnatural causes.

When a child may hear of a traumatic death, it will cause a great deal of damage to them emotionally. Let your child process a situation; decide when they are ready to deal with any traumatic or hurtful details.

8. The Truth Could Be Devastating 

Sometimes learning the truth about something could be emotionally devastating for a child. An example of this would be the lie of Santa Clause, a mythical being who brings presents to children on Christmas. Sometimes it’s better to lie to keep them from losing their love for something. 

Let your child live in a fairy tale world during their early childhood years; the truth may take their innocence away from them earlier than necessary.

9. There May Be No Need to Tell the Truth 

Sometimes the truth about something may not be necessary for a child to hear. This could be true in the case of their favorite TV show ending due to something the actor did. You can simply tell your child the show ended happily and not tell them what truly happened. 

A child doesn’t need all the details that will take the joy away from the little things they enjoy.

10. The Truth Doesn’t Involve Them 

Sometimes children don’t need to know the truth because it doesn’t involve them or won’t affect them. Oversharing things with your child could cause long-lasting emotional damage. Some adults are very open with their children; therefore, they grow up way before their time. 

11. The Question Might Not Need to Be Answered 

Sometimes children ask things that they really don’t need the answer to. When this happens, telling them you don’t know the answer is okay. Instead, ask them what they think the answer is, and they will more than likely not ask you again. 

12. The Truth May be Confusing 

Sometimes the truth about a situation is complicated and confusing, and there is no way to explain it to your child in a way that they would understand. In this case, it’s okay to lie a bit about the truth, so they better understand what happened. 

Children are young and occasionally naïve, and they may not understand the reasoning behind an event or something that has happened, especially if it involves someone they may know. 

13. You Need to Protect Someone 

There are times when you may need to lie to your child to protect someone in their life. An example of this would be to tell them their mom or dad didn’t come to pick them up because they had something very important to do, rather than telling your child it’s because they didn’t want to. 

14. You May Not Understand the Truth Yourself 

It would be impossible for you to share the truth with your child if you yourself are unable to understand it. Rather take the time to process something before you tell your child so that you’ll be able to help them understand.

15. You Might Not Be Emotionally Ready 

There are times when it’s the parent who isn’t emotionally ready to share the truth with their child, especially about very serious things. 

This includes a situation where they or someone close to them has been diagnosed with a serious illness, and you need time to come to terms with it before sharing the news. Wait until you are able to handle and process a truth before telling your little one.

16. The Circumstances Surrounding the Truth Might Change 

Sometimes the situation surrounding a truth might change, and telling your child could make you seem like a liar. Therefore, sometimes it is best to hide the truth about something from your child until you know it’s completely true. 


Sometimes there’ll be a good reason to lie to your child, and other times it would be better to tell the truth. It is up to you as their parent to decide whether or not the truth is appropriate for them and whether or not they’ll be able to process the truth properly.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.