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The origin of pimentoes: stupid things people tell kids
is it immoral to lie to kids?

 3:20 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

When I was a kid my uncle told me that pimentoes were a kind of little red fish that eat olive pits. They dump the olives into the pimento pond, the little fish dig into the olive and eat the pit, whereupon they're so stuffed they can't get out, then the olive is harvested and pickled with the poor little pimentofish still inside.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has an uncle like that.

He also said that the round haybails you see out in fields in the country are caused by extreme winds.



 3:58 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have two small kids and I think it's immoral to tell such ridiculous lies to kids to amuse yourself. It bugs me when I see other people do that.

A few *ahem* holiday related things are acceptable to me. I don't even want to introduce them to religion, I'd rather they decide what they want to believe when they're a bit older.


 4:08 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Personally, I think that's hilarious. :)

While it's technically a "lie", I don't think those do any harm, and actually think they help.

Obviously, at some point in your life you figured out it wasn't true. It didn't damage you and likely made you chuckle.

If everything taught to a child is 100% fact, the world would quickly become a very boring place in my opinion. There would be little imagination and humor left in them by the time they were an adult.

If you tell your kid a bedtime story, are you supposed to preface it with "Now..this isn't true..."?

My (almost) 3 year old little girl asks me almost every day where the moon is when she can't find it during the day. Am I supposed to explain to her the truth of why she can't see it? Nahhh ...it's sleeping.


 4:54 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

And I am the Red Power Ranger of the Mystic Force kind.. That is why I Gotta vanish..time and again..Gotta fight the monsters you see... The ones who keep spraying water on the road as I fight them with Fire ..my main weapon..

And the Mystic Force helps me arrange .. Chocolates, Sweets, toys out of thin air.. when the Force cooperates, that is..

My six year old daughter and nephew , believe ..nah don't believe..then believe and laugh.. then don't believe and pull my leg.. It is great fun.


 4:56 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

And when the Power Rangers come on TV, She calls me to come and watch Myself on TV.. with a twinkle in her eyes..

Makes my day.


 5:28 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've got two. Both myself and my wife are readheads, with freckles. They look terribly sexy . . . on HER! :-)

My mother told me the only cure was to take a freshly peed diaper and rub it on the freckles, that would make them fade. When you're 7, this doesn't sound like a bad thing. All I'll say is, of course it doesn't work.

What my wife was told is far better. She lived on a farm. Her grandmother told her she had to get up before sun up, take of all her clothes, go unto a cow field, and rub the morning dew from the grass all over her body. Before it dries, she had to sneak back in the house and back into bed without waking anyone up. If she was ever caught or found out, it wouldn't work. This ritual was to be performed a full 7 days in succession.

She was never caught, and it didn't work . . . either. :-)


 6:58 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm guilty of the same thing with my daughter. Rather than explain to a 2 year old what I did for a living (web developer), I said I was a bouncer at a speakeasy. Every day I'd come home from work and she'd ask me who came into the speakeasy that day... and I'd always have a fun story about clowns, pirates, dentists, ballerinas, etc., they'd come into the speakeasy and would eventually get rowdy and I'd kick them out of the speakeasy and say "AND DON'T COME BACK!.

Eventually I quit my job at the speakeasy and worked at a barrel factory carrying barrels. Which was plausible because our office building was a converted brewery with piles of antique barrels all over the place.

Now she's 5, and I'm not working in that converted barrel factory any more. Now when I go to work, I say I'm a spammer. I send millions of email messages to people all over the world telling them about things that are on sale. Which is perhaps closer to reality than being a bouncer, though I'm sure that'll bite me in the hiney some day. (btw, I am not a spammer - it's a lie, but it's more "truthy" than the other fake jobs I've held)

rocknbil, that is the funniest thing I've heard all week. The ritual your wife's gramma described sounds like going "a-maying", one of many rituals associated with May Day. Washing in May Dew to promote beauty is a very old, very real, tradition.

So what's the difference between preserving certain "holiday traditions" and the story of the pimentofish? To me they seem like the same thing.

Like the loud buzzing sound that a cicada bug makes. The same uncle taught me that was the sound of electricity going through overhead power lines.


 8:56 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

i told my niece that if she didn't stop playing her drums then the police would come and chop off her arms, and burn her drum, and set light to her drumsticks.


 9:04 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Several years ago, someone that I was almost related to told my young son that the quartz crystal my son was holding was alive. I told my son otherwise.

My mother told me when I was young that if I didn't stop making faces, my face would freeze that way. Damned if she wasn't right. :)


 9:47 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oh and let's not forget - how many males are NOT BLIND and do not have hair growing in their palms?

Answering the question, I don't think it's immoral, it teaches them: if your parents are willing to spoof you, beware of anything anyone else tells you X 10. :-)


 11:13 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm guilty - rather than explain - what I did for a living - I said...

Hmm, I wonder where the child's confusion starts...


 12:02 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have to add to this thread with a 'My Mom told me...' story. I will add that I am not sure I have ever forgiven her for this.

When I was young, my family often used to drive by a Doggie Diner restaurant in a neighboring city. I always wanted to eat there because I was thrilled by the HUGE 3D 'weiner-dog head with a chef's hat' sign. Those of you have ever seen a Doggie Diner will know exactly what I mean. Those of you who haven't, well, there is always Google Image Search. ;)

Anyway, early on my mother told me that we could not go there to eat because diners were required to be formally dressed to even enter the establishment - and we drove right on by every single time.

Yes, I was pretty gullible; I actually believed it even though the place sold mainly served hot-dogs.

As I said, though, forgiveness has not been quick or sure.



 12:16 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

My dad told me kids weren't allowed in Toys R US. I looked at him funny and was going to stay in the car, until he told me he was kidding.


 1:48 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have very fond memories of Kipling's "Just So" stories. We used to read them outloud in the car on family trips.

Our family also had a gift for telling whoppers. They even had a name - "Terrydiddles". It was a game, and the goal was to get as many people as possible to beleive it as long as possible.

I remember one about it being so cold the headlight beams froze, preventing the car from being able to be pulled into the garage.

And then there was the time that I had my mother convinced that brick facades were laid from the top down. That is, afterall, the only way that one can guarantee that the bricks perfectly match the roofline ;)


 5:35 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Giraffes' necks can telescope in and out, allowing the giraffe to reach higher branches when they need to, then return their neck to normal length when they're finished.


 6:03 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

When I was very young, watching my mom drinking coffee I wanted to try some and she told me that if I did I would grow a tail. I never tried coffee until I was much older....(and I guess these days I am making up for lost time :))


 6:22 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yesterday my five years old son asked me: "...and ...how the Earth started?"

I just told him that nobody really knows but it's supossed that it was a big explosion where the Earth, the Sun and galaxies born.

Then he back to his Spiderman toys. Now, probably, he thinks something about an explosion (like the Crypton explosion in Superman) in the origin of the Earth and he can play again with his favorite superhero.

I didn't lie to him. I didn't explained all of my own philosophy. We two stayed satisfied.

...and I think for myself "What a wonderful world".


 6:48 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I remember, when I was three or four years old our kindergarten group went for a walk. There was a garbage truck on the street and a man passing joked we should beware of the garbage truck, the garbage men would put little children into their truck and take them with them.

I still used to be afraid of garbage trucks and go to the other side of the street when I saw a garbage truck somewhere until I was 10. I did not really believe what the man said but - just in case...

So harmless little jokes are ok I think, as long as you do not tell children lies that frighten them.

Myself, I trie to explain to my three year old nephew things instead of lying. Because the truth is often much more fun than a ly.

For example he wanted to know where his pee went after he used the bathroom. So I told him the pineapple juice he was drinking came over the sea from pacific islands with ships and then were made into juice which goes through his body and is converted into pee. The pee goes through pipes into the sewer and then into the sewage treatment plant and then into the river and from there into the sea where then the ships could sail on it to bring more pineapples. I even showed him on Google maps the way his pee would take from his house to the sea.

Every time he went to the bathroom after that for some time he would tell everybody he would now use the bathroom so that the ships could sail.


 7:05 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Stupid superstitions parents tell kids that can cause them anxiety all their lives for no reason:

Drop a spoon, a woman is coming to your home. Not bad, but untrue.
Drop a fork, a man is coming to your home. Not bad, but untrue.
Drop a knife, an enemy is coming to your home. VERY bad, and untrue.

So every time you drop a knife (like after buttering morning toast or your veggies at dinner), you have to tell yourself, "NO, an enemy is NOT coming, that is nonsense and not true."

Nice thread. The word needs to get out that parents should *think* and watch what they say to kids.


 8:08 am on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Answering the question, I don't think it's immoral, it teaches them: if your parents are willing to spoof you, beware of anything anyone else tells you X 10. :-)

That's absolutely the way I see it. The world is full of fiction, stories, traditions and the like - and being able to appreciate them and understand them for what they are is a very important thing. Even more so is the ability to understand that not everything people say is true, and to develop the means to discern intelligently whether something is reliable.

Every few years as adults we vote for our government; and we do so mostly based upon what the candidates tell us about themselves and their plans for us. If you've never had a chance to debunk pimento fish and the tooth fairy for yourself, how will you be able to see through the highly polished pitch of the wrong politician?

Likewise, I believe that knowing the importance of making your own decisions about truth and fiction is the very foundation of self confidence, the ability to form moral judgements, and eventually one's ability to interact effectively and successfully with society at large.


 5:43 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think it is hysterical. I find that kids tend to appreciate the humor in stories like this. They are better able to connect with you as well because let's face it, kids have an overactive imagination too. Why not join them by using yours? Making up stories is a great learning experience for them as well. It is all fun!


 6:22 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Several years ago, someone that I was almost related to told my young son that the quartz crystal my son was holding was alive.

But quartz crystals are alive. OK, not in the sense that we might understand, but they certainly have energy, which is a life force... more than I seem to have today, I'm just breathing and taking up space.

The only lesson I really tried to impart to my kid was that "all men are pigs". She didn't believe me back then, now she does. Sometimes the truth sounds too far fetched to be true.


 6:28 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

OK, not in the sense that we might understand

See, we agree. :)


 4:25 am on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of parents tend to underestimate kids which is why they dish out wild theories instead of giving the real answers to various seemingly-complicated questions like the theory of evolution or why the moon shrinks in size etc. A dumbed down answer which can be elaborated on and corrected a few years later is better than offering nonsensical explanations, IMHO. Also, suggesting that the child's hands may get chopped off or he/she may get kidnaped in a garbage truck may be traumatic to the child and we may not even realise it.


 2:28 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oh, if my daughter asks why the moon shrinks in size, I'll tell her the truth. That's science. But if she ever asks about pimentoes... that's mythology. :)

When I was a kid I was on the beach and I found hundreds of these little oval-shaped, bright pink shells all over the place, ranging in color from pink to red. I collected as many as I could find, enough to fill a whole bag! I eventually showed my Mom, and she said "dear, those are just pistachio shells."

Pistachio Shells! Well, now I knew the name of them. Pistachios were obviously little shellfish, like tiny baby pink clams.

No one corrected this notion for quite a long time.


 9:51 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

When I was 4 my mom was pregnant with my sister, my grandpa told me that she had eaten a watermelon seed and that it was a watermelon growing inside her belly and she would have to go to the doctor to get it cut out. I - to this day - remember the feeling of absolute terror over the watermelon that I had just eaten. I was so scared that I might have accidentally eaten a seed and that I would have a watermelon burst out of my "tummy." (because my stomach couldn't hold anything as big as my mom was) I didn't eat watermelon again until I was probably 10.

Be careful what you say to small children. They trust you without a doubt. I'm my 4 year old daughter's hero and I intend to stay that way for a while.


 6:53 am on Jul 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I cross my hands, like im praying, but i tuck a finger under the palm, and have my kid count my fingers...
I think he goes to school and tells his friends that his daddy only has 9 fingers...
sometimes the wife asks me if i heard this or saw that, and i say no, just because..she's half convinced that she is loosing her mind...
one time (at band camp) we were going back to the camping site after a late night of gambling (?) and i fell asleep on the way back, but when i woke up, i knew where we were, but had her convinced that we were lost in the middle of nowhere... (gee honey, none of this looks familiar to me).. heeh...

oh, and dont swallow gum because it stays in your stomach for 7 years...


 9:47 am on Jul 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The more you baby your kids, the more they turn into lifelong 'babies'. )

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