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|8 Out Of 10 Mums Say|
A survey just released shows that the UK is a nation of 'white liars': 40% of parents have told their children a white lie in the last month. But parents should not feel guilty for telling their children white lies - they are good for their development, by protecting their innocence and stimulating their imagination.
The Tooth Fairy, Father Christmas and the night vision properties of carrots are the most popular white lies, while few modern parents use the myth of the stork to explain a younger sibling 's arrival to children. In these health conscious times, more than one in ten parents in the UK admitted telling their children that when an ice cream van plays a tune, it has run out of ice creams.
The research was conducted by kitchen towel brand Lotus Thirst Pockets, and analysed by leading research psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman. Lotus Thirst Pockets new TV commercial shows a father using a white lie to explain to his son that the water absorbency of kitchen towels is due to thousands of tiny elephants contained within the paper, which shhhhlurp the water.
White lies are defined by Dr Sigman as half truths, embellishments or outright myths that parents use to explain answers to difficult questions. The research proves that parents tell white lies with good intention. 90% of parents in the UK tell their children white lies to protect their innocence and 75% to stimulate their child's imagination. 64% tell white lies for speed, because the answer to a question is too complicated and 44% because they don 't know the answer themselves.
The most popular white lies are the existence of the Tooth Fairy (86%) and Father Christmas (85%). In these days of healthy eating, 71% of parents admitted that they had told their children that eating carrots helps them to see in the dark and 11% that 'when the ice cream van plays a tune, it has sold out'. Old wives tale classics, like the myth that babies are delivered in a stork's beak seem to be dying out - only 11% of respondents admitted that they had ever told it.
Dr Aric Sigman commented, "It is a natural parental instinct to be economical with the truth with our children, but parents should not feel guilty. White lies are told for a number of reasons; to protect our children's innocence, to explain an answer which if told literally would confuse a child, and most importantly because they can be fun. White lies, like the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas, stimulate imagination and create a sense of enchantment and excitement for children."
Parents in the UK are definitely not shy about telling white lies. 40% of respondents have told their child a white lie in the last month. 23% of parents in the UK tell their children at least one white lie a week and 16% at least two per week.
75% of parents have told a white lie to their children
40% have told a white lie in the last month
90% tell a white lie to protect their child's innocence
44% tell a white lie because they don't know the answer
Tooth fairy most popular white lie 86%
11% have told kids that an ice cream van plays a tune when it has run out of ice cream
Source: Lotus Thirst pockets
The research was conducted by ICM Omnibus amongst 1000 UK parents
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