Most parents are guilty of telling their kids a lie from time to time. From well-worn classics like "That music means the van's out of ice cream," to wacky off-the-cuff inventions, parental fibs usually go on to become favourite family in-jokes once the kids are old enough to figure them out.
A post in message board AskReddit recently asked users to share their favourite lies that parents have told their kids, and users rushed forward to share their own stories of hilarious and devilishly inventive fibs. We've picked a few of our faves - recognise any of these?
1. My flatmate grew up on a farm and was told by her parents that their TV only worked when it rained. (Brian_is_a_tit)
2. "Don't touch that. It'll turn into spiders." (Captain_Ripp)
3. I told my niece they had to hold an adults hand when they were crossing the road or else the police will come and arrest them and they'd be put in jail. The oldest one then tried to run across the road by herself, but just as she got to the edge of the road, a cop car came around the corner and she ran back to me crying and begged me not to let them take her to jail. (Squiddy the Mouse)
4. My sister has her kids convinced that when they lie their tongues turn purple. She knows they're lying when they try to hide their tongue while talking (miabaldo)
5. My parents told me that if I pressed the little "reset" button on the power outlets, the house would explode. (obber3)
6. That Santa uses Christmas trees as spy beacons to make sure children aren't being naughty. (Code2211)
8. Dad convinced us he had a special button to change red lights to green. Literally didn't realize he was bullshitting until I was 12. (dracarys_dude)
9. The car won't start if your seat belt isn't on. (FoodCake)
10. People get 10,000 words per month. If you reach the limit, you can't physically speak until the new month begins. Anytime I was especially talkative, Dad would say, "Careful now, I have to think you are up over 9,000 by now." (Toastwaver)
11. My dad told me that pushing the seat recline button on an airplane helps the plane take off, and that if not enough people push it the plane would crash. (palatablezeus)
12. My friends child is allergic to peanuts. When they are at the store and he whines for her to buy him a toy she tells him "it has peanuts." (liftlovelife)
14. Coconuts are bear eggs. (Ms_Plick)
15. My mom told my brother and I that a penguin lived behind the fridge, and if we left the door open too long we'd steal his cold and he'd get mad and come out and bite us. (khaelbee)
And we can't resist adding in this extra one, which came from a Facebook commenter, in which one mum invents a tale worthy of EastEnders to avoid letting her kids gorge on Happy Meals.
"My mom told me she was married to Ronald McDonald before she met my dad. She told me that they had 16 hamburger children together, but the babysitter ate them one night when she was hungry. Their marriage never recovered. That's why we couldn't go to McDonalds ever."
Let us know what lies you've told your kids - or what your own parents had you believing as a child!