These 10 unlikely lies our parents told us as children

These 10 unlikely lies our parents told us as children

Remember the tales and stories our parents used to tell us ? Some were to teach valuable lessons, while others were simply to keep us in line. As we grew up, we discovered that not everything we were told was entirely true. Let’s dive into the ten most common myths our parents told us, shedding light on these childhood fabrications.

Myths about food

Our parents had a trove of tales about food, perhaps to encourage us to eat healthily or finish our meals. One such popular myth is that eating carrots improves your night vision. This story has its roots in World War II propaganda but has little scientific basis in improving eyesight to superhero levels. Another fib was about swallowing gum, with warnings it would stay in your stomach for seven years. In reality, while it’s true that gum doesn’t digest, it passes through the digestive system like any other non-digestible item.

Fables to encourage good behaviour

Behavioral myths were abundant, often designed to instill good habits or discourage bad ones. The idea that making faces could cause our face to freeze in that position is one many of us heard. Similarly, the advice that cracking knuckles leads to arthritis aimed to prevent a habit many adults find annoying, despite there being minimal evidence to support it directly leading to arthritis.

Stories to instill fear

Fear-based tales were another tool in our parents’ arsenal. The concept of the Boogeyman lurking in dark places was a universal strategy to keep children away from potential dangers or encourage bedtimes. While obviously mythical, the underlying intent was to instill a sense of caution.

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Health-related myths

Health has always been a concern for parents, leading to several myths to protect us. The belief that sitting too close to the television damages your eyes has been debated for decades. Although eye strain can occur, permanent damage is unlikely. Similarly, the myth that swimming after eating causes cramps was a standard warning to give parents peace of mind while children digested their meals by the poolside.

Outdoor and exercise myths

Outdoor activities weren’t free from their own set of myths. The notion that you’ll catch a cold from going outside with wet hair still persists, despite colds being caused by viruses, not temperature. Another exercise-related myth is the false idea that you need to wait an hour after eating to exercise to avoid cramps or drowning.

Table of unlikely childhood myths

Myth Category Truth
Eating carrots improves night vision Food Rooted in WWII propaganda, not proven to enhance vision significantly
Swallowing gum stays in your stomach for seven years Food Passes through the digestive system normally
Making faces can make it freeze that way Behaviour No evidence to support this claim
Cracking knuckles leads to arthritis Behaviour Minimal evidence linking it directly to arthritis
Boogeyman preys on misbehaving children Fear-based Mythical, intended to instill caution
Sitting too close to the TV damages eyes Health Can cause eye strain but not permanent damage
Swimming after eating causes cramps Health More about giving time for digestion, less about actual danger
Going outside with wet hair causes colds Outdoor Colds are caused by viruses, not cold air
Waiting an hour after eating to exercise Outdoor No significant evidence supporting this rule
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In reflecting on these myths, it’s apparent that while our parents’ advice was well-intentioned, it wasn’t always based on scientific fact. These tales, whether about the importance of dietary choices or the risks of certain behaviors, played a significant role in our childhood. Yet, as we move forward, it’s essential to distinguish between factual advice and well-meaning myths. By doing so, we not only honor the intent behind these stories but also embrace a more informed approach to health, safety, and behavior.

Lance Brownfield