Peak dishonesty occurs in adolescence, with teenagers telling lies with the most frequency, according to the first study into age-related lying, published this weekend.
But when it comes to telling porkies, perhaps teenagers have simply learned from the masters.
Here are 10 of the cruellest lies mothers and fathers have told their children, as recalled by guilty parents (and grown-up kids who've discovered the truth):
1. "When the ice-cream truck plays music, that means it’s out of ice-cream"Source
2. Mum/Big Brother
"A friend's mum hung a portrait of herself (looking into the camera) in their kitchen and told them she could see everything they did while in that room - pinching sugar and everything. So of course, when you looked back to check if she was seeing you as you reached for the sugar bowl, you found that she was. It cut the crime rate within the kitchen area to zero."
3. The truth about chocolate chip cookies
"I told her that the number of chocolate chips in cookies was inversely proportional to the size of the cookies. She would then dig around the cookie jar for the smallest cookies, which left the biggest ones for yours truly."
4. The dog that was drafted to Vietnam
“When I was in 2nd grade, I had a little terrier named Max. Max was pretty defensive of me, and had bitten more than one of my playmates. After he had returned from being in quarantine for the second time after biting another friend, I came home from school one afternoon to find him gone. My parents told me he had been drafted and had to go to Vietnam. We lived on a US Air Force base at the time, and I knew lots of kids whose dads were in Vietnam, and we had family friends who sent me letters telling me how well Max was doing helping them find the Viet Cong. It was years before I learned the truth.”
5. How not to pretend to be asleep
"As young kids, my sister and I would love to sleep in on weekends if we could. So even if we actually woke up a bit earlier than usual, we'd lay in bed and pretend to be asleep when our dad came in to wake us up.
"Dad would always catch our bluff, though, and tricked us into proving we were in fact awake by saying 'Are these kids still really asleep? I would believe it if they shook their legs a little bit.' Indeed, being the little suckers we were, we'd fall for it and shake our legs ever so slightly. Each and every time."
6. The magic goldfish
"When I was in college we were discussing childhood pets and I told my friends about the goldfish that I'd won at the fair that had lived for 7 years and could change colors. Cue snickering.
"My parents had been doing the replace-the-goldfish trick for years and I completely bought it. They probably got 7-10 new goldfish in every color that goldfish come in. If I hadn't actually witnessed the fish die while my parents were out of town and my grandmother was taking care of me, I think we might still have a color-changing goldfish named Mary Nuisance."
7. Santa doesn't like milk and cookies
"My dad used to tell me Santa was tired of milk and cookies, I’d get extra toys if I left Doritos and beer. That went on for years."
8. There's CCTV in your classroom
"My father told all three of us siblings that the school had put mini CCTV cameras in classrooms, and the live stream was provided to all parents so that they could keep an eye on their children.
"He basically convinced us that he was monitoring every one of our moves in school.
"What's worse is, my dad was a master of reverse psychology. Every time he saw us look even remotely guilty, he'd ask, "Well, why did you do that at school today?" Cleverly, he never specified what 'that' was. We would think, "oh God! He knows!" and would be left with no option but to confess and apologise."
9. Beef jerky: not for kids
"One time when I was about 7 or 8 I was with my mom at a gas station and asked her if she would buy me a package of beef jerky. She responded by telling me that it was illegal for people under the age of 18 to eat beef jerky, just like cigarettes. I took this on faith and never questioned or reconsidered her logic.
"Fast forward to my 18th birthday when I showed up to high school and proclaimed to my friends that the first thing I would do with my newfound adulthood was finally buy a pack of beef jerky. When they essentially replied with 'WTF are you talking about?' I explained that only adults could eat beef jerky... and they made fun of me until graduation.”
10. Children are suckers
“When I was little, I used to suck my thumb. As I got older, my parents must have wanted this to stop, because this conversation happened while driving with my dad (I was probably three):
"Dad: 'Still sucking that thumb?'
"Dad: 'Aren't you worried about ending up like those flamingos at the zoo?'
"Dad: 'Haven't you ever noticed how they always stand on one leg? You see, they sucked their toes for so long, that they dissolved! The more they sucked, the more disappeared. Eventually they sucked their whole leg right off!'
"Didn't suck my thumb ever again."