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Do you ever lie about your childs age?

post #1 of 133
Thread Starter 
I haven't in the past, but I have started to.

I have a 3yo DD and a 5yo DS. This weekend there was a wonderful music program in town. There was a toddler-mommy sing along and dance for 1-4 yo, and a music theatre presentation and chances to try different musical instruments for 4-6yo.

Now technically DH could have taken DS to the older kids event, and I could have taken DD to the younger kids event. And I absolutely would have if I thought DD would ruin it for the other kids by not acting appropriately.

But I knew my DD would have so much more fun in the theatre and trying out instruments. So I took them both to that. The sign clearly said 4-6yo, but no one specifically asked us, and when one person commented on sign, my DD said "but I am only 3 years old" and I quickly replied "Yes, but you are almost 4." Which is also a big fat lie; her birthday is mid november. Obviously NOT a good message to be sending my DD.

However, my DD had a huge blast. She loved watching the theatre, she joined in the group when they invited kids and did all the copycat movements and singing and dance. She just looked like a really short 4 yo. She tried out a tiny violin, a flute, the piano.... She is still talking about what a fun time she had.

So yeah, I may lie again if the situation arrises. For those of you that wouldn't, do you feel the lie itself is more damaging than the actual experience? For those of you that would do it, do you feel the experience is more valuable and you have not harmed anyone else, or do you worry that you give your child the wrong message, that he/she is above following the rules?
post #2 of 133
Yes I have. For example - if it was 3 and unders get in free... well yeah - if it saved me a huge deal of money, I would lie about his age. Yes - terrible liars are we ...doomed to hell! lol
He is nearing 5 now though and is pretty big for his age - so we don't do that anymore.
post #3 of 133
No, I don't lie about my children's ages.
post #4 of 133
I can see the temptation -- the age limits seem so arbitrary, and no one asks for a birth certificate. It can save money and allow your child access to things they would like to do, like with your daughter. On the other hand, I clearly remember being mortified and feeling diminished by my mom constantly doing this with me. I was small for my age, so she would regularly lie in order to save admission fees. No seven year old wants to be passed off a "baby" five year old! I also think it's confusing for the child. We teach them not to lie, and then they see us doing it when it's to our advantage. I never did it with my daughter.
post #5 of 133
I would never lie to save admission price, that is stealing.

As far as your situation, I don't really think you needed to lie. THey have no idea if you have a dh who could have watched your younger dd or taken her to the younger program. I'm sure if you just said "she's tagging along with big 5-yo brother" that would have been fine...lots of 4-6 yos are going to have younger siblings who might have to tag-along.
post #6 of 133
I would NOT lie to get a cheaper admission price - that is simply wrong IMO.

I also would not have lied about age for the event you mentioned - I seriously doubt they would have forced you to leave the event because your daughter was 3, not 4. There are lots of people who wouldn't have any choice but to take both kids to the same event, kwim? I don't think it was horrible, awful thing, but probably not necessary to lie.
post #7 of 133
I don't lie about my kids ages. I don't want to teach my children that it's okay to lie if it gets them something they want, and I just feel that it's wrong. In your situation (and I have certainly been there) I would have asked if it was okay for me to bring the younger sibling along. Most groups have been fine with it. Sure, my kids have missed out on things that they would have enjoyed but things like that happen. My 5yo would love to ride the bigger roller coasters at amusement parks and I'm sure he would really enjoy them but it's not my place to tell him he can. Rules are set for a reason, some rules can be bent of course but I feel that decision is up to the person who made the rule. Sort of like how rules are different at different people's houses, something that is okay at my house may not be okay at my neighbor's and in the end it's her house and if we don't want to follow her rules we don't have to be there.
post #8 of 133
Yes, I have, and would again if I thought it would be a more appropriate placement for my kids. My oldest son is very athletic so it's come up in sports; my second son is academically gifted so it will probably come up more in that arena. The age limits are arbitrary and it doesn't hurt anyone to have a kid a little outside the age if they are able to participate just as well as anyone else.
Often if you ask, they will be flexible with the age guidelines though.
post #9 of 133
I would not lie to save money: as others wrote, that's stealing and a very bad example.

I *might* exaggerate a bit -- 5.5 could become "almost six" -- and ASK to see if there's any wiggle room. If it's strictly enforced, I wouldn't lie.
post #10 of 133
I have not lied to save admission prices to places, BUT I have not corrected others either. There have been at least 5-6 times where we've gone somewhere, the person selling us tickets has thought she was younger and didn't charge us and we didn't correct them.
In your situation I would have done the same thing.
post #11 of 133
No. I have a friend who did that a lot when our kids were little, making her daughter "younger" to get in free somewhere. Of course then I'd pay for my DD, who is the same age, and it always irritated me that my DD would see my friend being rewarded for lying. She'd say right out loud, "She's 2," when my DD knew very well her friend was 3 or 4 (and when she heard it, she would always say loudly, "No, she's not! She's 3 (or 4)!") I just think it's dishonest.
post #12 of 133
I don't lie about my kids ages. Especially not to get in somewhere for free.
I also don't think it was that terrible to let your child participate in this event however. Glad you all had fun!
post #13 of 133
I don't think I'd do it to save money.

I did "lie by omission" when DD and her best friend were 1 week shy and 2 weeks shy of their 4th birthdays. We went skiing and the kids ski classes are for 4 and up.

I had actually called to check and talked to the director, they said it was fine as long as they were okay with separation from parents, etc. but that sometimes the college-age people at registration didn't understand that so to just say they were 4. We did. It was fine. 6 mo younger I wouldn't have, and I was upfront in the initial phone call.

I don't think it would have been an issue for your event, OP. You could just say "she's 3, but she's such a music lover, she came with her big brother." If it's rigidly rule-bound, like the skiing, then it will say so up front.
post #14 of 133
I don't lie, but I will round a bit. Not for admission, but when strangers ask me, I often will say "3" if DD is having an off day and is acting a bit younger than usual or.... "3 1/2, almost 4" if she's reading books out loud and people are acting like she shouldn't know how to read yet. I wouldn't round for rollercoaster rides or anything where it was a safety issue, though.

In your case, I might have said to DD "You'll be 4 next birthday!" (very excited like, but not saying it was soon). Then again, my DD is making all sorts of plans for "when she's 4" and "when she's 8" and whatever.



Oh, and my parents occasionally lied (by ~ 6 mos only) for admission prices, and I'm an upright, honest member of society with no hard feelings. Then again, if I remember right, it was when I was about 10-11, so it wasn't like I was a little kid by then having to be quiet about my real age.

Sounds like it wasn't a big deal and she behaved perfectly!
post #15 of 133
I did this past summer. We were at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. Their policy is no single riders under the age of 8. Oldest dd was 7yrs, 10 months. I told her to say she was 8 if anyone asked. No one did because she is a tall child and easily looks a year or so older then her age. Because she is a bigger then average child, I did not feel like it was unsafe for her to ride alone since her birthday was only two months away.
post #16 of 133
I did, so I could get her into disneyland for free. She had JUST turned three, so I didn't feel too bad.
post #17 of 133
I don't lie to save on admission fees. That's pretty straightforward.

Lying for participation in an activity is a little trickier. Age limits can be arbitrary, and often a younger child can participate safely and appropriately in a next-age-up class, as can an older child in the next-age-down. I understand the reasons for age limits though.

Safety is a clear priority. In some activities, there may be government-mandated supervision levels. In some sports/physical activities, there may be a real developmental gap that makes it dangerous for a child to play up - e.g. contact football or hockey.

Ability to participate is also an issue. Sometimes a child just can't keep up. The older children are hampered by the younger kids - they don't enjoy the activity and don't get as much out of it as they otherwise would. Behaviour deteriorates all around.

DD is in an extra-curricular science class right now. A couple of moms lobbied to get their younger children included, on the basis that the kids could manage the work of the class. Well, they can't. The instructors have had to slow things down for them. Their poor behaviour is disruptive to everyone. If the age limits had been enforced, and these kids were in a class appropriate to their age and ability, everyone, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNGER KIDS, would be much happier.

Unfortunately, too many parents are convinced that their little darlings are advanced, and insist they be included in activities before they are ready. If it truly is an appropriate placement, I'm fine with it, but sadly, it often isn't.
post #18 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
I would NOT lie to get a cheaper admission price - that is simply wrong IMO.

I also would not have lied about age for the event you mentioned - I seriously doubt they would have forced you to leave the event because your daughter was 3, not 4. There are lots of people who wouldn't have any choice but to take both kids to the same event, kwim? I don't think it was horrible, awful thing, but probably not necessary to lie.
I agree with both parts. I won't lie to get free/reduced admission. If I think they're old enough to handle something, though, I just take them. Oddly enough, the library is the only place it's ever been an issue. They want only 12-24 month old kids, for instance, and they get snippy about it. The end result is very low attendance for library programs. They're during the day, so it stands to reason (to me, anyway) that the moms going are at home with their children. I'm not going to get a babysitter for my 3YO to take my 1YO to story-time, ya know?

In general, though, I try to assess how well I think DC will do in the program and know that most organizers don't care as long as your child isn't disruptive or clearly unable to participate.
post #19 of 133
I haven't lied about dd's age and I try not to lie about other things in front of her. I don't think it sends a good message to kids about honesty.
post #20 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
DD is in an extra-curricular science class right now. A couple of moms lobbied to get their younger children included, on the basis that the kids could manage the work of the class. Well, they can't. The instructors have had to slow things down for them. Their poor behaviour is disruptive to everyone. If the age limits had been enforced, and these kids were in a class appropriate to their age and ability, everyone, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNGER KIDS, would be much happier.

Unfortunately, too many parents are convinced that their little darlings are advanced, and insist they be included in activities before they are ready. If it truly is an appropriate placement, I'm fine with it, but sadly, it often isn't.
I have seen this in action too. It's one of the reasons why so many places have iron-clad age requirements, which hurts the kids who might be a little young but ARE capable of handling the work. IME though, parents often grossly over-estimate the emotional capacity of their gifted kiddos. Sometimes the kids can compensate for it by staying out of the way (I was good at that as a child), but some kids cannot and that spoils it for everyone.

I've worked with many kids who were perhaps intellectually capable of doing the work, but who didn't have the behavior or social skills suited to the group environment. And I don't blame the parents necessarily--they're thinking of their child as an individual, not group dynamics. But most rec classes and extra-curricular groups are *group* activities, and depending on the ages the older kids may not have the patience for young kids who don't have comparable social skills (or even, sadly, their same-age peers who do not).

When you're talking about preschool/school age ages 3-6, there's also the legal liability and licensing issue as well, in most states.

I really hate it when people don't do the courtesy of working with the organization to determine why the age parameters are there. Most of the time, they're not "arbitrary"--they're there because of problems in the past or because of liability or licensing requirements. I think it's because so many people obviously lie or just do it anyway that more strict policies be put into place. All it takes are a handful of bad experiences to really make you gun shy. I know I have to fight the instinct to roll my eyes when I hear someone castigating the folks at the front desk of the rec center about age limits, because I have had to deal with many "advanced" kids who *were* certainly bright or talented but who were not ready for the dynamics of the situation, and their parents never listened to me when I tried to explain this to them. After you have a few of those, you start to just not want to have to deal with it too!

As for the original question, I have not ever lied about my kids' ages, but have gotten accused of it often. My DD has been off the charts for height since birth. At 8 and in 2nd grade she looks many of the 5th graders in the eye, and she's developing as well. She is smart and athletic, but she is very much an 8 year old emotionally. It's very painful when I see people looking down on her because they expect her to act like the 11 year old that she looks like, or with disdain because she wants to hang out with the "younger kids" (most of whom are older than she is).
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