Do you ever lie about your childs age? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-15-2010, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:39 AM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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No, I don't lie about my children's ages.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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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.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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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.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:58 AM
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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.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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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!
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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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!
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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I did, so I could get her into disneyland for free. She had JUST turned three, so I didn't feel too bad.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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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.

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Old 03-15-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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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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Old 03-15-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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I can't remember specifically, but I'm sure I lied at the movies (or no one asked, but I would have lied) when my kids were 2 or 3 and qualified to go in for free if they were a year younger. I'd do it again . . . and I wouldn't feel bad about it, either (nor would I feel like I was setting a bad example for my kids . . . I'd just explain why we were doing it).

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Old 03-15-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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I remember waiting in line with 4 yo dd for a puppet show, for kids ages 3-5. There were at least 3 people ahead of us whose children I knew were 6. There was a space limitation and we didn't get in. I felt that was really unfair.

Otherwise, we tend to go places where I WANT the organizers/establishment to do well financially; we want to support them. For example, public transit. We've been told many times by the drivers that they "dont enforce" fares for 5-6 year olds (under 5s are free). I know this, because for a couple of months after dd turned 5, I sometimes forgot she needed to pay now and didn't have the fare. In those situations, the bus driver really did just wave us on. Of course, it occurred to me that I could just not pay for a while, but why would I do that? It was good to be able to give dd her ticket and let her pay. She felt like a big girl.

It's harder to see the harm when it's a place like Disneyland, making a gazillion dollars' profit. I don't know. I would NEVER ask/let dd lie about her age or tell someone she was an age she wasn't. She'd call me on it, anyway. It's easy to say that as a middle-class family, though. What if your child just couldn't experience something fun because you couldn't pay?I wouldn't judge someone who made that call.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ameliabedelia View Post
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.
This and This. I wouldn't lie to get a cheaper price, and usually if I just ASK, nobody has an issue. I've taken DS to things he wasn't "old enough" for, but as long as he's not disruptive, nobody ever seems to mind.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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As others have noted lying about my son's age to get in somehwere free is stealing. That is not a value I want to encourage in him.

And as always I find Tigerchild to be the voice of reason. Wonderful post and while I have not yet been in a position to lie about my son's age for a particluar activity I will remember this post and not do it.

There are so many activities that ARE geared towards his age I would hate to deny another child a spot because I was not truthful.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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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.
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
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.
I think these are good points as well. If you lie about your child's age to get them in for lower admission or a spot in an activity they wouldn't be allowed to take otherwise, it won't be surprising if that child lies as a teenager to get into adult movies, bars, buy alcohol, drive without a license.....

If the parents don't think the rules apply, why would the kids?
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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As others have said, I wouldn't lie to save money or if there was a safety concern.

I do occasionally take my 18 month old to the 2-6 year old storytime that is at the library closest to our house. The librarians know how old he is and have specifically invited him and said the ages are only guidelines and it is okay. That is nice because it is at a time that works well for us and is 7 minutes from our house as opposed to the other libraries that have younger storytimes but are further away and earlier in the morning.

What I mean to say here is that usually if the age "limits" are just guidelines, you don't need to lie to attend things. Otherwise, there is likely a reason.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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There are so many activities that ARE geared towards his age I would hate to deny another child a spot because I was not truthful.
This is a good point. We have story times at the library for 0-18mo, 18mo-3, and 3-5, but everyone wants to come to the baby one and they frequently run out of tickets. Mini vent here: I'm starting to think the parents are just coming to chat, and since the toddler time requires them to actually help the child with a craft or activity, they come to the baby one and let their (bored) kid run loose during the singing. Yes, I know the ages of the particular ones I'm thinking about are 2ish. I'm extra annoyed today because my new walker got bowled over by a big kid who was running around during the bubbles at the end.

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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I remember waiting in line with 4 yo dd for a puppet show, for kids ages 3-5. There were at least 3 people ahead of us whose children I knew were 6. There was a space limitation and we didn't get in. I felt that was really unfair.
That would tick me off big time.

The closest I come to lying is letting dd1 order from the kids menu, when she is over the age listed on it. Hasn't been an issue in years, but when it was, we let her.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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I haven't lied about my kids ages to save money on admission.

We have "lied" about ages before. DS has an 8/31 birthday. During the summer the library activities are divided by age (rather than birthday) so we have "lied" to get him into the group with his class mates (so, the summer before he went to kindergarten he was still 4, but they had stuff that was clearly for kinders. we asked the librarian and they said to lie about his age because they weren't set up to take him as a 4 but he was totally ready to do the kinder things).

We haven't directly lied (verbally) in a food situation, but I have asked for a kids meal menu for DD when I know she is over the age limit. BUT, at Red Robin she likes the mac & cheese on the kids meal and doesn't eat meat, so there is no option on the adults meal that she will eat. When she was 8 (so under the age) we often ended up buying her 2 kids meals anyway. I think we'll be doing that until she is like 12 (kids meals for under 10s) and then she's going to have to come up with something else she will eat! Most places, though, we've asked and they have said that was fine (Outback, Claim Jumper, Disneyland...).

 

 

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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The closest I come to lying is letting dd1 order from the kids menu, when she is over the age listed on it. Hasn't been an issue in years, but when it was, we let her.
cross post

Oh, I also remembered--- sometimes during the fall I will say DD is "almost" her next age. She did early entrance/grade skip so, like on her soccer team she is was a year ahead in school from the other kids but I was just like, "Oh theres a wierd cut-off and her birthday's just over the line" or something like that--- yeah, "just" 5 months over the line. Sometimes it's just not worth the investment in why she's in the "wrong" grade (and now that we've held DS back a grade, I assume I will do the same point at sometime---"oh, he just turned ____")

 

 

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