My parents were liars.

They lied to me about how those Christmas presents got under the tree and where those Easter eggs came from. They lied about the health benefits of eating liver once a week and drinking a quart of whole milk every day.

But their biggest lie was about the bunnies.

When I was 7 years old, my grandmother gave me a pair of baby bunnies for Easter, because in an America before PETA it was OK to do things like that.

My mother put a spot of ink on one of their tails so we could tell them apart, and I named them Inky and Pinky. I promised I would feed them and clean their cages every day. Which I’m pretty sure I did for at least a week.

After a month or so, I came home from school to find their cage empty.

“Someone must have left their cage door open,” my mother declared, her inflection leaving no question about who the “someone” must have been.

I was consumed with guilt. I pictured them homeless, hungry and frightened. Or, worse, being eaten by mountain lions. We probably didn’t have a lot of mountain lions in our area of Cleveland, although we did have some pretty aggressive squirrels.

It wasn’t until several years later that I learned the truth. My parents had sent them to live with some relatives who lived on a farm. I’m not sure why they lied to me. Maybe they got tired of cleaning the cage. Or maybe our country cousins had a great recipe for hassenpfeffer.

Fortunately, I have recovered from that trauma. I’m pretty sure my rabbits would have passed away from natural causes by now. Or, at the very least, be gumming mashed carrots in a nursing home.

And I’m consoled by new evidence indicating that I was not the only child ever lied to by his parents. According to a recent study, parents lie to their children all the time.

The research was conducted by university professors in San Diego and Toronto and has been published in The Journal of Moral Education.

“We are surprised by how often parenting-by-lying takes place,” one of the researchers said.

“Moreover, our findings showed that even the parents who most strongly promoted the importance of honesty with their children engaged in parenting-by-lying.”

Among the examples they cited:

• A mother who told her child that if he didn’t eat all his food, he would get pimples all over his face.

• Parents who told their daughter that if she wrapped up all her pacifiers like gifts, the “paci-fairy” would take them to children who needed them.

I have no way of knowing how many times my parents lied to me, because they both have passed away. Or maybe they went to live on a farm with our cousins.

But here’s one thing of which I’m certain:

No matter how many lies they told me, it wasn’t half as many as I told them.

Source: Middletown Journal –