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Little white lies never hurt anyone… and it’s a good job, with the average mum telling a whopping 255 each year!

The most common little white lies emerged as:

  1. Carrots make you see in the dark (59%)
  2. We’re almost there (55%)
  3. If you don’t come now, I’ll leave you here (52%)
  4. If you sit too close to the TV your eyes will go square (49%)
  5. The chocolate has all gone (49%)
  6. It’s bedtime - 30 minutes earlier than usual (48.5%)
  7. It won’t hurt, I promise (46%)
  8. If you keep pulling that face when the wind blows it will stay that way (44%)
  9. Eating crusts will make your hair curly (35%)
  10. There are no replacement batteries for that toy (32%)

In addition, some of the more bizarre little white lies included: “eating apple pips make an apple tree grow in your tummy’, ‘eating broccoli will turn you into the incredible hulk’ and ‘if you don’t get out of the bath, a snake will come out of the plughole’.

Smarter than we think?

However, a word of warning, the study shows that children might not be as naïve as we think: 62% of mums admitted to being outsmarted by their children when it comes to their fibs. Not only that, but Interflora’s report reveals six years and nine months as the average age that children start to doubt the lines being fed to them by their parents! Mums on the other hand consider themselves much more on the ball, with 93% of those questioned believing they can always tell when their children are lying.

With the average UK mum telling up to five white lies every week, it appears meal times and bedtime are the ‘flash points’ where this is most likely to happen, both topping the poll of when mums are most likely to resort to telling the odd tale or two.

What’s more, the UK’s most popular white lies certainly appear to be passed down the generations with almost all mums (93%) admitting that they have used the same lines on their children as their parents used on them when they were younger.

Who lies the most?

The research also reveals ‘white lie hot spots’ across the UK, with Mum’s based in Bristol (94%), Belfast (92%) and Norwich (91%) revealed as being more inclined to tell porky pies to their children, closely followed by 88% of mums in both Glasgow and Edinburgh admitting they frequently tell fibs to their kids.

But, whilst Norwich mums rank as some of those most likely to tell a white lie, it seems they’re easily out-smarted by their little ones, with 68% of youngsters based in Norwich clocking onto their mum’s tales. Other areas where children are wising up to the white lies include Cardiff at 69% and Liverpool at 67%.


Kate Mollart, Brand Manager for Interflora, adds: “Mother’s Day is the biggest flower giving occasion of the year, and we commissioned the research to help us better understand some of the challenges facing mums up and down the country.

“As a mother myself, I appreciate how often little white lies can creep into everyday conversion and offer a mini lifeline for parents – especially when it comes to explaining how the world works or helping to combat toddler tantrums. These type of parental fibs have real heritage too, and our research has shown that many of them are actually passed down the generations, used by parents to help their little ones eat healthily or get to sleep. So whether they’re inventive and specific to a particular relationship, or a well-worn classic, one thing’s clear: white lies are here to stay!”


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