I'm sure I'm far from the first or last to call attention to this particular dumb thing that people say to kids; but I can't think of much else to write right now. Besides, I'm in one of those moods when I just feel like doing some verbal punching back at a whole lot of people in this world for being a) stupid/ignorant, but also b) aggressive.

Anyway, here's the dumb thing people say to kids (or anyone, for that matter; but when they say it to kids it's generally when it can be most inaccurate, even stupid:
"The lie is worse than the thing itself."

Well, think about it! Sometimes the "thing itself" is a whole lot worse than the lie (for one reason or another). There is, after all, some reason your kid feels the need to lie about it.

If you are fortunate enough to have a child who respects you enough not to be able to "just say anything to you, no matter what", who has some healthy boundaries, who worries about disappointing you or making you worry more than s/he knows you really have to; or even - yes - just doesn't feel like hearing you go on and on about something way out of proportion to "The Thing, Itself".... you're either lucky or else have done something right (or both).

The truth is (and don't lie to your child/ren if you want to be a good role model for someone who a) tells the truth, and b) knows how to think for himself and sort out subtle differences in "truths") sometimes, particularly with a lot of the things that kids do, The Thing Itself is way worse than the lie. Sometimes, of course, it isn't. I just think people ought to use their own heads to sort out the difference before making this particular statement. Because, while parents are sometimes so blinded by fear of what will happen to their child, what kind of "criminal" they may or may not raise, losing control over their child's behavior, being embarrassed by a child who makes a mistake, etc. etc. etc.........

Children are most often perfectly capable of seeing past all that stuff that makes parent pass off their own version of lies; and realizing that they can't always count on the information/wisdom their parents believe they're sharing.

An ages-old admonition adults have so often used toward children: "THINK before you speak!" Now that one's not a dumb thing to say at all -- and it applies to parents most of all.