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Are we teaching our children to lie?

 
If all parents want is for their kids to be honest, how come 96% of children lie?
By Michelle Ainslie

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
Parents consistently rate honesty as the trait they most want in their children (more than confidence and high self-esteem) and depending on their age, up to 98% of children share the same virtue – on paper. Yet, studies show that 96% of children lie, so what are we doing wrong?

The truth about lying:
  • Boys and girls both lie equally as much, but girls are often believed to be telling the truth more often.
  • Older kids are more prone to lying than younger ones.
  • Usually very intelligent children are the best liars. It requires advanced cognitive and social skills (which honesty does not). They need to recognise what the truth is, come up with a lie that actually makes sense and then sell that new reality (convincingly and with a straight face, or put-on tears) to somebody else. In other words, lying is a more advanced skill than telling the truth.
  • Introverts lie less often than extroverts because they tend to lack the social skills required to pull off a lie.
  • Almost all children will have experimented with lying by the time they are 4 years old.
  • Kids don’t grow out of lying, they grow into it. Parents believe that lies at a young age are innocent and should just be ignored. Nothing could be further from the truth – literally.
  • 4-year-olds lie approximately once every two hours and 6-year-olds about once an hour. By the age of 7, a third of children have developed the habit of lying and will continue.
  • As they grow older, children lie for different reasons such as sparing a friend’s feelings or covering up for them if they did something wrong.
  • 92% of 5-year-olds consider lying to be wrong, but when asked why, they say it’s because you get punished for it.
  • Parents believe they can tell when their children are lying, but most are fooled on a daily basis.
Not sure how to encourage honesty? Click here.

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Read more on: preschool  |  development  |  discipline
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