Are we teaching our children to lie?
If all parents want is for their kids to be honest, how come 96% of children lie?
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.

Do you expect your children to always tell the truth? Share with us below.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Java Developer

Network IT Recruitment
R450 000.00 - R500 000.00 Per Month

Financial Manager

Communicate Recruitment: Finance 3
R750 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home