Telling lies is a sign of your child’s healthy mental development, research suggests
According to Kang Lee, psychology professor at the University of Toronto, precocious children begin lying at an early age. As per Lee, 30 per cent children start lying at the age of two; 50 per cent lie at the age of three while 80 per cent of them lie confidently as they grow up.
Are you worried that your child is constantly lying to you? Research suggests it is not as bad as you think.
Turns out, lying is a sign of your child’s healthy mental development. According to Kang Lee, psychology professor at the University of Toronto, precocious children begin lying at an early age. As per Lee, 30 per cent children start lying at the age of two; 50 per cent lie by the age of three while 80 per cent of them lie confidently as they grow up.
Children who lie have been found to have better executive functioning skills that enables us to control our impulses. “Lying requires two ingredients. Children need to understand what’s in someone else’s mind-to know what they know and what they don’t know. We call this ability theory of mind. The children who are better at theory of mind are also better at lying,” Lee says.
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In yet another experiment conducted by developmental psychologist Michael Lewis in the mid 1980s, children were asked not to peek at a toy hidden behind them while the researchers went out of the room. While most children took a peek, many of them also lied about it, regardless of their gender, race of religion.
Young children develop the ability to deceive others quickly, and in the case of a study by Dr Gail Heyman, only 10 days. While playing a game as part of the study, although “children initially showed little or no ability to deceive, most spontaneously discovered deception and systematically used it to win the game by the tenth day”.
But what about the moral implications of lying? And what about the times when lying can compromise your child’s safety? To encourage your child to be honest, harsh punishment is not the option. Parents can have an open dialogue with their child about it. Parents can follow these tips to get their child to speak the truth.
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