KIDS' ABILITY TO LIE MEANS LATER SUCCESS?
Forget the crossed fingers, lying's okay because it means you'll grow up to be a success. In fact, the earlier you start to tell convincing lies, the more successful you'll be. Sad, but that's what the research tells us.
Before I explain the research, keep in mind that just because your kid's smart enough to tell a convincing lie that doesn't mean she has to do it in order to succeed. That's where Mom and Pop come in to teach values.
EARLY EXECUTIVE FUNCTION
Researchers at the Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto found that the skills you need to tell a believable lie -- quick thinking and knowing how to use info to your own advantage -- show a highly functioning brain. It also means that they have developed "executive function." The younger a kid demonstrates these skills, the better developed her brain -- that's really the key.
What is it about pint-sized Pinocchios? The study found that most children fib. "As many as 90% of four-year-olds bend the truth from time to time," says Time. "But the real success-indicator is how well a child fibs -- and how early the fibbing starts."
Director of the Institute of Child Study, Dr. Kang Lee and his team tested 1,200 children aged two to 16 years old. The majority of the children told lies but it is the children with better cognitive abilities who can tell the best lies, reports the Telegraph (UK):
"At the age of two, 20 per cent of children will lie. This rises to 50 per cent by three and almost 90 per cent at four. The most deceitful age, they discovered, was 12, when almost every child tells lies."
Fortunately as adulthood nears, adolescents learn instead to use the less harmful "white lies" that everyone tells to avoid hurting people's feelings.
Researchers say that there is no link between telling lies in childhood and any tendency to cheat in exams. However, an Ethic Soup post,
"Everyone is Cheating: College Students and Their Professors" argues this point.
STRICT OR RELIGIOUS PARENTING MAKE NO DIFFERENCE
Everyone wants their kid to be quick-witted, able to think on their feet, with a well-developed brain. I imagine the difference between lying kids and moral adults are the parents who use childhood lying as "teachable moments."
Parents who gloat with pride and reward kids when they lie, "tell another lie son!", are missing those teachable moments. Don't do it.
Research also tells us not to spank children who lie, that the effects of spanking -- lowered IQs and more aggression -- are much worse than the original lie.
"Parents should not be alarmed if their child tells a fib," says Dr. Kang Lee. "They may make bankers in later life."
As Megan Gibson of Time magazine asserted: "Right, because skilled liars is exactly what Wall Street needs."
CLICK AND READ "SPANKING KIDS ARE STRUCK DUMB, LOWER IQS"
by Sharon McEachern