No parent wants to raise their children telling lies, but if you’re the kind of parent who is severely strict and by the book, then you may unconsciously be turning them into liars.
And not just any liar, but a darn good liar.
At least that’s what a study suggests.
Conducted by a McGill University expert on children’s social-cognitive development, the study by Victoria Talwar said that by producing an atmosphere of strict and oppressive parenting, children learn how to lie in order to escape punishment.
Using the “Peeping Game” to reinforce the claims, the study examined two schools in West Africa.
One school had stricter rules, while the other had a more laid-back approach to education. The researchers then asked children to guess what object was making a noise in the game.
“The test asks children to identify the objects by sound only, with the last one bearing no correlation to what it looks like,” said an Independent report.
The researcher then left the room, and when they returned asked the child what the object is, and whether or not they peeked.
“Dr Talwar found that the number of students from the relaxed school who lied and told the truth was roughly on par with studies from other schools,” the report said. “But those from the strict school were quick to lie, and did it “very effectively.”
Did you know that lying isn’t necessarily bad? Find out why on the next page
But here’s the thing: lying isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whether or not it was a result of strict parenting, lying does have a sound physiological effect.
“When kids lie, it’s not a sign that they’re on the road to delinquency—it’s a sign that they are developing important psychological skills,” said a Slate article.
Lying demonstrates a child’s ability to think outside the box and in a non-linear fashion. Furthermore, if they are able to keep all their lies and facts straight, it means they have a good working memory.
Of course lying should never be considered a virtue, especially on children, but the research does highlight the significance of parent’s influence on their children.
Whether or not strict parenting benefit children in the long run is something only time will be able to tell.
READ: How to stop your child from telling little white lies!
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