If you are one of those strict parents, you are not doing your children a favor. In fact, you’re undermining their efforts to do the right thing, eventually turning them into very skilled and effective liars. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Psychotherapist Philippa Perry said that by being too strict to your children, you’re creating an atmosphere ‘whereby the child does not feel safe telling the truth’. Controversially, Perry claimed that all lies are co-created and this happens by not allowing a situation where your children can tell the truth, and added that you can only blame yourself if you find out you have been deceived by your children.
For the study, Victoria Talwar, a Canadian psychologist, developed an experiment so-called ‘Peeping Game’ to measure children’s lies. To take part in her experiment, students from two schools in West Africa were chosen. One school has relaxed rules and the other one has punitive discipline policies.
Children were asked to guess what object is making a certain noise without looking. The object, which in fact is a toy football, makes a sound that bears no resemblance to it. The researchers then left the room. And when they came back they asked the child what the object was and if they peeked. They found that some of the children from the more relaxed school lied and while others told the truth. And, the children from the very punitive school were extremely quick to lie and they did it very effectively.
“I found it interesting that there was all this research saying that if you take a draconian attitude towards lying you just makes people better at it,” said Perry in a statement at the Daily Mail. “If a child lies to get out of trouble then that lie is not all down to the child it’s a co-created situation. The atmosphere has been produced whereby the child does not feel safe telling the truth. So you can’t condemn the child for lying.”
“We do our kids no favors at all when we persecute them for lying. We can be curious about the lie we can be interested in it and look at our part in it. But being draconian and rigid about it is not going to make a situation better,” she added.
[Image: Yuganov Konstantin via Shutterstock]