A new study says parents are teaching kids to lie according to the NY Post. Many moms and dads say honesty is the best policy, but their actions tell a different story. They may actually prefer their kids to politely lie, according to new research. A series of experiments reveals that kids are being indirectly encouraged to fib by their parents. That rather than tell the cold, honest truth.
Researchers showed 142 parents a series of eight videos. The videos placed a child actor in different scenarios where kids were being asked questions by their caregivers. In one example, a kid was being asked to confess the location of their sister who was in trouble. The sister was apparently hiding under the house.
- The kid who offered the bluntly truthful version said, “She’s under the porch.” While the liar-liar-pants-on-fire kid said, “She went to the library.”
- But more subtle replies were also included. The dishonest version had the kid say, “I think she might have gone to bed or something.” The truthful one had the child respond, “I think she might be outside.” Another showed the child lying simply to be polite instead of ratting out their sibling.
Lying was seen negatively overall by all the adults in the study. Especially when it was to protect a sibling. They were more okay with “courteous dishonesty.” The kids who showed that were more likely to be rewarded than the kids who were polite but honest. Study authors conclude that while society dictates that lying is a negative behavior, “a much more nuanced message is likely communicated to children engaging in prosocial lie-telling.”