Nobody wants to raise up a child that lies. It is not socially acceptable and it makes for an incredibly difficult time for relationships building. You simply cannot have a strong relationship with someone who lies to you. I know, on a personal level, that is one of the things that I struggle with the most. I cannot stand when someone lies to me. It gets under my skin deeper than anything else. Many people are that way. We also notice when our kids start lying as well. We start asking the question, “Where did they learn that behavior?” And, honestly, much of it is simply human nature. There is someone about lying that is caught up in the process of self-preservation.
People will protect themselves when they feel that they are in danger. Many adults will continue in patterns of lies because of that very reason. However, with children, their concept of what is dangerous is often very skewed. A child will lie to prevent discipline even if there is no real physical or emotional threat involved. Actually, now that I think about it, so do adults. This is a pretty big problem, isn’t it? Children will lie naturally if taught not to. However, children will also learn from what they see their parents doing and what they hear their parents saying.
Chelsea Hays reminds us that “Recent research shows that most adults admit they lie to children. We also know that children learn through modeling and imitation.” Here is the truth right in front of us. Whatever we say and do, our children will most likely model and imitate. If we are honest people and make a point to be honest with our children, they are more likely to model that behavior and carry it over into adulthood.
If you make a habit of lying to your child, since they are already bent towards that behavior, it is highly likely that they will model that behavior instead. To enforce this thought, Hays states that “A child is more likely to adopt, or imitate, a modeled behavior if the model is similar to the observer with an admired status, and also if the modeled behavior results in a valued outcome suggesting that a parent’s dishonest actions may be highly susceptible to imitation”
This is a tricky subject though because many people will tell their children lies to protect them from information that they do not want them to have. This ranges from the true identity of Santa Claus to the reality, in the case of adoption, that their parents are not their real parents. See, often times we conceal the truth from our children for their own good. I do that myself with my own children. What is important is that we distinguish what is proper from what stunts their development. I don’t exactly know where the answer is. However, I do understand that deceiving children can be a dangerous road to go down. Even in times when we feel that we are protecting them, we can still do damage.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.