Why Lying To Your Children Is A Very Bad Idea, And How It May Lead To Future Psychological Problems

December 4, 2019 17:08

If you're a big fan of positive parenting solutions, then you must be prepared for some of the things you just may be doing wrong.

Do you lie to your children? A 2009 study showed that quite a lot of parents are guilty of telling lies to their kids in some situations. For example, to get them to behave a certain way or make them feel better about things.

The study found that 78% of parents admitted to telling lies to their children, several of which involved saying such things as; "If you don't stop crying, the police will come and take you away," or "you only have a limited amount of air and if you talk too much, you'd use them all."

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The dangers of parenting by lying when raising children

Sure, you may be tempted to tell white lies here and there especially when you think that's what they want to hear or if you want to control their behavior. But beware, this can be very dangerous.

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As a parent, when you go on and on about why it's wrong to lie and then turn around to be dishonest too, it sends the wrong message to your kid.

For one thing, the study above discovered that people who remembered being lied to as a child by their parents were more likely to lie to their parents when they reach adolescence.

In addition, the consequences for lying to kids can cause them to have issues with social behavior as adults. /

A 2017 study also confirmed these claims in research which showed a direct link between parenting by lying and antisocial personality problems.

So what exactly could be the reason for this connection?

It turns out that if you rely on dishonesty, you may miss crucial opportunities to teach your children some important conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills. Without them, children struggle when they become adults.

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Also, there's the concern that when you lie to children, they sometimes see through those lies.

Let's say you threaten to call the police on them, for instance, and you don't end up doing so, your dishonesty becomes obvious. And when that happens, the kids get the wrong message and believe that lying is okay despite what their parents say.

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As a result, adopting the right parenting skills also means you should remember that honesty is always the best policy.

Other option besides dishonesty

Lying to children can sometimes be a go-to move for parents when the child asks uncomfortable or complicated questions. But rather than do this, according to CDL, you can still find your way around it.


Try to keep things as simple as possible, depending on their age. And if you're unsure how to respond or you don't know the answer, praise your child for asking such an interesting question and acknowledge that while you don't have a reply, you'll look it up and get back to them. Or you can suggest you both look it up together.

For instance, you might say, in response to their question:

I don’t know, but that’s a good question. Let’s look that up in the encyclopedia.

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In the end, good parenting is really all about practicing what you preach. Child discipline and development involve meaning what you say and saying what you mean, even when it's not so simple. Your kids will learn honesty from you and in the long run, it will be better for them.

The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.

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