Lying as Parenting Technique

What do you get when you combine "honesty is the best policy" with "Do as I say, not as I do"? Here's an interesting study showing that parents lie to children surprisingly often:

"We are surprised by how often parenting by lying takes place," said study researcher Kang Lee of the University of Toronto, Canada. "Our findings showed that even the parents who most strongly promoted the importance of honesty with their children engaged in parenting by lying."

Lee and colleagues acknowledge that their work is preliminary, bringing to the forefront an issue that is rarely studied. They are not sure the implications of parental lying, but suggest such tall tales could give kids mixed messages at a time when they are trying to figure out how to navigate the social world.

Lies could also harm parent-child bonds, said study researcher Gail Heyman of the University of California, San Diego.

It could even keep children from learning certain rules. "If I am always lying to the child in order to get the child to do X, Y, or Z, then they have never learned why they should do X, Y, or Z," said Victoria Talwar of McGill University in Montreal, who was not involved in the current study. "If it's constantly being used, [lying] may be preventing learning opportunities for the child."


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Oh, we're quite happy saying no to ours - they don't always like it, but they're used to it by now. Both ours are used to answers that begin with "Well, the simple version is..."
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I don't lie to my daughter. Sure, we do the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, but if she asks me a question, I always try to answer it honestly in a fashion that she will comprehend. (She's 5) I don't understand why people feel the need to lie to their children. Why tell your kids that the chimes on the ice cream truck meant they were out of ice cream? Why not just say, "No, you may not have anything from the ice cream truck."? Of course, I'm also an advocate of unconventional parenting. When my daughter cut the neighbor kids hair, and then lied to me about it, I cut off HER hair. We donated it to Locks of Love. At least someone got some good out of the lie.
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Many problems start when the parents feel they need to mislead their children in order to "protect" them from the truth. The problem with that is, they will resent their parent later in life when they find out it isn't true, or they will come up with their own answer (almost always an exaggerated fantasy) if they are not given one. But then again, I don't plan on being involved with raising a kid, so that opinion in moot.
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