[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
When I was pregnant, a friend gave me a book called Great Lies to Tell Small Kids. In it are gems like “wine makes mommy charming” and “men don’t go bald naturally, they like getting their hair cut that way.” Now, if you’re filled with horror at the notion of pulling a toddler’s leg like that, a new study in the Journal of Moral Education shows that parents regularly use deception to influence their kids.
We can all recall lies our parents told us to get us to do something, or to stop doing something. “If you cross your eyes they could stay that way” comes to mind. But in the current study, researchers found that these parental fibs are hardly few and far between. And that even parents who preach to their kids about the importance of being honest admit to lying to them as well.
The researchers plan to extend their studies to see whether all this lying undermines children’s trust. Until then, well, keep telling junior that if he spins around really fast, then stops, his face will skid around to the back of his head. It could keep him busy while mommy becomes even more charming.