Telling little white lies to your kids might seem harmless, but new research indicates that this has negative implications over the long term. Simply put, honesty is the best policy.
When your toddler stubbornly refuses to leave the park, pretending to leave without them is the ultimate quick fix. As soon as you head for the car, she begins to cry and chase after you. Problem solved--but not really.
Assuming you care for your child's safety, you would not actually leave them alone at the park. Pretending to do so to keep them moving along may seem harmless, but a new study shows us that even minor dishonesty affects our kids for the worse. What works in the moment actually negatively affects the future.
According to a research study conducted in Singapore, adults who reported being lied to more as children were more likely to report lying to their parents in their adulthood.
Those adults whose parents were not always honest with them also faced greater difficulty in meeting psychological and social challenges. The adjustment difficulties they faced include disruptiveness, and conduct problems. They also experienced more guilt and shame, and developed a more selfish and manipulative character.
So why do parents lie to their kids in the first place? Usually, it is to save time and keep things simple. Most parents do not lie to their children in a directly intentional way. Usually we hear lies like, "If you don't behave, I'll call the police!" or "The ice cream shop is closed today."
A lot of the time, it is difficult to explain the complex reasons behind our decisions as parents. Our children will not always understand why we say no to something. That can motivate dishonesty. However, this really is not the best approach.
Instead of lying, try to explain your reasoning in a brief, simple statement. Your children do not have to fully understand it. Truth is more important.