Why white lies are harmful
White lies seem harmless and it might feel that there is nothing wrong in using them at times when you are stuck in a difficult situation. Nevertheless, a new study carried by the researchers in Singapore revealed that being even a little bit dishonest with kids can affect our kids adversely. Your explanation might convince them for a while, but it may have a long term negative impact on your little one. They are more likely to lie when they grow up and may even have difficulty dealing with psychological and social challenges.
What the study suggests
In the study carried out on 379 Singaporean young adults, it was revealed that participants who were lied to as children were more likely to hide things from their parents as adults. Besides, they even grew up to be more selfish and experience more guilt and shame. They even had difficulty meeting psychological and social challenges.
The researchers drew these conclusions after conducting a detailed study where the participants were asked to complete four questionnaires online. In the first one, they were asked to recall if their parents told them lies related to eating, leaving or staying, children’s misbehaviour and spending money when they were kids.
The second questionnaire asked participants to recall how frequently they lied to their parents as adults related to issues like their activities and actions or exaggerations about events.
In the last two questionnaires, the participants had to fill two questionnaires that measured their self-reported psychosocial difficulty and tendency to behave selfishly and impulsively.
At the end of the study, it was concluded that parents who lie to kids put their little ones at greater risk of developing some behavioural issues like aggression, rule-breaking and intrusive conduct. However, there are some limitations to the study, like relying only on the version of young adults about their personal experience of parents’ lying. More research is needed where inputs from parents can also be taken into consideration.
Alternatives to lying to your kids
Instead of lying to your kids, when stuck in a difficult situation try to explain the situation by giving them valid reasons. When you will try to pacify them by giving valid reasons instead of lying, it will make them more receptive. Kids might not always be happy with your replies and may protest a little, but this will teach them honesty and they will practise it even when they will grow up.