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Whether it’s the Christmas Nativity Scene or an amateur production of Cats, most parents have had to endure their fair share of school plays.
If your child participated, chances are they told you it was amazing, regardless of your performance.
But a new study suggests this could actually be harmful.
Researchers at Nanyang Technological University say lying to your children can turn them into liars later in life.
“The bad news for parents is that sometimes honesty can be the best policy,” said Peipei Setoh, lead author of the study.
Whether it’s the Christmas Nativity or an amateur production of Cats, most parents have had to endure their fair share of school plays (file image)
Most parents are guilty of telling their children a lie or two.
However, until now, the impacts of these lies have been largely unexplored.
In their study, the team enlisted the help of 564 children aged 11 to 12, as well as their parents.
Participants were surveyed about their use of two different types of lies: instrumental lies and white lies.
Instrumental lies are lies told to get the child to comply, such as: “Finish all your food or you’ll be sick!”
White lies, meanwhile, are those told to instill positive emotions, such as “You were great in that school play!”
Surveys revealed that parents used instrumental lies more frequently than white lies, and children reported greater belief in instrumental lies than white lies.
“Instrumental lies are used to get a child to comply when they misbehave, for example a parent threatens to call the police if the child misbehaves,” Ms Setoh said.
Surveys revealed that parents used instrumental lies more often than white lies, and children reported believing instrumental lies more than white lies (file image)
However, children exposed to these types of lies were significantly more likely to lie to their parents.
Meanwhile, white lies usually come from a good place, but they can also turn your child into a liar.
However, this only happens if they realize that what you have told them is not true.
“White lies can be motivated by good intentions, but if children realize they have been lied to, this can also lead to the child lying,” Ms Setoh added.
Researchers hope the findings will encourage parents to think twice before lying to their children.
“Our findings underscore the value of differentiating parental lying by type when investigating its role in children’s lying socialization, as well as the importance of considering children’s perceptions and interpretation of parental lying. of children,” the team wrote in their study, published in the journal Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.