Posts Tagged ‘lying’

Trickster Chronicles—Why Teens Lie

September 25, 2009

cosmetic toe shortenting

From their nose to their toes, research suggests that our teen Pinocchios are pretty much bold-faced, inveterate and chronic prevaricators.  

Last week I wrote about why younger kids lie, but this week I wanted to focus on the adolescent aspects and implications of lying as explored in a New York Magazine article, “Learning to Lie” by Po Bronson (

Teens in a study by a researcher named Darling, at first said that they didn’t lie to parents but, when cleverly coaxed into trust and openness, 98 percent revealed that they did, in fact, lie to their parents.  Now when 98 percent admit to lying, it makes me wonder if the last two percent just might be lying about not lying. 

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Trickster Chronicles—Why Kids Lie

September 16, 2009

DogThe vast majority of kids lie.  They lie for a lot of different reasons, but the main reason that we want to take a look at in terms of parenting is the fact that the vast majority of parents lie—and that’s where the kids learn not just to do it, but also to use it as an approach to life.  We parents generally lie as a way to avoid appearing rude (“this cake is delicious” we say, when we’re actually looking for an opportunity to spit it in our napkin, not to mention where we might hide the napkin), and some of us lie about more serious things (consider the typical high-profile corporate “leader” or “investment genius” who later turns out to be little more than a con-artist,  yet who still seems to find time to spawn while bilking the masses; is it really convincing to imagine that their kids don’t know when their parents are criminals?).  However, it is worth asking whether the “biggest liars” are the reason our society may be in trouble, or if they could actually be the inevitable by-product of a pervasively lying culture?

Thus whether we tell little fibs or lies with global implications (“What global warming?”) we rarely really think through the implications of our lying in terms of our own well-being and that of our children.  Now I want to be clear at the outset, I’m not making the case for total honesty as any sort of moral prerogative—I’d rather leave that to those who are all too ready to tell us how to live and what to do (my “advice” is to run from anyone who purports to tell you how to live and what to do).  I’m mostly suggesting that whatever we do, it will be better if we are more conscious about it, and this is where child development and lying intersect in an interesting way.  An article in New York Magazine ( outlines some findings of Dr. Victoria Talwar of McGill Univeristy who is a leading expert and researcher on lying.  

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