The Boy Who Cried Wolf and Pinocchio are not what we think of as kids’ role models. But if your child is lying to you, research suggests that it’s not only normal, but a probable sign of intelligence. (http://nyti.ms/2mdN4bJ).
Children discover lying at about age two, and they often become quite adept at the skill. When adults were shown footage of kids who were either lying or being truthful about committing a transgression, none of the adults (not even the kids’ parents) could consistently detect the lies.
Some children start lying earlier than others and, according to developmental psychologist Michael Lewis, the precocious liars are smarter—by as much as 10 IQ points. Lewis suggests that the children who lie may have better “executive functioning skills” (faculties that enable us to control impulses and remain focused) as well as a heightened ability to see the world through other people’s eyes.
The psychologist Kang Lee, who has researched deception in children for over two decades, tells parents that if they discover their child lying at age 2 or 3, they can cheer. Of course, parents ideally want their kids to be clever enough to lie but morally disinclined to do it. Good news: Simply getting children to pledge to tell the truth can increase their honesty (Tweet it!)
Have you noticed your child fibbing to you? What has been your reaction, and do you think it might change when you consider that it could be a sign of intelligence? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion
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