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Mommy's a Big Liar

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Liars are made not born, and parents might be to blame.


We cannot tell a lie. The New York Times Magazine  reports that by 4 years old, kids are already expert liars. And by the time they hit their teens, 98% admit telling lies to their parents. Whoppers like who they hang out with, how they spend their money, whether they drink, the list goes on and on. How do our kids learn to be such con artists? According to the article, kids learn how to lie from us, the parents.

Canceling plans by claiming a fictitious illness or telling a telemarketer you're eating dinner when you're really watching TV both count as lies. Yes, these lies are of the white variety, but that's where it all begins. Not exactly how we envisioned raising our kids, but honestly, we don't know what to do about it. Do you?

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Genevieve February 14, 2008, 4:35 PM

Yes, the white lies fly out of my mouth around my kids.

My oldest, with high-functioning autism, corrects me publicly if he catches me with it. A quirky, loveable (mostly) trait of his.

Ginny February 20, 2008, 8:03 PM

This is an important topic, and one that seems ready to step on quite a few toes. There is however a very simple solution: parents, don’t lie! White lies can be so very convenient sometimes but really, they’re still lies at the end of the day. Close to a year ago, a friend challenged me to drop my culturally-approved habit of using white lies and half-truths; it took me a while to break the habit and while I’m still not perfect, I was surprised by how much better I felt. It was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders, as if I had been carrying a burden of guilt I wasn’t aware of until I turned around my efforts to fight the deceit rather than promote it in my life. It is difficult at first, but fighting the urge to use white lies is a process and it takes a while to condition your mind to be better about it. You’ll never be perfect, but putting forth the effort will not only help you but also your children (think of the example you can be to them!) White lies are popular, but they’re still wrong and it’ll be nearly impossible to teach your kids that if you don’t put forth the effort yourself to cut out the white lies from your verbal diet.

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