I was chatting on LBC Radio today about a new study of families in the United States and China that shows that most parents tell lies to their children as a tactic to change their behaviour!
The most frequent example was parents threatening to leave children alone in public unless they behaved.
Persuasion ranged from invoking the support of the tooth fairy to telling children they would go blind unless they ate particular vegetables.
Another strategic example was: “That was beautiful piano playing.”
The study, published in the International Journal of Psychology, examined the use of “instrumental lying” – and found that such tactically-deployed falsehoods were used by an overwhelming majority of parents in both the United States and China – based on interviews with about 200 families.
‘I’ll buy it next time’
The most commonly used lie – popular with both US and Chinese families – was parents pretending to a child that they were going to walk away and leave the child to his or her tantrum.
“The pervasiveness of this lie may relate to the universality of the challenge parents face in trying to leave a place against their child’s wishes,” say the researchers.
Another lie that was common in both countries was the “false promise to buy a requested toy at some indefinite time in the future”.
Another “lie” was about pets who had died:
“Your pet went to live on your uncle’s farm where he will have more space to run around”
So are they well-intentioned or immoral?
Are these little white lies OK – or are they teaching your kids that it’s OK to lie?
What lies have you told – what happened – what funny stories have you got to share ?
Read more here on BBC News