So you have just caught your kid lying to you again and you are getting worried about it. Images of your little one growing into a criminal or worse than that, a politician, flash immediately before your eyes. After all honesty is one of those essential qualities that we want our young ones to imbibe and grow up to be virtuous and morally upright individuals. All these years we have been told that we must not lie. The fear of getting a long nose to the terror of being gobbled by a wolf were just few of the consequences of telling lies. But guess what? “Don’t fret parents”, is what researchers say. Lying apparently implies a higher IQ! WHaattt?? Yes! Studies have pointed out that lying activates that part of the brain that deals with high level thinking and reasoning which forms the biggest component of high level intelligence. Seriously? I just wasted all those years trying to be a good human being and now they say that it actually implies I may be dumb!
Little kids apparently try their hand at lying, from an age as young as 2 years. According to the developmental psychologist Michael Lewis, who conducted a study to find out that kids actually discover the art of lying at an age as young as 2. In one experiment, children were asked not to peek at a toy hidden behind them while the researcher moved out of the room on the basis of some fake excuse. Minutes later when the researcher returned and asked the child whether he or she peeked, it was found that majority of the children had a quick glance at the toy within seconds of being left alone. And a significant number of these kids actually denied doing any such thing. Nearly 20% of the 2 year olds lied, nearly 50 % of the three year olds, and a whopping 90% lied by the time they reach the age of 4. 12 years was also observed to be the most deceitful age.
Lying can be compared to an art that needs to be mastered. Apparently children don’t take much time to master this art and are pretty good at lying. According to another study, when a group of people which involved, teachers, police officers and judges , were shown the footage of children who were either lying or telling the truth about some mischief committed by them, with the aim of spotting the liars. Surprisingly not one of them which included even the children’s parents could spot the lies consistently.
And there is more to it. The greater the ability of the child to be able to cover up his lie, the more intelligent he is. One would wonder, why is it that some kids start lying at an earlier age than their peers. A simple answer to that would be that, they are smarter. These young liars not only boast of a higher IQ but are also more socially adept and well-adjusted, indicating greater social skills as well.
So what do you do when your child lies? Clap your hands in delight and congratulate them! Well please don’t do that. While you can secretly take delight in the quick wittedness of your little one, he must be taught the importance of telling the truth and the repercussions of telling lies. Instead of getting annoyed you can actually transform it into a teachable moment.