Effects on Lying to Children

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As children, we were always told the washed down version of the so called, “Truth,” of what was going on in life or were told lies to get us to cooperate and do things that we didn’t want to. We eventually learned that these things our parents would tell us were actually lies but we were too naïve to know any better at the time and little did we know this could possibly affect us in the future. Lying to children can cause many issues for them in the future that could make them not trust you or possibly become liars. Although you may think that lying to them is a good way to protect them from life’s hard situations, it actually affects them in the long run.

Children tend to pick up good and bad habits from their parents at a young age by watching and listening. Children tend to do the monkey see monkey do thing when they are younger because that’s how they learn. Parents may not think this is true but listening and watching is the way that children learn which is why adults should be more cautious of what they say and do around little ones. Kylie Rymanowicz states that, “Children learn and imitate behaviors by watching and listening to others.”

Unfortunately lying can be one of those habits that they pick up from a parent or guardian. Lying is a bad habit to have and can cause many problems as an adult. According to Bonnie Azoulay, “Adults that reported being lied to as children said that they lie to their parents now that they are adults.” When parents lie it teaches children that it is okay for them to lie as well and it’s not. It could cause many issues for them in the future as adults.

Telling lies to children can cause trust issues between you and your child. As children get older, they become curious about certain things and ask questions and parents usually just brush it off with little lies thinking it solves the problem because they don’t think they should know about what is going on. Little did they know, children actually catch on to things, such as lying, a lot quicker than they probably thought and that could cause issues when it comes to the child trusting their parents.

In the book, “Bird by Bird,” according to Anne Lamott, “When we listen to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we believed to be true we were often corrected, ridiculed, or punished.” It is important to be open minded about situations that involve a child’s curiosity. Lying will just make the situation harder because it breaks trust between child and parent. It is best to just tell them the truth and upfront in a way that children would understand.

Lying to children can have long term affects when they become adults. It can effect relationships with friends and family and become a burden trying to keep up with lies. According to Elisa Cinelli ,”Researchers in Singapore found that participants who were lied to as children had more difficulty meeting psychological and social challenges and grew up to be more selfish and experience more guilt and shame.” Telling children the truth can prevent these things from happening. This can be prevented by being open, trusting, and supportive of your child through their life.

Telling children the truth can help them realize what the world is really like as they get older and will be very important for when they become adults. Meg Rosoff states, “Like all students they are studying the world studying to learn the rules of engagement. Except that for them, life doesn’t make sense because their instincts are negated. So they begin to twist in an attempt to accommodate a world full of half-truths.” Letting children know the truth helps them understand what truly goes on in life. It helps them understand that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and that there will be ups and downs.

Work Cited

  1. Rymanowicz, Kylie. “Monkey See, Monkey Do: Model Behavior in Early Childhood.” MSU Extension, 3 Oct. 2018, www.canr.msu.edu/news/monkey_see_monkey_do_model_behavior_in_early_childhood
  2. Azoulay, Bonnie. “Sorry, Parents: There Are Harmful Long-Term Effects When You Lie to Your Kids.” SheKnows, 4 Oct. 2019, www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/2110730/lying-to-children/.
  3. Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird. Anchor Books, 1997.
  4. Cinelli, Elisa, et al. “If You Lie To Your Kids, They May Be More Likely to Lie as Adults.” FamilyEducation, 25 Oct. 2019, www.familyeducation.com/kids/how-lying-to-your-kids-can-impact-them-as-adults.
  5. Rosoff, Meg. “You Can’t Protect Children by Lying to Them – the Truth Will Hurt Less.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 Sept. 2013, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/21/cant-protect-children-by-lying.

Cite this paper

Effects on Lying to Children. (2021, Jun 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/effects-on-lying-to-children/



How does lying to your kids affect them?
Lying to your kids can affect them in many ways. It can damage their trust in you, make them feel insecure, and cause them to lie themselves.
Is it OK for parents to lie to their kids?
It depends on the situation. If the child is too young to understand the truth, then it might be better for the parent to lie.
What are the negative effects of lies?
Lies can have a negative impact on both the person who is lying and the person who is being lied to. Lies can damage relationships, create mistrust, and lead to negative emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear.
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