When's the last time you told your child a little white lie? Apparently, we do it pretty often. A new study reveals the most common lies parents tell their kids in an effort to get them to change a behavior. Researchers surveyed 200 families in the US and China. In both countries the most frequent fib had do to with what parents say to a child who's throwing a tantrum in public. “Stop now, or I’ll walk away and leave you here,” is the threat. “I’ve also used I’m going to call the Police if you don’t behave,” admitted Vancouver area mom Jenny Wigglesworth.
The study, published in the International Journal of Psychology examined the use of “instrumental lying.” Another common fib had to do with leaving a store without buying a toy. Parents often said, “The store is closing or I don’t have any money. We’ll come back another time.” Lies seemed more acceptable if they encouraged a positive behavior like, “Eat your broccoli. It will make you taller.”
Portland Licensed Clinical Social Worker Nicole J. Carroll has a warning about half truths.
“Eventually, they figure it out and then might wonder what else you’ve told them that isn’t accurate and all of a sudden your credibility is flattened.”
The study also showed moms and dads fib at about the same rate, but the incidence is higher in China than the US.
Tell us, what little white lies have you told your children?
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