July 25th, 2022

"Because honesty is a foundation for relationships and institutions, we want our children to be honest. We have relationships of trust that we build with our children. When children lie, we can feel indignant, upset, frustrated, angry, or even betrayed. These are natural feelings when we discover someone has lied to us. However, with our children, these feelings can be even more acute and are mixed with concern: Why is my child lying to me? What does this mean about my child, about our relationship? What should I do to stop this behavior?"

"For instance, in one study, the researchers found people commonly cheat—but only a little bit (Mazar etal., 2008). In that study, adults were given 20 matrix number tasks to solve and then self report how many they got wrong. The task was difficult, and on running the experiment and checking people’s answers, the researchers knew that, on average, people could solve only four of the tasks. However, when people could self report how many tasks they had solved correctly, the researchers found that the majority of people inflated their score. By how much? On average, people reported they had solved two more matrices than they actually had solved. Notably, they only cheated a little. When the researchers increased the incentive by increasing the amount of money participants could win per solved matrix, they did not see a jump in people’s false claims. People still only cheated a little. The researchers suggested that people cheat a little to increase the benefits to themselves but not too much so that they maintain their selfconcept as being essentially honest. So, we may cheat a little to benefit ourselves just up to the limit that we can tolerate it without making us uncomfortable about ourselves. We like to preserve our feelings about our essential honesty and decency."

Get ready folks! This is a small snippet from her new book and the upcoming podcast that was awesome. It is filled with interesting observations for all parents to understand the substantive drive for lying in kids. It will be released this coming weekend.


Dr. M