Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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‘Adults lie daily, but we think it’s wrong with children’ | NOW

When should that pacifier really go in the trash? How do I provide baby food without microplastics? And is it normal that my toddler has no friends? submits a parenting question to an expert or experience expert every week. This week it is: ‘My child is lying. Is that a problem?’

Lying has a negative connotation, realizes remedial educationalist Rianne Kok, who is conducting research into lying within families at Erasmus University Rotterdam. “In children, we quickly find lying morally wrong, but the reality is we all do it.” On average, adults lie about twice a day. “Often from a very positive intention. For example, not to hurt someone else. But that we often lie ourselves, we sometimes seem to forget when it comes to lies of children.”

Lying can even be a sign of development in young children. “Toddlers cannot lie well yet”, Kok explains. “They don’t realize that what they themselves know is not the same as what someone else knows.” A child only learns to empathize with someone else around the toddler age. “Then a child understands: if I have secretly picked up a biscuit and Daddy did not see it, he does not know that it happened. That insight opens the door to be able to tell a lie.”

Lying is just part of it

It is very common for children to lie, Kok emphasizes. “In experiments where we let children play a game that they cannot possibly win, we see that many children cheat in order to win a prize. If we ask afterwards whether they played fairly, the majority lies. reason for worry. Lying is just a part of it. For adults, but also for children. ”

When does lying become a problem? According to the remedial educationalist, the amount of lies plays a role, without being able to name an exact number, but also the type of lies. “Then it is not about a cookie that you have secretly picked up, but about lies that have major consequences. Lying often occurs in a larger pattern of problematic behavior. Think, for example, of children who regularly show transgressive behavior, in trouble. come to school and lie about it. ”

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Children keep lying when it pays off, says Kok. “In the group of problematic liars, we often see that there is very little supervision. So that parents do not notice what their children are doing. In addition, we see that an excessively heavy-handed upbringing can underlie problematic lying. For fear of a severe punishment a child then lies everything together. “

Always being honest is not realistic

In an average family, lies are told daily, but problematic lying is rare. Kok advises parents to be aware of their role model role, because children often imitate their parents’ behavior. “Parents often recognize their own behavior in that of their children.” Oops, I do that too. If you lie a lot, you implicitly convey a norm. That telling the truth is not always important, for example. That’s good to say. realize. ”

“If you set the standard for children to always be fair, you are not preparing them for reality. And you may be setting higher standards for your child than for yourself. ”

Rianne Kok, remedial educationalist

Kok notices that her research makes parents think. “When do you think lying is permitted and when not? And what do I want to tell my child about this? Every parent makes their own decisions in this.” The remedial educationalist does not consider it realistic to try to educate your child in such a way that it is always fair. “Maybe we shouldn’t want that either. Lying is strongly woven into our social intercourse. If you set the standard for children to always be honest, then you are not preparing them for reality. And perhaps you are setting higher standards for you. child to yourself. ”

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