Science says if you're a liar, then your kid will be one, too.
Children are like little parrots. Even when you think they're not paying attention, they are, and everything they hear or witness is sucked into their little brains, just so they can store it for a bit, then let it right back out. And before you know it, you have a kid dropping the f-bomb at school, just because they heard dad use it once.
So, since they are little sponges, how you act with them and what you teach them is good or bad is, obviously, very important. But what's more important is how you, the parent, act at all times, even when you're not trying to teach them something. That kid is a mini-you through and through, and any bad habit you have, they're bound to catch. In other words, if you're a liar, then your kid will be one, too.
A recent study of kids, from the ages of three to seven, found that when children are lied, too, they will in turn respond with a lie. But whereas adults lie to get out of trouble or as some form of revenge, kids lie because they've been taught to do so.
An experiment by two psychologists from the University of California, San Diego found that when children were promised candy when there wasn't any, they would end up lying in a completely different scenario later on in the day with the same adult. One of the big reasons for this, scientists think, is that the kids were imitating the behavior they had witnessed in the adult. Another reason may be that kids don’t feel the need to be honest with someone whom they’ve pegged as a liar.
The study also found that lying changes with a child’s age. Roughly 25 percent of two-year-olds lie (in the situation of the experiment), compared to 50 percent of three-year-olds, and 90 percent of four-year-olds. The amount and frequency a child lies continues to grow until they're about 15, then it begins to swing in the other direction. By the time a kid is 17, about 70 percent will lie within the parameters of the given experimental situation, which is still a really high percentage.
What it comes down to is honesty. If you can't be honest with your kids, then how can you expect them to be honest with you? You may want to live under the guise of, "Do what I say, not what I do," but that just isn't realistic, so be honest with them. Unless, of course, you’re trying to raise a con artist, then by all means, lie away to them. Just teach them how to lie well. There's nothing worse than a bad liar.