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'If you lie, your nose will grow like Pinocchio.' How many times have you said this to your child, or have you heard it? From a very young age, we teach them to be sincere, to avoid lies. 'Lying will only get you into trouble', we insist (and with good reason, because that is often the case). However, it must be recognized that among all children (and adults) there are real experts in lying, and that, surprisingly, those types of people who lie skillfully are very, very intelligent. And it is that it is not so easy to lie 'with style' and without anyone discovering them.
And here comes the controversy: A surprising study reveals that lying children are smarter. You know why? We explain it to you.
It is not easy to lie. Well, it's easy to lie, but it's hard to do it without being noticed. To make the lie look like the truth, you need a true command of emotions, a great interpretive capacity and a previous analysis of the situation, assessing in record time the possibility of getting out of the situation, the causes and the effect generated in the case of being discovered. The lie forces us to think, to analyze, to foresee. The lie sharpens the wit and yes, also the senses. It is tactics and strategy.
As if this were not enough, it turns out that lying is something normal. The brain learns to lie as a form of complacency: if a child sees that he can make a profit by hiding (lying), he will. It is instinctive. But there is more ... an elaborate study by psychologist Michael Lewis in the 1980s he made the following clear:
- Lying children are smarter.
- Lying is good for children's brains.
- Lying children are more emotionally balanced.
Good. How did you stay? Surely you think ... how outrageous! If the lie is a trap to himself and to others! Yeah true. It is a trap, but to develop a trap you have to be tremendously skilled, and that is what the study is based on.
How did you come to this conclusion? The experiment he studied for years with hundreds of children from 2 to 6 years old. They wanted to see the reaction when they were asked to comply with a rule and tell them later if they had met it. To do this, they would hide a toy with the child present, they would tell him not to look at it and the adult would leave the room. After a few minutes he would go back in and ask the boy if he had obeyed. A third of 2-year-olds lied about it. From the age of 3, the proportion of 'lying children' was already 50%. And beyond 4 years, 80%.
Then the children's IQ and their capacities and abilities in other areas were evaluated and the conclusion was reached that children who lied were smarter.
Another study made one more contribution on childhood lies: it discovered that children also know how to lie very well. The study included several children between the ages of 2 and 5 and many adults, including the children's parents. The adults were not able to detect his lie (not even the children's parents). And the thing is that the little ones are artists of lies.
And why is lying good for the brain? Lying helps the brain to find solutions: analyze the possibilities of getting out of the situation 'gracefully' and think of possible excuses to avoid being discovered.
At no time is lying said to be good on a global level, nor are parents encouraged to teach children to lie. Sincerity will continue to be a necessary universal value. However, there is no need to be alarmed by a child who lies fairly fluently. Perhaps in these cases we can explain why it is not okay to lie, while we smile to ourselves while thinking 'but how smart is my boy'.
To analyze how to educate more honest children without forcing them 'not to lie', psychologist Angela Evans discovered that the best way to do this was not punishment or 'reprimand', since that generated in the child in the long run a greater skill in lying. The best way to keep someone from lying (including children), is to make them promise they won't. As simple as that. To reach this conclusion, the psychologist carried out the same study as psychologist Michael Lewis: he hid a toy and told the children not to look at it, but this time, before leaving, he made them promise that they would obey and that they would not. . He found that by promising not to lie, the children avoided looking at the toy. Oh surprise! It turns out that the best way to educate sincere children ... is to trust!
Also, according to this psychologist, Fables and tales that show morals with reprimands about lies are useless, while those who extol the benefits and virtues of honesty do. That is, the one that contains positive messages about sincerity, and not negative ones about lying.
So now you know: first, don't worry too much if your two-year-old started lying. It is natural and is part of their development. What's more, you know it's a sign of intelligence. And two: If you want your child not to lie, trust him, and make him promise not to.
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