SureBaby Blog

Your Toddler is Lying to You

Posted by Alissa Robson

Children learn so many amazing things in their first years of life – crawling, walking, talking and much more. Unfortunately, telling lies also makes the list a lot sooner than we’d probably like.

Prior research concluded that children didn’t start lying till roughly 3 ½ years of age, but new studies and tests are showing that many children start as early as two.

Testing was conducted by placing children in a “tempting situation”. The children were asked to identify a toy based on the noise it makes (a quacking duck, for example) by an adult in the room. At one point, the adult leaves the room and the child is instructed not to look at the next toy. A hidden camera in the room captures the child’s actions in the adult’s absence.

When questioned as to whether they peeked, children as young as two told a whopper.

The research reported the following percentages for children who were capable of telling lies:

  • 2 years old – 25 percent
  • 3 years old – 50 percent
  • 4 years old – 80 percent

While this news may put grimaces on the faces of parents, the study’s author Angela Evans is willing to overlook the negative aspect for the sake of science and has found that the ability to lie is actually linked to brain development.

The children who tell lies, she says, are more “cognitively advanced”.

She also said the children in the experiment didn’t necessarily mean to be deceptive, they just felt ashamed of their actions.

While it might be disheartening that children are learning to lie so young, Evans said there’s a dead giveaway that can help you catch your child in the act – asking follow-up questions.

That, she notes, can help give parents a chance to identify the lie and talk to their children about right and wrong. “We all tell lies,” she said. “It’s not necessarily an awful thing.”

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