Have you ever wondered at what age children start to lie? Neuropsychologist Kang Lee Together with an international team, at the University of Toronto in Canada, he has conducted various investigations on the birth of social behaviors in children and has focused several of them to discover how and when the ability to lie begins to develop in them.
We explain, according to Dr Kang's theories, at what age children begin to lie.
They exist, says Dr. Lee, three beliefs that you could prove to be false about lying. These are the great myths of children's lies that we must begin to banish:
1. That children begin to lie until after entering primary education.
2. That children are bad at lying and that adults can easily detect their lies.
3. That if a child begins to lie before the age of three there may be a problem with him and he may become a pathological liar later.
One of his experiments that Dr Kang used to reach this conclusion consisted of asking children of different ages and from different parts of the world to guess the numbers written on cards, promising them a great prize if they succeeded.
Halfway through the experiment, the adult would leave the room asking the child not to cheat by looking at the cards. Meanwhile, a hidden camera recorded everything that happened in the room during this time. Can you imagine what happened next? 90% of the children looked at the cards as soon as they were alone.
Upon returning, they were directly asked if they had cheated. The conclusions were as follows:
Regardless of age, gender, nationality or religion,
- At two years, 30% of children lie and 70% tell the truth.
- At three years, 50% lie and 50% tell the truth.
- At 4 years, more than 80% lie.
- After that age most children lie.
Therefore, one of the first conclusions they reached is that lying is a typical part of development and that some children can begin to lie as early as two years.
Speaking of this group of younger children, the next question that the researchers sought to answer through their observations was:Why do some lie and not all?
The experts determined Two key qualities needed to lie:
1: Theory of mind or ability to read minds: To lie, the child must have the ability to know what different people know about a situation and to differentiate between what "I know" and what "you" know. Because the basis of the lie is that "I know that you don't know what I know."
2: Self-control: That is, the ability to control voice, facial expression, and body language so that a lie can be believed.
They found then that those children who have a more advanced ability to read minds and self-control tell lies at a younger age and they are more sophisticated liars. These skills are essential for the coexistence of human beings in society.
So Dr. Lee says that, If you discover that your two year old is telling lies, instead of being alarmed, you should celebrate, Because it means that you have reached a new stage of typical and essential development!
As for whether children are “bad liars”, they subjected adults of various ages and occupations, (including those related to working with children), to distinguish videos of children who lied and children who told the truth, and found that neither of these groups was able to uncover the lies, beyond the normal probability; even parents were not able to distinguish whether their own children were lying or not.
As we can see, the way in which human beings begin to develop these social skills and behaviors is exciting; It is at this moment, when one of our most essential tasks as parents begins, teaching our children to get the most out of them and to always stay on the path of truth, respect and sensitivity towards the other.
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