Research shows that most people bend the truth, exaggerate, fib, or outright lie at least once or twice a day. The statistics show that men lie more often than women, especially in front of their sons. All around, both parents tended to be more honest in front of daughters.
Lies About Money
The biggest situation that prompted lying was games involving money as a prize. Roughly 42 percent of the time during the study, parents lied to sons when money was involved during a game. The statistic is troubling, as lies about money between couples were found to be one of the biggest causes of divorce.
Unwitting Ways To Model Dishonest Behavior
Unfortunately, dishonesty is modeled in many ways that parents often do not think about. Keeping purchases or behaviors “between us” and not telling the other parent teaches children that it is okay to to keep things from someone if it makes it easier to get what you want. This is common when spending the money or taking part in the behavior might be frowned upon by the other party. Parents often delay telling one another about things as well, opting for a time when it is too late to change the outcome of the situation.
The “Look Into My Eyes” Mistake
Parents often make children look them in the eyes and tell them about a situation when they suspect they may be lying. The idea is that it is harder to look straight at someone when you are lying. However, studies find that this notion is flawed logic, because people more often tend to look straight into people’s eyes when they are lying in order to gauge reactions. Avoiding eye contact was found to be a habit that accompanied nervousness or embarrassment, rather than lying.
Model Honest Behavior and Encourage Truth
There are a million ways to model honest behavior for children daily. Modeling honest behavior by returning money after errors are made in the store, returning items when someone drops them, and being open and honest with family in front of children can have a huge impact on children’s ethical stance as they grow up. Encouraging truth by lightening punishments for truth telling and being careful not to overreact when kids share uncomfortable truths can also help to strengthen the bonds of trust and shape children’s morals.