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Study Finds That Telling Kids White Lies Could Damage Them In Later Life

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Study Finds That Telling Kids White Lies Could Damage Them In Later Life

Telling kids small lies in order to get them to behave better can be damaging to them as adults, a new study has found.

You know the ones, stuff like 'sitting too close to the telly will make your eyes go square', 'if you eat carrots you'll be able to see in the dark', and 'if you pull faces and the wind changes, your face will stay that way'.

While these are all lies that many of us will have been told as children, a study performed at a Chinese university has discovered that they could be responsible for psychological problems in later life.

Make of that what you will.

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The research was performed by experts from China's Xinyang National University, who discovered that threatening your children with a lump of coal at Christmas if they're being naughty could actually be making the problem worse when they're a teenager.

'Santa won't come if you're not good'. Credit: Pexels
'Santa won't come if you're not good'. Credit: Pexels

These sorts of white lies - they reckon - could affect relationships between teenagers and adults, as well as causing children anxiety when they grow up.

To achieve this slightly bizarre conclusion, they gathered about 900 volunteers between the ages of 10 and 17, and included examples of these kinds of little lies in the study.

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Participants were then asked whether the fibs were told to them as youngsters.

Next they gave the children a survey that assessed their anxiety levels, as well as their 'parent-child attachment'.

They discovered, as we've mentioned, that attachment to parents was lower and anxiety levels were higher amongst those who'd been lied to as kids.

For whatever reason, girls were found to have been more profoundly affected than their male counterparts, the study showed.

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'You'll get square eyes...' Credit: Pexels
'You'll get square eyes...' Credit: Pexels

The lead author, Liu Meiting, told the journal Children and Youth Services Review: "Parenting through lying was positively associated with anxiety.

"Furthermore, girls who experienced parental lying had lower levels of attachment with their parents, whereas there was no significant difference in boys.

"This may be because boys have a higher tolerance for lying, and girls may be more emotionally reactive to their parents' behaviour.

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"White lies can have damaging effects on adolescents, particularly girls. Parents often have good intentions when they tell white lies, but for their children such lies may create uncertainty and then anxiety."

There you have it. While it's sometimes necessary - and fun, too - to lie to kids, you need to be careful, because you could end up doing yourself no favours later in life.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Science, Weird

Tom Wood
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