I read a blog post yesterday written by a mom about her two-year old toddler, who has a tendency to “bend the truth”. I don’t like to use the word “lie” here as I’m not sure that kids that young can perceive the concept of a lie. I totally related to the blog post though, a lot of the “lies” that the little girl was telling I had already heard from my own daughter.
My lil’ girl would tell me she’s already gone to the toilet when she really hadn’t seen her potty in hours, she’d tell me her plate was empty and that it’s time for her chocolate – needless to say her plate would be full. Other examples would be that she tells me her daddy said something was ok for her to do, when she knows full well that he didn’t – she didn’t even ask him, but she knows that telling me that would give her the leverage she needs. On more than one occasion, my lil’ girl would come back from school full of stories about things that happened with her friends or teachers – when I verify these stories the next day, it turns out that most of them are not true.
A study posted in The Telegraph states that “researchers have found that the ability to tell fibs at the age of two is a sign of a fast developing brain and means they are more likely to have successful lives.” and that “it ~ means that they have developed “executive function” – the ability to invent a convincing lie by keeping the truth at the back of their mind.”
So, I guess toddlers telling lies shouldn’t be a big concern to parents – we should be happy that they’re turning out to be intelligent and will grow up to be successful and quick-witted. Hmmm, really? Do we really want to stand by and let our kids learn to lie and deceit their parents and others in the future with the relief that it’ll make them better adults? I’m not so sure. I know that in most cases toddlers tell lies because their imagination is bigger than their reality – they perceive these lies to be truths most of the time. But, in my opinion, we should help them start realizing the difference between the two and gently guide them into the habit of being honest.
“Parents should not be alarmed if their child tells a fib,” said Dr Kang Lee, director of the Institute of Child Study at Toronto University who carried out the research. “Almost all children lie. Those who have better cognitive development lie better because they can cover up their tracks. They may make bankers in later life.”
I have no idea what my lil’ girl will turn out to be – but I hope that whatever it is she’s honest, dedicated, and trustworthy.