Lead researcher Dr. Kang Lee says the study found that only 30 per cent of children around the age of two can pull off a plausible lie, while around half of three-year-olds make things up to their parents and as much as 80 per cent of four-year-olds make up lies.
When people lie, it enables the part of the brain which helps them to think on their feet and it means that children who do this at an early age have developed “executive function”, which is the ability to invent a convincing lie.
“Parents should not be alarmed if their child tells a fib,” says Dr. Lee. “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.”
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Experts found that there is no link between children telling lies in childhood and becoming a fraudster in their adult life.
However, this doesn’t mean you should try to encourage your child to be deceptive! Dr. Lee stresses that it is important for you to teach your child the importance of honesty throughout childhood.
“Kids with juvenile delinquencies tend to be poor liars,” Dr. Lee later explained in an interview with CBC News.
“Kids who lie early, who lie better, are the kids who are going to develop normally. In children under 7–8, it’s not their faces but their choice of words that give them away, as their lies aren’t cunningly crafted enough to stand up to most adult’s scrutiny.
“But as your kid gets older, beware! After 7–8 years, such verbal statements become increasingly sophisticated, and as a result children’s lies become increasingly difficult for adults to detect regardless of professionals’ training or child care experience.”
While we don’t want to raise liars, it’s important to know that when our kids spin the truth it isn’t always a bad thing.