If you think your child is inherently honest, you’re lying to yourself, and that irony is about as cute as your kid saying they didn’t hide your car keys — after you clearly saw them do it. Past studies show that people start lying as early as 2 years of age, and new data shows that you might suck more than you think at calling them on it.
Researchers filmed kids between the ages of 8 and 16 taking a test, the answers for which were available but off limits. Then, they filmed the kids saying whether or not they cheated and showed the videos to one of 3 groups of adults: the kids’ own parents, random other parents, and non-parents. The non-parents and parents paired with children they didn’t know were able to detect dishonesty in the kids 51 percent of the time, and the parents assessing their own kids were only marginally more successful at 54 percent. The parents paired with random kids had the most confidence in their lie-detecting ability at 76 percent, while the other 2 adult cohorts were confident 70 percent of the time. How to account for the gap between their perception of their ability and their actual ability? They’re all underestimating those little liars
But if you think your bullshit detector is better than the parents polled in this study, it’s possible you’re right. Fathers were unfortunately as underrepresented in the sample as they are in a lot of parenting research, with 80 percent of the sample being women. And your kid wouldn’t dare deceive dear old dad, right? Apparently, they don’t need to because your wife is such an easy mark.
[H/T] New York Magazine