Are Parents Who Say They Want "Honest" Kids Lying To Themselves?

Illustration for article titled Are Parents Who Say They Want Honest Kids Lying To Themselves?

Parents want kids who don't lie. They want kids who don't lie, they say, more than kids with good judgment, confidence, whatever. But that is a big fat lie, says the cover story of the latest New York Magazine, because modern parents are such prolific liars they can't even tell the difference been lying and truth half the time. The truth is that kids don't want to lie, but they often see lying as a way to avoid an argument. And while kids who argue a lot with their parents tend to think those arguments strengthen their bonds, parents tend to be oblivious to this and worry instead that all the arguing is actually weakening their bonds, which may mean the liars are simply more sensitive to their parents' feelings, which would explain why lies you told when you were six or seven still haunt you whereas the 74 times you told your mom you were "going to a movie" in high school...ha ha ha, how can you even feel guilty when the truth was something even more boring involving Boone's wine coolers?

Anyway, this is one of those stories that purports to expose all the good-intentioned parents of the world for the clueless not-so-greatness of their intentions, but as it was written by a New York parent, it misses an important point, which is to say, the reason little kids feel guilty about lying to their parents is because they have no grasp of how much other little kids lie to their parents. So around eleven years old, once they discover how shitty other kids are — their first taste of moral relativism — they go on a little lying rampage, until around fourteen or fifteen, when they realize how shitty all their friends' parents are — their second taste of moral relativism. After that kids pretty much lie in accordance with some constantly changing perception of how relatively shitty their friends are, how shitty their friends' parents are, how shitty they think you are, and whether the differential in their friends' parents' real estate holdings and yours might suggest one set of parents is bigger suckers. In other words: don't raise your kids in New York. But if you're reading New York, you probably knew that already.

Are Kids Copying Parents When They Lie? [NY Mag]

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I lied all the time in middle school and high school. My parents were insane about where I could go and what I could and were very strict with me. My mom was the type that called a friends mom to be sure I was sleeping over and got everyone in trouble. I don't think I've ever been caught, but moms and I have an awesome relationship these days that doesn't require much in terms of lying... She got MUCH cooler after the doc suggested a wee bit of prozac might keep her from cleaning for 12 hours a day...