Why You Shouldn’t (Necessarily) Worry When Your Kids Lie

posted: 06/22/15
by: Courtney Reimer
Shot of a cute little girl whispering into her smiling mother's ear

It's not fun to find out your kid has been stretching the truth about say, eating the last cookie (especially if you were really looking forward to that cookie), but a new study shows that there may be a hidden positive to the negative of a lie.

According to this study, as reported by The Telegraph, a child's lie may indicate a larger truth about their memory and ability to reason. The University of Sheffield found that kids who lied about looking at answers on a test proved to have stronger memories and were better able to juggle lots of information.

Here's how they conducted the study: 6- and 7-year-olds were given an opportunity to look at the backs of cards during a trivia challenge (the backs of the cards showed the answers). They were being filmed unbenknownst to them, and so researchers knew which ones lied about having peeked at the responses and which ones didn't. The children who were able to retain the information and keep their cover story going showed signs of having a stronger memory.

That said, no one is actually recommending encouraging your kid to take up a habit of lying -- just don't fret when you find out they've pulled one over on you. And as EmpoweringParents.com points out, it's probably best to nip it in the bud as soon as you learn your child is able to fib.

"Be aware that kids and adolescents are prone to engage in 'magical thinking,'" says a great article on the site. "This means that when your child gets away with a few lies, he will start thinking he should be able to get away with them the next time."