December 1, 2011 · Posted in Anger, Communication, Discipline, K-5 Kids, Parenting, Preschoolers · Permalink
A recent article in Child-Psych gives important data about children and discipline and lying. In a nutshell, the harsher the punishments, the more kids lie. Yet another piece of date to support the goal of approaching punishment from a calm, centered place instead of reacting in anger.
A study conducted by Talwar and Lee looks at two separate West African schools, one with punitive disciplinary practices, the other non-punitive. Children at both schools participated in an experiment to test resistance to temptation and honesty or lying about their success or failure to hold themselves back. While almost all children failed the resistance portion of the program, the response afterwards varied greatly. Only half of the children at the non-punitive school lied about their actions, compared to the punitive school where nearly all of the children lied. Additionally, the children at the school with harsher punishments made up more elaborate lies as compared to the other.
Harsh and severe punishments will actually increase the likelihood of a child developing a habit of lying. Consequences to bad behavior is crucial, but it is also just as important to keep a level head when communicating it to your kids.