Psychotherapist Philippa Perry claims that parents who are too strict create an atmosphere whereby their child does not feel safe telling the truth. That is, parents who are unnecessarily strict, will more likely turn their children into skilled and effective liars.
Perry holds that all lies are co-created and by not allowing a situation where children can tell the truth, parents can only blame themselves if they find out they have been deceived.
Canadian psychologist Victoria Talwar, developed an experiment to measure children’s lies and backup this theory. According to reports, Dr Talwar chose two schools in West Africa – (one with relaxed rules and one very punitive school), to take part in her experiment ‘Peeping Game’.
The test asks children to guess what object is making a certain noise without looking. The last object, a ball, makes a sound that bears no resemblance to it. The adult then leaves the room and when they come back they ask the child what the object is and if they peeked.
Dr Talwar found that in the more relaxed school some of the children lied and some told the truth, roughly on a par with results she had seen in Western schools. While in the very strict school the children were extremely quick to lie and did it ‘very effectively’.