When It's Ok to Lie to Kids -- And When It's Not


Most parents lie to their children, at various times and for various reasons. Maybe it's a lie about the existence of a big man in a red suit who makes and delivers presents, because doing so honors a tradition. Or one about the family cat being sent off to a farm where she can run free and chase squirrels all day, to avoid a difficult conversation. Maybe it's a lie about the real reason Mom and Dad are getting divorced, because kids don't need to know absolutely everything. Some lies are justifiable. Others are less so.

Whatever the situation and justification, lying among parents is, it seems, the norm. A new study published in the International Journal of Psychology says 84 percent of parents lie to kids to get them to behave better. The most common: "If you don't come with me now, I will leave you here by yourself," followed by false promises for a toy or other reward in exchange for compliance