Kids Are Lying By Just 3-Years-Old & It’s A Real Problem

Food for thought

Kids Are Lying By Just 3-Years-Old & It’s A Real Problem

Image Credit: Disney.

Source: The Conversation. 

Food for thought:

We’re all told that white lies are okay. 

We’re all fed lies by the media trying to sell us a bunch of stuff we don’t need, every day. 

At some point, we’ve lied more than we should have, only to regret it later on… whether it be within our relationships, our workplace, or to ourselves. 

But this trend of lies, no matter how big or small, in our society is turning into a bigger problem as it influences future generations. 


New studies have revealed that children are learning to lie from as young as three, carrying out the art of deception and churning out fibs for personal gain. 

Some studies have strived to determine what makes children first learn to lie, with one research team carrying out a study where kids were asked to play a game in which if they told the truth, the experimenter won a treat, and if they lied, they themselves won a treat.

The game involved the children hiding a treat in one of two cups while the researcher closed their eyes. 

The child would then be asked where it was hidden and would reply either honestly or dishonestly, depending on whether the reward of the treat outweighed the moral of honesty. 

The study showed that over time the children developed better skills to deceive the experimenter, in order to gain rewards for themselves, instead of telling the truth and not getting the rewards. 

After they were able to successfully deceive, they did so consistently. 

The rate at which they were able to successfully deceive depended upon their ability to understand that others don’t know what they know, and also upon their cognitive control (whether or not they then blurted out they were lying). 

It was found that competitive games among children these days allow them to gain insight into deception and how it can be used as a strategy for personal gain…

This personal gain aspect, when recognised by the child, resulted in more consistent lies. 


Of course, the study WAS based on an incentive programme, where kids at this age weren’t necessarily able to determine the moral dilemmas of lying. 

This begs the question, are our kids able to determine when lies are not okay? Or if they are ever okay?

Are we too focused on ‘personal gain’ in today's society that future generations won’t be able to see outside themselves?

Does this then mean that honesty between parents and children is more essential than ever before, so that lying doesn’t become a trait so easily inherited through what our kids see us do?

All some pretty big questions for when kids are young, but it’s an important idea to grasp and to simplify for younger generations, so they are not riddled with the anxiety and fear that lies can breed when we get older.


Lying has its cost; do we really want our children having to pay for them, when we know just how bad it can be?

Food for thought… 

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