Some relationships, such as those between adolescents &
their parents, are especially fraught with lies. Researchers find that college students lie to their mothers in 1 out of 2
conversations. We’re not talking little white lies, here. We're talking about actually misleading someone, deliberately
conveying a false impression.
Runners-up in the lying game are dating couples. They lie to
each other in about 1/3 of their interactions, mostly about past relationships & current indiscretions.
Married couples lie less frequently to each other. But their
lies tend to be big ones involving deep betrayals of trust:
“No, we’re just friends.”
To understand why someone lies, you have to consider what lying
does for the person. Experts say that it generally has to do with self-esteem:
People lie because they aren’t happy with themselves.
They want to be seen as more exciting people. They want to be loved. They need more friends.
If your niece is very young & she lies, it may be a sign
that she needs more attention from her parents or caregivers. Kids may resort to lying when a new sibling is born or when
parents seem distracted by their own problems.
It could also be a signal that something is going on in school
that needs remedying.
It’s wise for a parent to ask a child what’s going
on. It could be as simple a conversation as,
“Tell me about some things that happen in your day that
“Now tell me about things that happen to you that you
That’s generally a good way for adults to get helpful
information without making the child feel ashamed about her lying.
If your niece is older & concocts fabulous stories, perhaps
her work & other aspects of her life need to be more challenging. It may be that she feels overly constrained by rules
& regulations or a situation that deprives her of stimulation & experience.
Under enough pressure, almost anyone will lie, researchers find.
Most people who lie aren't entirely comfortable doing so. They
report that the conversations in which they lied weren't as pleasant or intimate as truthful encounters. But the mental distress
felt from being untruthful doesn’t last long.
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