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Most parents lie to their kids to get them to behave

We tell our kids that lying is flat-out wrong, but a new study shows that parents aren't afraid to fib to their children in order to influence their behavior.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Jan 22, 2013 9:30PM

Admit it. Like millions of parents, you’ve probably fallen prey to playing the Santa Claus card (or other forms of bribery) to influence your kids’ behavior or emotions.

Photo: KidStock/Getty ImagesYou’re not alone, says a new study from the University of California, published by the International Journal of Psychology. According to the research, "The vast majority of parents lie to their children in order to get them to behave,” reports Boston.com.

The study took a look at parents in both the U.S. and China, where the practice of telling white lies ran rampant – 84 percent in the US and 98 percent in China reported having lied to their children for this purpose. Their go-to threat? Falsely threatening to leave a child alone in public if he or she refused to follow the parent.

More from MSN Living: 10 mom sayings it's ok to ditch

If you’ve been raised on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” message, this can be confusing for a child’s moral compass of what’s right and wrong.  

“Children who discover that their parents have lied to them to achieve a desired goal may wonder why different standards of conduct should apply to different people, and they may begin to justify their own lying with reference to lies their parents have told,” cites the study.

More from MSN Living: The top 10 worst moments in mom judgment

Parents who reported that they were strongly committed to the goal of teaching their children that lying is always wrong were no less likely to have lied to their children than were other parents.

Parents, when, if ever, is ‘parenting by lying’ okay?

Bing: Weird celebrity parenting tips

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Photo: KidStock/Getty Images

 

 

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