Teach your child how to Lie
No, no there is no typo mistake in the title above - I do mean to talk about teaching a child TO TELL LIEs.
Obviously, before we get on with the "how" to train a child to tell lies, lets first check out why one would like to teach them lying.
The benefits of lying are many, as I have learned from my rich experience. Even if I were to discard my experiences as only mine, since I see so many people around me telling lies, I am quite sure lying must have many benefits. Below are some benefits that come to my mind, I am sure you can add more to the list based on your experience.
- First is Convenience. This alone is big enough for us to encourage to take up this training with earnest. As convenience seems to be so important to us. Lying saves time, saves money, saves unnecessary altercations, saves emotions, and most of all , saves face. Lying makes our task of day to day living easier. How else can I avoid an undesirable neighbour, how else can I make the child quickly eat, how else canI get an extra discount and so on. Convenience is no more a want - its a need!
- Second is Ambition. Since 'almost' everybody tells me that this world is competitive and one needs to be ambitious to make it to the top - lying is a definite weapon in the arsenal. Whether it is boss, teacher, Client, etc., I can manipulate all of them using all kinds of false statements and make the powers look at me in a favourable way. History is full of millions of examples of how flattery delivered personal growth. As I get more ambitious, as people around me want me to be achieving more and more, and the bar is being raised everyday (2008 recession is a great example), lying is a power weapon.
- Third is Desired Outcome. A bunch of lies will definitely help me make outcomes more successful for me. If I know how to lie, I can manipulate, I can change things quickly and I can get what I want. After all,in the end , lying can and often does justify the means.
- Fourth and perhaps the least thought or talked about is Conscience Management. See I have a conscience, which keeps telling me to not do certain things. But I need to lie to my own conscience or pretend that it does not know better - so that I can end up doing what I was tempted about, rather then listening to the conscience. So you realise that lying is not just about others - in most cases we have learnt the important art of fooling ourselves.
Now that we know why we should train our child in this very important life skill, lets figure out how we train our child to tell lies. This is important not only from strategies point of view, rather also to understand lying itself.
Strategy 1 - Tell them "I trust you" and then don't trust them.
How many of us have secretly peeped into the child's room, notebook, computer screen, et al. If you are doing any of these - you are definitely teaching the child that one does not have to mean what one says. Saying is to get access, and once I have access I can exploit. If you continuously do the above, the child will soon understand how to manipulate communication and relationships.
Strategy 2 - Nag him or her
Its easy, it gives you a superior feeling - when you constantly find wrong in them - how you stand, how you talk, how you eat, how you write and so on. The more I nag, the more the child will get fed up and soon start lying to get out of "spots". After all, who wants to be nagged?
Strategy 3 - Demonstrate it
Quite obviously this is the most common strategy used by parents to teach children lying. As parents, lets us tell lies (in front of the child) to neighbours, to friends, to domestic help, to office colleagues, to the child's friends - the more I demonstrate, the more the child will learn.
Strategy 4 - Put Down in Public
Since nobody likes to be put down,the more you put down, more chances, more opportunities for him to learn lying. The child, to escape (or save face) will soon learn to lie.
Strategy 5 - Image is important
Lets Communicate in many different ways to the child - that what he/she really is - is not important - but what is expected of her - an ideal image - is more important. For this constantly compare the child to others. Also keep telling the child what you want him to be (which he is not). The child learns how to be phony, learns to run after that image and soon picks up lying to self and to others to be able to project that image.
Strategy 6 - Punish the child, show who is the BOSS, in control.
Since the child by his nature does not enjoy punishment or control, the child will soon try to avoid these punishments and would easily discover that lying can be so helpful. (Remember he also uses his creativity in such situations - thus adding to overall development :-)
Strategy 7 - When the child lies - react strongly.
Whenever the child tells a lie, let the child know that he is lying and highlight and reinforce this talent by scolding, punishing or calling the child dishonest or a liar.
Even if the child tries to defend himself - tell the child that you're an expert in detecting lies (lie catcher) and hence the child cannot escape your sharp eyes. This often challenges the child to try to lie better next time - so that he is not caught and hence he wins over you. This is a good way to hone lying skills.
Strategy 8 - Emotional games
Whenever the child tells a lie, become strongly emotional. Tell the child she has broken your heart, faith, trust etc. The child, like in previous strategy, would then try to ensure that next time her lie is so good that you are not able to feel bad. See this way she also cares for you and for herself.
Strategy 9 - In case of conscience conflict - mummy /papa wins
Whenever the child has a conscience conflict - guess it and always give a big lecture on what is right and wrong and how you know better. This way the child realises that conscience is not something to listen to, rather say and do what one thinks to be right. This process of taking away child's right to judge his internal conflicts will make him more intellectual rather than instinctive. This would be beneficial in this world where intellect is prized more than ground wisdom.
Strategy 10 - Continue being a Hypocrite
Most of us are hypocrites - I am. We say to the child - share, yet we do not share our own riches. We say to the child be gentle and kind, yet we are harsh to our spouses. We say don't be greedy and yet we want (albeit secretly) our children to be always first, to become most successful. We want the child not to lie and we continue lying. This kind of hypocritical behaviour creates the right kind of environment for the child to master lying. The other day I shouted to my son, "Don't shout" ;-)
I hope the above list will give you many opportunities to teach and train your child how to lie. Pl add your own strategies as comments below.
And just in case you do not want your child to lie, remember children do not lie.
They are just trying their best at any point of time.
It is we who are making them tell lies. Remove this ME (parent or teacher) and there is no lying. This is because if there is nobody to lie to - where will be the need to lie?
If there is no adult in front, if there is no image in front - there is no need to lie. Try it.
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By Aditi & Ratnesh