HOW TO SPOT A LIAR
Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, tells you how to recognize deception
Three Ways to Help Your Kid Be More Honest
Practical tips from Maryam Abdullah, a developmental psychologist.
1. Praise process, not intelligence
Parents praise their children when they do something positive. But merely praising the result can inadvertently encourage dishonesty. A study showed that when children were praised for being “so smart,” they were more likely to cheat on a test, but when told, “You did very well this time,” or offered no praise, they were less likely to cheat. So rather than encouraging a “fixed” mindset by commenting on intelligence, encourage a growth mindset praising effort in the face of a challenge: “I noticed that you stuck with that game even when it got tricky until you figured out a strategy that worked!”
2. Beware the downsides of rewards
Rewards like sweet treats or small toys might help children do things they aren’t motivated to do, but such rewards may have unintended consequences for children’s honesty. In one study, kids were asked to complete a puzzle to help a girl find her way home; some were told they’d get a lollipop for correctly solving the puzzle, while others were not. Children working for a lollipop reward were twice as likely to peek at the solution when the researcher stepped out of the room compared to the other children. Bottom line: rewards can undermine intrinsic motivation.