Turn Your Toddler Into a Liar in One Easy Step

sneaky kidI've always had this theory about little kids and corporeal punishment, which is that I don't think they really get what it's all about. Physically punish a toddler regularly and one of two things will happen: Human nature being what it is, either you'll break the kid's spirit or you'll turn him into a really good liar. Either they'll give up trying to get what they want entirely or figure out a way to get it no matter what you say.

Guess what? I was right, at least about the lying part. So says a recent study that compared the deceptive abilities of two groups of small children: The ones who were scared of being physically beaten were apparently a lot more likely to lie about breaking the rules.

Ya don't say!

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The sad part is, most parents who choose to physically punish their toddlers think their method is effective: Hey, sometimes a kid just needs a good smack. You don't hear this one mouthing off, do you?

Which brings me back to the broken spirit/good liar thing. Those parents think their way is the right way because they mistake frightened compliance for true cooperation. They don't see the signs: A kid with a broken spirit looks a lot like a well-behaved kid, at least until she hits adolesence and starts cutting herself or develops an eating disorder. A really good liar looks a lot like a well-behaved kid, too, at least until she hits adolesence and does everything you tell her not to do. (Not that you'll ever find out about it, cause, you know, she's a really good liar.)

Which is worse? As a mom, I don't ever want to have to choose.

Do you think physically punishing little kids ultimately turns them into liars?

 

Image via Big D2112/Flickr

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