​The 1 Bad Habit We're Teaching Our Sons


Of course parents shouldn't lie in front of their kids. Yet a new study suggests that we do let fibs slip, and in a very gender-biased way: we lie more in front of our sons than our daughters.


Researchers came to these strange findings, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, by asking 152 parents with kids aged 3-6 to report the results of two coin tosses, for which they'd win a small prize if both coins landed green side up.

Normally, probability says that these parents would win this coin toss about 25 percent of the time, and this is exactly what happened when their daughters were present during the experiment. Yet when their sons were around, parents suddenly reported winning 40 percent of the time -- a highly unlikely outcome unless they were lying.

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Parents, of course, are role models for kids, who follow right in our footsteps. So, based on these study results, that means we're teaching our sons to lie and our daughters to tell the truth. Why?

Well, one theory is that women face a greater penalty if they lie, and are caught, than men. Or maybe we subconsciously expect our girls to be good, upstanding citizens and our boys to be troublemakers. Whatever the reason, this parental coaching works, since other studies show that men do indeed lie more than women.

Given that I have a daughter, I'm simultaneously relieved to learn that I'm raising an honest individual, but also annoyed that parents allow sons to play fast and loose with the truth, as if that's fine and dandy. All in all this is just more proof that we really do treat our sons and daughters differently. But it will also make me think twice before I lie in front of kids: they really do pick all that stuff up!

How do you feel about lying in front of your kids?


Image via Soloviova Liudmyla/shutterstock

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