One of the most chilling areas of psychology, for me (whether clinical, developmental, educational, or those associated with faith development), is child psychology. Iâ€™m not sure what it is, exactly. Perhaps itâ€™s a result of my stint at the childrenâ€™s ward at a state mental hospital during my CPE experience. Or perhaps itâ€™s because a too-close examination of the inner workings of the childhood psyche explodes any naivetÃ© we may want to hold onto related to childrenâ€™s innocence. Or perhaps itâ€™s the horrifying prospect of witnessing unleashed raw psychic emotional energy from the id without the restraining correctives of the accumulated layers of social constraints adults enjoy which keep them from killing each other—or themselves—at any given moment.
Christian communities have always had to deal with the question of sin, sins, and children. Some believe children are born with original sin, so the notion that young children are capable of lying comes as no surprise. Others believe in an age of innocence followed by an age of accountability. And while the point at which a child passes from one age to another varies (from seven to thirteen to seventeen years of age historically) for any parent holding that viewpoint the point at which a child can exert his or her own will comes chillingly early, usually at the third word the child learns to utter: â€œNo!â€
In the article â€œLearning to Lie,â€ in New York magazine Po Bronson states,
Kids lie early, often, and for all sorts of reasonsâ€”to avoid punishment, to bond with friends, to gain a sense of control. But now thereâ€™s a singular theory for one way this habit develops: They are just copying their parents.
Bronsonâ€™s article is an interesting read. And it can provide an eye-opener for parents and adults when they understand their role in teaching children to lie.
Date posted: Thursday, February 21st, 2008 12:05 am | Under category: children, development theory, personal growth
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