Talking more effective than punishment

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Talking more effective than punishment

Talking to your children is a better way to get them to tell the truth than threatening them with punishment. New scientific research conducted on a group of young children found that those who were told the virtues of being truthful were far less likely to lie about an event.

Testing the children

The research was conducted by scientists at McGill University in Canada. They carried out a series of hidden camera experiments on children between the ages of four and eight. The children played a set of educational games where they had to guess the type of toy that was making a specific noise. They were then told not to cheat at the game while the researcher was out of the room.

The results of the study

When the researcher returned to the room, she asked the children whether or not they’d cheated. Some of the children were told they’d receive a punishment if they lied, others were simply told it didn’t matter if they lied, and a third group of children were provided with a moral reason to tell the truth. In those children who weren’t given an ethical reason not to lie, 87 per cent failed to tell the truth. However, just 35 per cent of those who had heard some form of ethical message and were not threatened with a punishment told a lie.

This research emphasises that teaching children about ethics so that they are learning some morals is far more constructive than simply dishing out punishments.


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