My hypothesis is this: If a kid (aged about 12 or older) knows how to be a good liar, and how to spot other (good) liars will actually be more honest, or at least be able to be in relationships of higher quality in the long run.

I'm setting the age limit at 12 because a younger kid who can lie without you realizing it would be a nightmare.

Please note that I don't have kids. In fact I'm not even in a relationship but I'd like to hear your opinions. I was looking for a psychology site but didn't find one on SE. If you think my question is a better fit for another site please flag it.


It is a fair parenting question, so I'll answer it even though it is hypothetical. My answer would be no, spotting a liar is a completely different skill than lying. While spotting a liar may be a good skill, being a good liar would likely encourage lying rather than prevent it.

As a parent I think it is unlikely that this question would ever come up in real life. With 12 year olds you're going to have your hands full getting them to do their homework and helping them through the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood. I'd prefer to concentrate on teaching useful life skills and keeping them out of trouble.

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  • 2
    Being a good liar encourages a career in sales. – DA01 Jul 5 '13 at 17:35
  • 1
    Good one @DA01! Maybe politics as well! – GdD Jul 5 '13 at 18:38
  • I wouldn't like my child to be a salesman but that's the idea. His or her life will be dominated by liars, he might as well know how to outfox them. I'd like to draw a parallel to the gun debate (yes I'm that brave!) but, case in point, you wouldn't give a gun to a 12 year-old no matter what your position is. My reasoning is that by learning deception early on, he or she will be more natural at it (and potentially an excellent salesman). – rath Jul 6 '13 at 2:35
  • You are correct that this is an unrealistic scenario. Your answer made me think about my parents when I was 12 and boy they had their hands full. Cheers – rath Jul 6 '13 at 2:37

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