Although parents are significant sources of socialization in children’s lives including with respect to their moral behavior, very little research has focused on how parents socialize children’s honesty and dishonesty, especially parents of atypically developing children for whom lying is of substantial concern. We surveyed 49 parents of typically-developing (TD) children (M age = 7.49, SD = 1.54) and 47 parents of children who had been diagnosed with a disruptive behavior disorder (DBD; M age = 7.64, SD = 1.39) regarding their beliefs and attitudes about honesty and dishonesty, including in response to hypothetical vignettes; their messages to their children about honesty and dishonesty (e.g., punishment); and their own lying behavior and perceptions of their child’s lying behavior. Results revealed that, in comparison to parents of TD children, parents of children with DBD reported (a) more punitive reactions to children’s lying behavior, including in response to the hypothetical vignettes, (b) less encouragement of dishonesty among their children, and (3) perceiving their children as more prolific and sophisticated liars. Findings shed light on potential sources of individual differences in children’s lie telling and may have implications for interventions for children with DBD and their parents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health