LYING AMONG CHILDREN OF PRESCHOOL AGE
The preschool period is the time when children slowly start to understand what is happening around them. They do not copy all forms of behavior of immediate family any more but try to analyze their own and other people’s behavior. Preschool children know all the prohibitions and orders which, up to this point, have been primarily imposed on them by their parents. At this age, children begin to understand that the imposed rules do not have to be observed at all times. They experience their environment gradually and come to the conclusion that many issues may be solved in a simpler way, although not always the way it should be done. A child already knows there is ‘something’ which helps to reach a given goal, to escape the obligation or punishment, and to win peer approval. This ‘something’ is a lie. Some children quite soon understand that lying is just not worth it because it involves many unpleasant repercussions. However, some of them choose lying because it seems to be easier to them.
A lie is a term closely associated with morality. It is treated not only as ability but also as an art. In simple words, a lie means deceiving someone in a deliberate manner through distortion of reality. It would seem that people tell a lie using only words. Unfortunately, lying may also take the form of gestures, appearance, or even silence. Experiences with lying appear quite early in a child’s life. Having used intentionally false statements, children quickly discover how useful a lie can be. The rationale behind every lie, just like behind any other activity, is a specific wish of a child as well as a more or less valid expectation that using a lie as a tool is going to bring a desired effect. When talking about preschool children, the term ‘unconscious lie’, which is not made knowingly, is used because children get carried away by their own imagination and it is often the case they believe every single word they are saying at the moment. Although such lies are involuntary, with time they may develop into real ones.
The existing literature on the topic presents different classifications of children’s lies as small children lie for a variety of reasons in many different situations. Preschool children are too young to comprehend the way adults understand the consequences of not telling the truth repeatedly. However, the preschool period is a good moment to make children aware of the fact that lying is not a desirable behavior and teach them honesty. Thus, the article presents the research on the phenomenon of lying among 5-6 year-old children from kindergartens located in the city of Siedlce in Poland.