Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why Parents Lie to their Children

A reflection provoked by an interesting post on the Cafe Hayek blog, The Virtues of Innocence. I see this issue of parents "lying" to their children from a different perspective than the one presented in the article.

I think this is the basic learning process. Think of any subject taught in school. What you learn first is a simplified theoretical model which basically never applies at 100% in the real life, except maybe in rare situations. While your knowledge in that field increases you come to see all the nuances that drive the real life situation away from the theoretical model. Lying to children - meaning presenting them real life facts in a simplified manner which can match their understanding level - works very much the same way, parents provide them with a framework for understanding the surroundings. And the personal development provides the necessary nuances to dissociate framework models from real life examples. Of course, children's future development is very much dependent upon the kind of framework their parents provide them, but that is a different discussion.