Parenting by lying in childhood is associated with negative developmental outcomes in adulthood

J Exp Child Psychol. 2020 Jan;189:104680. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104680. Epub 2019 Sep 26.


Parenting by lying refers to the parenting practice of deception to try to control children's behavioral and affective states. Although the practice is widely observed across cultures, few studies have examined its associations with psychological outcomes in adulthood. The current research fills this gap by sampling 379 young Singaporean adults who reported on their childhood exposure to parenting by lying, their current deceptive behaviors toward parents, and their psychosocial adjustment. Results revealed that the adults who remembered being exposed to higher levels of parenting by lying in childhood showed higher levels of deception toward their parents and higher levels of psychosocial maladjustment. Our findings suggest that parenting by lying may have negative implications for children's psychosocial functioning later in life.

Keywords: Dishonesty; Externalizing problems; Internalizing problems; Lying; Parenting; Psychopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Deception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Problem Behavior / psychology*
  • Young Adult