Lies: A Tool of Manipulation. For Better or for worse.

The article “Learning to Lie” covers the ways parents have “taught” their children to lie. No, they didn’t literally teach them by sitting down and going over the key points in how to tell lies, but they have been the examples that their children follow -especially when teaching their children to be polite.

Lying is something that everyone does, and for a multitude of reasons but a couple to name would be protecting someone’s feelings and their innocence.

Usually “white lies” are told to protect someone’s feelings. Generally they are told in situations where you feel compelled to be polite, such as getting a horrific sweater from a family member for Christmas( and not wanting to make them feel awful by saying you don’t like it and would never wear it). In that kind of situation, the common thing to do is put on a smile and either shriek in glee or nod in appreciation, say thank you and that you couldn’t have asked for anything better. Yes, you would be lying through your teeth but how appropriate is that on Christmas, when most likely you’ve been told you have many presents from “Santa Claus”?

Oh, the big jolly gift giving fellow is one of the biggest lies told to children and one of the best manipulation tools to control their behavior. How many times have you, or a sibling, or a friend been told, “You better behave, Santa’s always watching. You don’t want coal for Christmas do you?” after doing something wrong or behaving poorly? It truly is the ultimate manipulation tool for children under the ages of 12 (unless you believe in Santa Claus even after you’re 12 years old), because it uses the method of anticipated reward or punishment which is one of best ways to shape a child or even a teenagers actions.

Some parents say they participate in the elaborate lie that is Santa Claus because it’s a cultural thing, and they believe their children would surely find out about Santa elsewhere and come back asking questions. Some parents say that by playing the Santa game they can protect the innocence of their child and their belief in magical things — some even say that it is a right of passage for a child to realize on his own that Santa Claus is in fact not real and it shows their intellectual development.

I, however, disagree with the lie of Santa Claus simply for the fact that it’s a lie you have to maintain for years on end; lying in general isn’t such a great thing but to be lied to habitually about a specific subject (in my opinion) is even worse.