If honesty's always be the best policy, how do you raise honest kids? Do young children take cautionary tales to heart, or simply ignore the message?
Researchers from the University of Toronto may have the answer.
According to a press release, research published in Psychological Science concludes that praising, say, the virtue of being honest is more effective than focusing on the negative repercussions of lying. In other words, although stories like 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' and 'Pinocchio' are classics, they probably won't inspire honesty in children.
Indeed, it's not a given that moral stories lead to moral behaviour, claims lead author Kang Lee of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto. Researchers conducted an experiment with more than 250 children aged between three and seven, in which the kids were asked if they peeked at a toy when the researcher left the room.
Those who read the stories 'The Tortoise and the Hare,' 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf,' 'Pinocchio' were no more likely to be truthful about their behaviour than those who hadn't read the stories.
Yet those who read 'George Washington and the Cherry Tree'—in which the first U.S. president is praised for confessing a wrongdoing—were three times more likely to admit they had peeked at the toy.
Conversely, if the ending of 'George' was altered to a negative or punitive outcome, the children were less likely to confess themselves.
"Our study shows that to promote moral behaviour such as honesty, emphasizing the positive outcomes of honesty rather than the negative consequences of dishonesty is the key," said Lee. "This may apply to other moral behaviours as well." It's not clear whether the same findings apply in the long term.
What do you think of this research? Will it change the way you teach your children?
The four children's books all kids should have on their shelves (and no, they don't involve large noses).
Have you ever heard of Munchhausen syndrome? You will now that Lacey Spears is making headlines. This mom has been arrested on suspicion of slowly poisoning her 5-year-old with sodium.
The motive? She wanted attention.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, for years Spears had been blogging about her son Garnett's courage in the face of ongoing mystery ailments. The 26-year-old mom from upstate New York has now been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, which could result in a sentence of 25 years to life.
Though Garnett had spent many periods in hospital during his young life, the source of his illness was only discovered after staff found Spears injecting sodium via a tube into his stomach in a hospital bathroom.
Spears had also conducted internet searches about the effects of vast quantities of salt on the body. Garnett died on January 23, whereupon his mother took to social media to confirm that "Garnett the great [had] journeyed onward."
Reports indicate that Spears may have been affected by Munchhausen syndrome, a psychiatric condition in which a parent induces sickness in a child to gain attention and/or sympathy.
"I'm happy they got her and I do believe that she's had this problem for years and that he's been suffering at her hands," said Ginger Dabbs-Anderson, a former nurse who met Garnett when he was a baby. "I really wish we could have prevented this because there were signs ... She put all over Facebook how wonderful she was. She had us all snowed, she had us all believing she was wonderful. But obviously not."
No one could believe this mother was acquitted of murder.
Just when you didn't need more incentive to love Emma Stone after her cracking job on Fallon, this happens. Stone and Spidey co-star Andrew Garfield were munching breakfast and minding their own celebrity business when they noticed an entourage of snap-hungry paparazzi outside.
What do they do? Don the big hats and glasses, of course. But the pair of A-listers truly had their thinking caps on. They got out their Biros and penned the following notes:
Stone: "Good morning! We were eating and saw a group of guys with cameras outside. And so we thought, let's try this again. We don't need the attention, but these wonderful organizations do—>"
The couple taught the pap to photograph something truly meaningful, by giving a shout-out to a few nonprofits and advocacy groups—for cancer, orphans, autism, and youth mentoring, respectively—they clearly hold dear.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, Garfield's "don't forget" refers to the same stunt the pair pulled in September 2012. Something tells me the pap won't find them so interesting with cardboard covering their flawless faces.
Now, if only a Kardashian had thought to stick such a note in her cleavage, what a wonderful world it would be...
These celebrities did something macabre for a good cause.