Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 3 May 2024

The Psychology of Childhood Deception: Understanding Why Children Lie

Lying is a universal human behaviour, and children are no exception. From innocent fibs about finishing their vegetables to more serious deceptions about their weekend whereabouts, children often resort to lying for various reasons. Now, I am not suggesting for one moment that all children are intentionally deceptive individuals, or that they are maliciously trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Lying is, in fact, a fairly normal part of the development phase in adolescents and, as a behaviour, it can reoccur at different phases of childhood. It is a fascinating element of human behaviour and cognitive development and one that, if better understood, can help us to navigate the real issues that children face, which might otherwise be lost under the guise of something else. 

Understanding Childhood Deception:

To understand why children lie, it’s crucial to examine the underlying motives driving their deceptive behaviour. While the reasons may vary from one child to another, several common factors contribute to the prevalence of lying among children. 

  1. Fear of Punishment: One of the primary reasons children lie to their parents is the fear of punishment. When faced with the prospect of being reprimanded or disciplined for their actions, children may resort to lying as a means of avoiding consequences. For example, a child who accidentally breaks a valuable item may deny their involvement out of fear of facing parental anger or punishment. When I was 5 I got into a lot of trouble for inscribing my name into a wooden chest that my parents kept vinyl records in, with a biro. I am told, although I don’t remember, that at the time I tried to blame my brother for this act of vandalism. What I did not appreciate, at the tender age of 5, was that my 2 year old brother did not have the dexterity to hold a pen properly let alone correctly spell my name. In fact he called my Betty until he was at least 4 as he struggled to pronounce a hard ‘ck’ sound of ‘Rebecca’ or ‘Becky’. I was, of course, found out!
  2. Desire for Approval: Children crave acceptance and validation from their parents, and lying may sometimes be a misguided attempt to seek approval. Whether it’s exaggerating their achievements or fabricating stories to impress their parents, children may resort to lying in pursuit of parental praise and attention. In the same way, children may lie, or perhaps exaggerate the truth, in order to gain a more sympathetic ear from their parents when they have suffered pain in some way, either physically or emotionally. 
  3. Protection of Privacy: As children grow older and assert their independence, they may begin to value their privacy and autonomy much more. Lying about their activities or whereabouts may be a way for children to maintain a sense of privacy and control over their lives, particularly in adolescence when the desire for autonomy is heightened as part of the detachment process. As children become teenagers, they begin to subconsciously detach from their parents, in readiness for independence. In doing so, they often experience a deep desire to maintain elements of secrecy about themselves. They may well experience embarrassment when certain elements of their lives are exposed and will go to some lengths to prevent this happening. This presents a tricky path for parents to tread as they must walk the fine line of allowing their child time and space to develop in this way, but must also do what is necessary to keep them safe. The line itself is so fine, that it is almost impossible to avoid stepping too far one way or the other. In most circumstances, to play it safe, parents will trespass too far over the boundaries of privacy, as the alternative could have much more serious and significant consequences. 
  4. Avoidance of Shame or Embarrassment: Children, like adults, experience emotions such as shame and embarrassment, which they may seek to avoid by lying. For instance, a child who feels ashamed of a poor performance at school may fabricate stories about their academic achievements to preserve their self-esteem and avoid feelings of inadequacy. Alternatively, they may design excuses which might explain away a poor result and remove their responsibility in the situation. Equally, shame felt over getting into trouble for poor behaviour may be a cause for children to be economic with the truth. Embarrassment can also cause a sense of anger, which often causes children to seek someone to blame and may lead to a deception in order to shift blame and focus to another individual. Children may feel shame or embarrassment for something they have done and so lie or exaggerate to cover it up. A classic example of this is exaggerating how much something has hurt them, perhaps when they fall over, in order to offer a reasonable explanation for their tears.
  5. Experimentation and Exploration: Lying can also be a natural part of childhood experimentation and exploration. As children navigate the complexities of social interactions and relationships, they may test the boundaries of honesty to see how others react. This experimentation with truth-telling versus lying is a normal aspect of cognitive and social development. It often happens during early childhood and can result in some pretty hilarious conversations with toddlers. My nephew recently told his pre-school supervisor that he is in charge at home and his family take all their instructions from him! Lies of this nature are often very creative and may include elements of absolute fantasy. 
  6. Lying by omission: This is incredibly common in children, teenagers and adults. As humans we often struggle to admit wrongdoing or admit that we make mistakes. As such, in school scenarios, where a fall out has occurred, it is rarely one sided and even more rarely, clear cut. Children will often talk to their parents about an incident in school where they have fallen out with a friend, or perhaps with a teacher. The story is often told in favour of the story teller in that instance, and rarely includes the full truth of the part that they have played. For example, a child comes home and tells their parents that their teacher was horrible to them today and shouted at them in front of all their friends because the teacher, ‘hates [me]!’. They omit the part about them talking consistently in the lesson and disrupting others, they omit the part where they were late because they decided the end of break was the correct time to fill up their water bottle, and they omit the fact that they did not complete the classwork to a satisfactory standard or complete their prep from the week before. They are upset that they were called out on their behaviour and embarrassed that their peers witnessed this. The result may be a version of the truth but is not the full story. 

To read the full blog entry, please click here.

Miss Kneen
Deputy Head Pastoral

The Week Ahead

Monday 6 May
Early May Bank Holiday

Tuesday 7 May
Fixture: U15 vs Quinton House

Wednesday 8 May
Yr11 Leavers’ Lunch
U15&U17 District Athletics

Thursday 9 May
Yr13 Leavers’ Celebration

Friday 10 May
Junior School Taster Day

Please click here to view the summer term’s Clubs & Activities list and timetable

Celebrating our 146th School Birthday

Yesterday marked the 146th birthday of Northampton High School!

Founded in 1878, our school emerged during a time when educational opportunities for women were limited. Initially named ‘Northampton Middle-Class Girls’ School’, it opened its doors at 83 Abington Street to twenty nine pupils. The school’s mission was to provide ‘a thorough and systematic English Education at a moderate cost’ under the leadership of its first Headmistress, Miss Mary Pearson.

The celebration included a special assembly, where the oldest and youngest students performed the ceremonial cake cutting. This was followed by a special rendition of “Happy Birthday” and an insightful assembly by Dr. Lee for students from Year 1 to Sixth Form. Dr. Lee shared experiences inspired by an Old Girl, Eileen Bebbington, who attended our school from 1953 to 1966. After meeting Eileen at the Old Girls’ Lunch in March, Dr. Lee was gifted a copy of her book, ‘Derngate Days’. During the assembly, Dr. Lee read extracts from Eileen’s memoir, which vividly described past uniform expectations, subject and career choices, annual events, and the school’s ethos during her time at the High School.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the day was sharing 591 cupcakes among all the students and staff!

It is remarkable how our school continues to be a magical place where girls learn, grow, and succeed. Eileen has highlighted, “I can assure people that girls at NHS were not aware of a glass ceiling anywhere as Miss Marsden, who was Headmistress in charge from 1937 to 1964, instilled in the girls the expectation of a career of their own, and that a woman’s job is not to marry and become a wife or mother”. More importantly, Miss Marsden also stressed hard work in everything, hobby, sport or lessons, punctuality, service to others and particularly finishing what you started. Eileen’s reflections can easily be seen today where our values, pioneering spirit and unstoppable ‘can do’ attitude still endure throughout.

Taking a day to throw a birthday party for our school allows us to express our gratitude and appreciation. It is a reminder not to take for granted the culture, opportunities, and security our school provides.

Thank you to all our pupils, parents and staff who make Northampton High School such a wonderful place to learn and work. We look forward to celebrating many more birthdays in the years ahead.

Equestrian News

The Equestrian Team was delighted to have the support of Mrs H-T and Mr Rickman at one of their first events of the season a couple of weeks ago. The courses were tough which caused lots of problems, but our 70cm team of Lily F, Maisie G and Esme S rode really well, taking 3rd place out of 10 teams. Nancy D, riding as an individual, finished 5th and 3rd in her classes, qualifying for the National Championships at Hickstead in May. Well done girls!

Well done also to Lily F who competed in the NSEA SJ at Bury Farm on Saturday 9 April. Courses were well up to height and the classes were huge, so Lily was delighted with her results. Just a pole in the 7 and then a lovely clear in the 80 to finish 11th in a class of well over 50. Great work Lily!

Last weekend, Indi R and Maisie G were both out competing. Indi competed at the Swalcliffe One Day Event in the 90cm and came fourth in a huge class. This means she has qualified for Championships next September!
Maisie competed in the Bignell Park Hunter Trials and had a fab clear round in the 70cm class, finishing 7th in another huge class.
Well done to everyone involved.
The team would love to hear from any girls or parents keen to get involved at any level. For more information, please email Mrs Hodgetts-Tate.

Miss Lycett hosts annual Fashion Show

Every year, Miss Lycett organises a wonderful assembly to showcase the fabulous textiles work that our pupils have recently produced. The annual Fashion Show is a special celebration of the creative talent here at Northampton High, and is thoroughly enjoyed by the school community!

To kickstart this year’s show, Miss Lycett introduced the event and spoke briefly about what students have been up to in their recent Textiles lessons. She also outlined the key pieces we should expect to see modelled on the cat walk, as well as the inspiration behind them. Following this, we were delighted to hear from Year 12 student, Nicole, who spoke passionately about her love for textiles and her goal to pursue Fashion Law at university.

From beautiful handmade t-shirts and Chanel-inspired embellished skirts, to GCSE and A Level final pieces, staff and students were truly wowed by the pieces on display! Each and every item was modelled confidently by our volunteer models, who walked the catwalk beautifully and relished the opportunity to be 10% braver! A huge thank you to our talented designers, brave models and Creative Arts Faculty for making this assembly so special!

Creative Arts Spotlight

The Drama spotlight this term has to be on my Year 11 class, highlighting all the amazing work they have achieved.

They have completed their Component 2 practical exam, where they all performed exceptionally well and now their focus is on their written exam, which they are approaching with style and grace. They have all shown dedication and a thirst to learn in every lesson.

This week, our focus has been on the Live Performance section on their written exam, where they write about the play ‘Metamorphosis’ by Kafka, performed by Frantic Assembly. It was a joy to walk down memory lane and reminisce on their own performance of this back in Year 10!

Well done and good luck to all!

Mrs Marriott
Subject Leader Drama

Clothing donations for 'Annie' the musical

The Drama and Textiles departments are asking if you have any checked or floral pyjama bottoms that you could donate to us for our up-and-coming performance of ‘Annie’.

These can be any size and colour and they will be cut up and altered, therefore they will not be returned. Please bring these to Miss Lycett in the Creative Hub. Thank you.

Annie Production Team

Book review

The Song Walker by Zillah Bethell – shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Writing 2024

“There are three questions that I need to find the answers to:
Where am I?
What am I doing here?
And… Who am I?”

When a young girl wakes up in the middle of the desert, she has no idea who she is. She’s wearing one shoe, a silky black dress, and she’s carrying a strange, heavy case.

She meets Tarni, who is on a mysterious quest of her own.

Together, the two girls trek across the vast and ever-changing Australian Outback in search of answers. Except both are also hiding secrets…

Find out more about the Carnegie Medal shortlist by clicking the here.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Classical Art Competition

All students in Y3-13 are invited to enter a regional Art Competition on the theme of Landscapes of Roman Britain. The judges are looking for creative entries that explore Roman Britain in a visually interesting way, using any medium from pencil to collage, oil, watercolour, ink or photography. As well as your art piece, you need to submit a description of your work (up to 500 words), explaining how it links to the theme.

There are cash prizes for the winners! The last date for entry is Monday 3 June. For information on how to enter, pupils should check their email from Miss Kilby. Get creative and have fun!

Miss Kilby
Subject Lead Classics

In Conversation with Negeen Yazdi

The GDST is delighted to be hosting their May ‘In Conversation’ event with South Hampstead High School alumna and film industry expert, Negeen Yazdi.

Negeen is a TV & Film producer for Popcorn Storm Pictures, led by the award-winning filmmaker and director of Peaky Blinders, Tom Harper. She has held senior positions at Universal Pictures, the Weinstein Company, Endeavour Content and most recently, Fifth Season where she produced the highly successful series’, Killing Eve and Normal People.

Negeen will be speaking with the Head of South Hampstead High School, Anna Paul, sharing her stand-out career moments, school memories, and top tips for those wishing to enter the film industry. The online Zoom event will take place on Tuesday 7 May from 12.30-1.30pm and is open to all students, staff, alumnae and parents.

To book your place, please click here.

Save the Date: Arts Festival

Save the Date: Cultures Day

Save the Date: Speech Day

Diversity and Inclusion Calendar 23/24: April

The One Day Film School

Code Ninjas Northampton

PQA Stage & Screen sessions

Made for Girls

Term Dates

Northampton High School
Newport Pagnell Road, Hardingstone Northampton NN4 6UU
T: 01604 765765 nhsadmin@nhs.Gdst.Net