Why Do Kids Lie and What to Do about It?

Lying generally sets in at about two years of age; with some children it can be later, at about four. When these inclinations to deviate emerge, it often makes parents suspect that their loved little one is on the way of becoming a socially inacceptable individual.

Actually, lying or inventing fibs at this stage fits in nicely into the logical developmental process. When a child starts telling fibs it means he or she is beginning to discover that others‘ wishes and feelings are different – and does the work of shifting ideas from one person to another. Of course, it’s a lie when the child says that his father permitted him to do something he isn’t allowed to do, but it bespeaks an awareness of other people’s minds, which is a developmental step.

What makes little ones lie

The obvious answer to that would be that they lie in order to lay their hands on something, to divert blame from themselves or to be let out of an unpleasant situation. Mostly these are applicable, yet some other reasons for children lying or prevaricating.

What reasons children lie for

Some of them are as follows:

  • to inveigle something out of an unsuspecting adult
  • to avoid being blamed by covering up
  • to watch your response to being lied to
  • to make themselves out better
  • to add color to the story they tell
  • to draw attention to themselves
  • or, on the contrary, to divert attention from themselves by playing down anoccasion, so as to stop adults speaking about it and making further inquiries.

How to stimulate children to be truthful

First, talk to her about the meaning of honesty in relationship and in your family in particular. Praise her for telling the truth even if it’s nothing much.

Second, explain to the kid that you don’t like to be lied to, and neither do other family members. They get disappointed and upset when they expect to hear the truth but get only lies instead.

Ways to encourage truthfulness

A few pieces of advice about how to channel your child to honesty and truthfulness:

If it is a case of the kid telling a tall story, you can comment that it is sure to make a good book and encourage your child to add other imaginary details thereby making it clear for the kid that you both undertsand that it is made up.

Allow your kid to avoid lying when it is possible. When they have spilled or soiled something don’t ask them if it was they who did it. They can lie without thinking twice. Solve the situation by saying something like „This is really bad, it needs cleaning up quickly.“

Distinguish lying from bragging. Bragging is one of the ways to gain social respect and admiration. If your child resorts to it frequently, maybe, he or she feels they don’t get enough praise. Try and praise them more often, especially when they develop their skills and learn new things.

Establish well-defined rules concerning honesty in the family and see to it that everybody abides by them.

If the child confessed to having done the wrong thing, tell him that you have appreciated his honesty. Accentuate that you like it very much when he is open with you.

Look out for stories and books that deal with the subject of truth and lying. Read them together and stress the point of the harm that comes from lying.

How to сonfront deliberate lying

When you know your kid lies to you intentionally, let them know outright that you think it is wrong to lie. Don’t just say, explain it and add that people won’t believe them if they go on like this.

Secondly, take commensurate measures to put things right. Clean up what was spilled, collect what was strewn about, erase drawings and smears – together.

Regard the instance of lying and the reasons behind it separately. Your kid wanted attention? Think how you can be attentive to her in a different way. She wanted to get something? Get her accomplish a task for which the thing she longs for will be a well-deserved reward.

Look around and consider the kid’s surroundings: is there anything that can provide the grounds for prevaricating and fibbing?

Just how much should parents be concerned?

While many parents take a dim view of the situation, lying doesn’t call for great concern. Keep in mind that lying is an integral part of our lives, for better or worse, and it is pretty well indispensable. Of course, with every individual the amount of lies is different, but according to a study, around 40% of grown-up Americans lie at least once during a day.

An act of lying requires certain cognitive abilities, so it represents a stage of normal mental development.

Lying should be a cause for concern if it is incessant and interferes greatly with the kid’s day-to-day life and serves to disrupt relationships. Then you should do well to go and see a specialist.

If it is not the case, look at your child(ren) lying as experimenting to break new ground socially, learning when to tell the truth and when to hide behind fibs. Sincere discussions of the subject will put the child in understanding of how and when they can lie within bounds.

Further advice on how to treat instants of lying

Confronting lies, respond with a joke, or an exaggeration, or some kind of pretence. Let’s say, a little child pretends that his imaginary pal broke his toy, and not he. Why not ask simply „What made the pal do it?“ You can elicit a reason or make your kid grow tired to repeat his fib and confess. It will be a conflict-less and edifying solution of a fraught incident.

Don’t stamp your child a liar – it could stick, which is unpleasant enough, and the kid can use the tag to go on lying. You don’t want the little one to regard himself as a liar and carry on respectively. Name the deed and not the individual when discussing the case.

Lying scenarios are not difficult to talk over with children, just remember to touch upon both their moral and emotional sides. Children should grow to realize the emotional harm of lies, and be driven to understanding their own feelings when they are exposed to lies. Due to parents‘ attitude, children should feel pride for telling the truth and know about its benefits.

Some lies are more significant – schoolchildren pretending they have prepared their school projects, for instance, it is deliberate and misleading, and parents ought to react. Children should be made to realize these lies will be followed upon, and there will be consequences. They must be recognized, not coming down all of a sudden, short-termed, and totally commensurate, allowing the little culprit to return to normalcy after doing some chore or helping the parents about the house.