Why Kids Lie And How To Deal With It
When, why and how to deal with children lying...
13 January 2021
Children usually start lying during their early school years...
At least, that's when their lies start turning into more sophisticated and deceitful lies than the innocent truth-twisters they used to tell before around that time.
Children around that age don’t necessarily lie because they’re naughty or to cover up for something they’ve done, but rather due to multiple other emotional and developmental reasons.
Most children start telling white lies around the age of 3 years old, because that’s when they start realising their parents don’t necessarily know everything. Then they start lying more as they get to age 4-6, and that’s when they start becoming better at lying by matching their facial expressions and voice tone with their lies.
At school age, the lies become more complicated, usually because the child at that time has had more words, and is better at understanding how people think.
However, the good news is, your child definitely knows the difference between right and wrong, and that is why they’re probably lying.
Why do children lie?
- To cover up for something so that they don’t get in trouble
- Watch others’ reaction to the lie
- Add some excitement to their story
- To make themselves sound better while talking
- To get attention, even when they know you know the truth already
- To get something they want
- Out of their need to feel important
- To spare someone’s feelings
What to do when children lie?
First of all, parents need to know what they’re dealing with, and how serious the situation is. Because if parents underestimate lying and ignore it, it can develop with the child to a bigger problem.
Parents should also know the reasons behind their children’s lies, and why did their child felt the need to stretch the truth at a certain position.
And here’s how to react when your child lies:
- Find out why did your child lie
- Explain to them why is it not OK to lie
- Show disappointment in your child not taking responsibility for their actions and mistakes
- Let them know that it’s OK to make mistakes, but lying isn’t acceptable
- Decide on reasonable consequence for lying
- Let them know you love them anyway
- Never use the word ‘liar’
Tips for encouraging honesty in children:
- Avoid situations that pressures your child to lie
- Don’t ask them about things you already know, and rather confront them
- If you’re child tells a lot of big stories that involved bragging, you might want to praise them more to boost their confidence and self-esteem without them having to lie
- Set some clear rules and consequences about lying
- Read them stories of books that highlight the importance of honesty