It is not uncommon for children to tell lies. From ?little white lies? (which aren’t always as harmless as they sound) to great big whoppers that they can?t possibly expect you to believe. They do it for many different reasons, and often they do it from an early age.
Children of all ages can lie, and most will go through a lying stage or lie occasionally when they think it will benefit them! Young children aren’t always telling lies as such; when they make up a story and swear it?s true, they don?t always understand the concept of truth and what they are doing is essentially telling you a story in the same way that you tell them stories. In time, you might notice that your child tells a lie on purpose to get what they want or to avoid what they don?t want. From the age of around 4 years old, your child will likely understand that they are telling a lie and they may well also understand that it is not acceptable, but that won?t necessarily stop the tall tales. Children can be really quite skilled at the art of deception ? you may wonder if your child is destined for the stage or a life of crime! Rest assured that most, if not all, children go through phases of lying and there are tried and tested ways to deal with it.
There are a number of reasons a child might lie;
?To get out of trouble if they think they may be heading for it
?To impress other people
?For fun, because they enjoy the reaction
?To manipulate a situation
?To get attention
What to Do? – Please bear in mind that all children are of course different. These are just a few suggestions.
? Make sure your child feels valued and has praise for their real skills and achievements so they don?t have to invent things to impress you or others.
? When your child tells you a big story and tries to pass it off as true, tell them you know that it isn?t true but that it is a fantastic story and it would be amazing if they wrote it down as a story so you could read it together/take it into school etc.
? Always praise honesty and show your child that you appreciate it.
? Try not to lie to your child.
? Discuss the lying, bring it out into the open if it is happening a lot and explain firmly that honesty gets rewarded whereas more lies will have to be punished.
? If your child lies because they are very frightened about the potential consequences of their actions, consider changing the way you discipline them. Perhaps the punishment is too harsh or they are worrying unnecessarily about what the consequences might be?
Lying will stop when you understand why the child is lying and take steps to deal with it fairly and openly. If you reward honesty and punish dishonesty, your child will come to value the truth and understand how hurtful a lie can be. In time, they will come away from the habit of lying.