Children And Lies: What To Do

What to do when your child lies. The first time you realize that your toddler is lying to you is always a devastating experience.

As your child grows older, particularly when she turns three or four years old, you'll find that your child will begin to lie. This is an activity you should be aware of and act intelligently and appropriately.

Research has found that just about every child will lie on occasion, if not more often. The tactics you use in curbing this activity are important so your child will grow up to be a normal, truthful adult. Children who begin lying at an early age and have parents who don't take action are more likely to be teenagers and adults who cheat and steal. They think they can get away with being dishonest, so they try it out. This can and is a detriment to themselves and to society.

The first thing you need to realize is that not all lies are bad. Your child will talk about imaginary friends and monsters as if they're real people. This is healthy lying. It's showing that she has a healthy imagination.

But there are other times your child may try to lie to you just to get a reaction from you. She wants a response in order to get more attention. It's important in these aspects that you don't give her what she wants, or she'll just continue lying. She may come to you one day and say "I just ate a worm outside." Of course, she knows she didn't just eat a worm. And when your child first lies to you, you'll know that she's lying. You need to just play along and not overreact and get upset. Discuss the situation with her. If you don't make a big deal out of it, she won't get any satisfaction out of it and won't do it again.

Then there are the bigger lies that will come with time, as well. Children don't want to be punished for their actions, so they'll lie about what really happened in order to get out of it. Again, you'll know when your child first lies to you. It will be obvious. The goal is to stop her from lying like this before she becomes good at lying. To do that, you need to emphasize that you view lying as great of a crime as hitting or fighting. Let her know how serious you are about lying. Give her a chance to tell her side of the story, but tell her that you know the truth. Tell her that if she fesses up, her punishment won't be as great. And stick to your words. Follow through. You want to condemn lying behavior.

When you catch your child coming up with half truths or outright lies, you need to be sure to call your child on it. Make sure they know that you know they are lying and that the activity is unacceptable behavior. Tell them that "honest people don't lie" and that "lying is unacceptable in your house." And stick to your guns. If you realize that your child's habit of lying grows into something obtuse and becomes a real problem, you should consider taking disciplinary action or even enrolling your child into a therapy class of some sort. How far you're willing to take it depends on how bad you consider the situation to be and how important it is to you and your child's well being.

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