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Why do kids lie? What to do.

Just accept that this is one way your child is expressing something that they really want to you. Again, the focus is on helping them learn to distinguish fantasy from reality, while conveying that you value honesty. This reason stems out of the same developmental stage I mentioned above. These kinds of untruths, can be dealt with in the same way as we would react to untruths told because of wishful thinking. A friend told me about a recent camping weekend she spent with the Cub Scouts that relates to this form of lying. When the leader found the mess and asked who had made it — all of the boys denied it had been them.

As a helper, my friend felt unsure about how to step in and stop what was going on. The thing is, this kind of lying can be prevented by taking a problem-solving approach when there are accidents or even when your child makes a mistake or misbehaves. How can you make this better? Judy Arnall advises just describing what you see and stating your expectations for making amends.

I want you to help me clean it up. Please go get a towel.

Water can damage machines. I want you to help me put this outside in the sun so it can dry out. After the situation is remedied, you can engage your child in a discussion about how to avoid this kind of thing happening again.

Jimmy Kimmel Lie Detective #1

She talks about not getting upset about realities e. All four of these parenting gurus would agree that the point is not to shame or punish or lecture.

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Otherwise, next time the child has an accident, they will want to avoid that possibly by lying. I have used this strategy countless times with my son as described in this post, E is for Empathy. I like how it leaves his dignity intact and always assumes the best motivations for his behaviour. The iPod example above happened just the other day, and I was pretty upset and worried that the iPod would be broken.

But I tried to assume that my son was just being curious and doing some scientific experimentation giving him the benefit of the doubt. I would probably find out by myself later after more damage was done. Why did the boys lie?


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Well, in the macaroni case — it was clear that the adult was upset about the spill and was focused on blaming. The best response for all 3 of these situations is just to state what you see and help your child take responsibility for the situation. If you think about all the reasons above why kids tell untruths, it comes down to an issue of trust. If our kids feel that they can trust us to react calmly to their mistakes, and be understanding and respectful of their wishful thinking — they will indeed grow up to value honesty — a trait that we will really wish they have when they hit teenage-hood!

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth. Franklin Fibs Classic Franklin Stories. Leave a comment below! Follow me on Facebook! This was a very insightful post! What you listed here though is when a child is covering up a mistake or an accident. How would you deal with it differently when the action was on purpose? Such as one child hitting another, or taking toys away, etc. Things done intentionally out of malice or selfishness.

How early do we learn to lie? And what purpose does it serve in young children?

I do want to be solution oriented, but there is also clear rule-breaking going on that needs punishment. Then gradually as they learn to honor the truth above everything, I start to bring punishment into the mix. Children also need firm limits, set with warmth , rather than sternness. Those feelings are then likely to drive him to sneak some, because there was no room for anyone to see and accept but not give in to his desires.

5 Ways to Deal With a Child Who Lies

He got it out on the table, you heard it all. Relieved of those desires, he can figure out other ways to be happy.


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  5. We call this Staylistening. Asking this kind of question will only make you disappointed, because, backed into an impossible corner, a child has to lie. Instead, go and look to see if his room is picked up, or if the garbage has been taken out. Just stay with him until you and he figure out together how the job is going to get done. He may need to cry about not wanting to do it.

    Understanding 4-Year-Olds: The role of Lies & fantasy - TheTot

    He may need to complain and have you hear how hard his life feels. He may need to make bargains. Sooner or later, the effort to connect will pay off. Our mission is to provide parents with insights, skills, and support they need to listen to and connect with their children in a way that allows each child to thrive. We do this through easy-to-access support , classes , and literature. We offer vital information to help parents deal with issues from children biting and kids' temper tantrums to learning issues and bullying on playgrounds and in schools.

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    Next, stay calm. Getting angry with your kid because he lied or did something wrong will take the focus off the issue and instead put the focus on how you are reacting to what he did. Are you pretty sure your kid lied to you? Before dealing with it, go to your happy place, count to 10 and stay calm. For example, instead of asking, "Did you walk the dog when you got home from school?

    Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show! Jump to Navigation. By Cheryl Butler Mighty Mommy.