Every mom can relate to this – our kids aren’t the little angels they appear to be, especially when they start blaming Batman for the crayon markings on your white wall.
Children can learn how to lie as early as three years old. This is usually when your kid starts to realize you can’t actually read their minds, so they say whatever they want even if it weren’t true because you wouldn’t know.
Lying becomes more common and frequent as they reach four to six years old. They become better at it too. They are able to match their facial expressions and vocal tones to whatever they’re saying.
As children grow older, they can tell lies more successfully without being caught. The lies also get more intricate as they build their vocabulary and gain a better understanding of how other people think.
What can we do to encourage our children to tell the truth?
Once a child is old enough to understand the concept of what is true and not true, it is important to emphasize honesty and encourage them to tell the truth.
Here are a few tips:
- Praise your child when they own up to doing something wrong. Saying, “Thank you for telling me what happened. Let’s see what we can do to sort this out,” already goes a long way to helping them appreciate telling the truth.
- Help your child avoid the need to lie. For example, if he spilled his milk on the rug, you can just say, “I see there’s been an accident with the milk. Can you help me clean it up?”
- Set an example – tell the truth. Own up to your own mistakes and model it to your kids.
But what if our kids persistently and deliberately keep lying?
It’s important to first establish the premise that lying is not okay. Then, establish appropriate consequences.
Here are a few tips:
- Always tell your child when you know he isn’t telling the truth. However, be careful of asking him every single time if he’s telling the truth, or naming him a “liar.” This might precipitate even more lying. What you could say instead is, “You’re usually very honest with me. But I just don’t understand what else could have spilled the cereal on the sink.”
- Make it easier for your kid not to lie. If your child is trying to get attention, think about more positive ways to give him this and to boost his self-esteem. If he’s lying his way to get what he wants, you may want to establish a rewards system wherein she can earn the things himself instead.
- Talk calmly with your child and tell him how his lying behaviors make you feel, how it affects your relationship with him, and the trust others have on him as well.
Read the full article by Raising Children here for more parenting tips for kids who have grown a habit of lying. How do you handle your kids’ lying behaviors? Let us know in the