Lies: Why do children lie to us? Why can’t they be honest?

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Why children lie is a big problem of most parents. As children continue to grow they don’t just tell the truth all the time, they also learn to tell some lies.  Adults are not the only ones capable of lying, even children are.  The very first time parents discover their child lying, it would be a big surprise for them. 

Studies show that kids, 3 years old and above, are no longer telling all the truth.  This is true especially when they have been trained by parents to lie, or when they see and observe their parents lying. Children lie because parents do.

Being honest is normal to kids, but when they enter grade school, there’s no guarantee they will always tell the truth.  Children will continue to lie as they reach the stage of puberty because they want to protect themselves and their friends.

Why children lie and their reasons

There are many reasons why children don’t tell the truth.  Based on circumstances, children will lie because they want to:

1.   Hide something, expecting that reprimand or consequences will not be imposed.

2.   Do some experiments or exploring to see how they parents would react or respond.

3.   Excite people or overstress a story.

4.   Get a person’s attention although the listener knows he’s not honest.

5.   Influence a certain situation by setting up on something.

When children lie, what must parents do? 

1.   Appreciate first his manner of saying the truth.  But if he lies, you can say that you’re not happy about it.  For example, you may say “I’m frustrated and feel sad when you’re lying to me.” 

2.   Always help your child appreciate what honesty is—a counterpart of lying.  Good children’s books and stories are good sources of honesty.  Find some stories that demonstrate how lying works against a child and its bad consequences.  There is a cost when children do lie.  By and large, punishing a child about his little mistakes is less important than teaching him the significance of being truthful.  Correct them immediately when you hear your children lie. And then do compliment when you catch them telling the truth.

3.   Know why the child seems lying. Lots of children who lie are fond of making things up.  Often, they overstate what they’re saying in order to impress someone.  Truth is, being imaginative is good for his mental growth.  This kind of play is very helpful and won’t make children lie.  In this case, tall tales don’t seem to be considered as lying for kids below 4 years old.

4.   Seek help from professionals.  Children 7 years old and above are telling lies more frequently.  Why children lie is connected with some unacceptable behaviors like playing a cigarette lighter, stealing money, hurting pets, or destroying things. If you think your child has this habit and you can’t manage to control the behavior, seek help from professionals.  You may discuss this with a psychologist or a school counselor.

Both honesty and dishonesty are practiced and learned inside a home.  Parents are generally concerned about why their children lie to them.  Find some alternatives to lying.  Instil to them the value of honesty.  Show them the difference between telling the truth and lying.  Understand the reasons why children lie. Don’t wait till this habit becomes their bad character trait.

Lies: Why do Children Lie to us? Why can't they be Honest   is a post on Modern Parenting Tips: Styles & Approach to Train & Discipline Children