Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! When Kids Lie

Oh, boy. He's looking at you straight in your face, and yet nothing coming out his mouth is the truth. Once a kid is older than 2, there's nothing even remotely cute about a lie. But kids do it. Five year olds do it, 10 year olds do it, 15 year olds do it. How should a mom (who otherwise keeps her cool) handle this most maddening of kid behaviors?


When McConnell_mom posted a question about what to do about her 7-year-old daughter's bad fibbing habit, only a couple of answers came in--but one response in particular deserves some light. Basically, this anonymous mom says it's important not to label lying a "bad kid" behavior. "Good kids" lie too, she reminds us. If there is a zero tolerance policy for lying in your home, then whatever consequence you've designed as the punishment for such a crime, should be doled out evenly--and every time. Here's the link about why kids lie that mom shared; it brilliantly spells out the psychology around most childhood lying and explains the best way to handle the situation in the moment. An excerpt:

When a cop writes me a ticket, he doesn’t follow me home or argue with me. He hands me my ticket and he drives away. Approach the consequences for lying the same way. Don’t argue about it or get into a big discussion. Discuss it in a structured way: “What were you trying to accomplish by doing that?” Not “Why did you lie? You know how much lying hurts me.” Just ask what he was trying to accomplish, then point out that lying is not the way to solve his problem. Compliance is the way to solve it. Talk about it after things have cooled down, not in the heat of the moment. Explain what will happen if he lies again. “If you lie to me about the dance, you're not going to the next dance and I’m taking your phone for twenty four hours.” Just keep it really simple.

Have you dealt with a bout of lying from your kid? We'd all love to know how you handled it.

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