Many parents struggle when children lie. Lies come in all shapes and forms ~ from fantasy and wishful thinking to a way of getting out of trouble. Recognizing the type of lie your child is telling can help you understand why your child is lying and decide how to deal with it.
- “There is a monkey living under my bed and he likes to eat bananas.” These lies of imagination show that your child is exploring with fantasy, and are very healthy expressions of play. Show interest. Ask questions like “What else does the monkey do under your bed?”
- “At grandma’s house I can stay up as long as I want to”. These are lies of wishful thinking. Recognize their wishes and give reasons for your rules. “It sure would be nice to stay up late, but we have to get up early in the morning”.
- “I didn’t break that toy.” Children often lie to get out of trouble. Ask in a sincere way, “What can you tell me about this broken toy?” If you have encouraged your child to tell the truth in the past and not punished your child, it is likely that the truth will eventually come out.
Remember ~ Calling your child a liar, demanding the truth or delivering immediate punishment is likely to teach your child to just be sneakier the next time around.