According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children and adults lie for similar reasons: for personal gain, to get out of trouble, to impress others, to protect someone (including themselves), to make people feel better ("of course I love you," "you look great in that dress"...), or to soften bad news.. They also note that at a young age, children experiment with the truth and this experimentation continues with increased sophistication and elaboration as their cognitive abilities continue to develop. When a child lies, it doesn't mean they're bad or delinquent - they're learning about social cues, social interactions and limit setting.
How to respond to lies? This in part, depends on the age of your child. It also, often, depends on your culture.
Some parents even ask if they should discipline their child for lying. Most, however, that it depends on the nature and reason for that lie.
Psychologists agree, however, that punishing a young children for lying is ineffective. The better approach is to diplomatically doubt them ("Really? But if you didn't eat the cookie, what are those crumbs on your chin?"). As they get older, your responses can become firmer, letting them know it is not okay to lie and that with lying come unpleasant consequences.
That said, for those who want to discipline or control their child's lying here are some suggestions:
- One way to get kids not to lie is to avoid setting them up to lie.
- Another way is to not get mad at them when they tell the truth.
- Point out and consider "consequences" to your child's without getting angry.
- One final preventative suggestion is to provide them with positive, role models. I realize that is often easier said, than done.
The Psychology of Lying
While we've been lying since recorded time, it has only recently been studied by psychologists. Neitzche asserted that the lie is a condition of life. Freud wrote next to nothing about lying, and
Psychologists are now finding that most of us receive conflicting messages about lying. While we're socialized and told to always tell the truth, in reality (at work, in relationships, in history and in fiction), we see that many are rewarded for their lies, half-truths and deceptions.
Below is an infographic by Full Tilt Poker that examines exactly how we lie — and how we feel about it afterward. It was developed for poker players but is interesting and informative for just about anyone. I have to say, though, that I find their numbers and statistics a bit high. That said, it is food for thought.
|By Dr, Paul Seager at Full Tilt Poker found at http://visual.ly/psychology-lying|
For more on lying, please check out the resources below.
In the meantime, thank you for your visit.
Please leave your own opinions and suggestions in the comments below.
- The truth about lying - http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/stages-milestones/truth-about-lying
- Steps to help a child stop lying - http://discipline.about.com/od/specificbehaviorproblems/a/10-Steps-To-Help-A-Child-Stop-Lying-And-Tell-The-Truth.htm
- Guide to lying for toddlers - http://www.parents.com/kids/development/behavioral/age-by-age-guide-to-lying/
- Guide to lying for school age kids and older - http://www.parents.com/kids/development/behavioral/age-by-age-guide-to-lying/?page=2
- Helping children who have a problem with lying - http://www.effectiveparenting.org/tips3.asp
- Teaching your kids to be honest - http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/parenting-is-contact-sport/201103/teaching-your-kids-be-honest
- Not Me by Nicola Killen (Preschool)
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G Hennessy, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Preschool)
- The Berenstain Bears and the Truth by Stan and Jan Berenstain (ages 3-8)
- My Big Lie by Bill Cosby, illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood (ages 3-8)
- The Honest to Goodness Truth by Patricia McKissack illustrated by Giselle Potter (ages 3-8)
- Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Diane deGroat (ages 3-8)
- Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin (ages 3-8)
- Be Honest and Tell the Truth by Cheri J. Meiners (ages 5-8)
- Babymouse for President graphic novel by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm (ages 3 +)
- Giants Beware graphic novel byRafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre (ages 5+)
- Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big by Berkely Breathed (ages 5+)
- Don't Tell a Whopper on Friday written by Adolph Moser Ed.D., illustrated by David Melton (ages 9+)