All children tend to lie at some point in their life. They can start lying from as early as 3 years
of age. But you can easily catch their lies from their expressions or manner of speaking. As
they grow older, they begin to lie with more conviction without getting caught.
Let’s understand why children tell lies:
Avoid rebuke or punishment.
Protect their privacy.
Get attention and reaction.
Cover a wrong deed.
Take advantage of parents or someone else.
Naturally, you worry as parents when you realize that your children are lying. You are scared
that lying may become their habit. Well, fret not. Here are some ways to deal with your
1. Understand the Reason for Lying
Find out why your child felt the need to lie and act accordingly. For example, if your child
has hit a friend but is afraid that you might give them a physical punishment, they will refuse
doing it. In such a case, it is important to assure the child that you will not punish them but
they have to accept their mistake and apologise to their friend.
2. Encourage Them to Tell Truth
Teach your child to tell truth from a young age. You can read them books or let them watch
cartoons where the moral of the story talks about honesty and the ill effects of lying. Ask
them how they would feel if someone lied to them.
3. Save Confrontation for Face-to-Face Interaction
Children often tell lies when they fear that you will scold them in front of family, friends or
someone else. Remember that even children have a sense of self-respect and don’t want to
feel ashamed. So, whenever you want to confront your child about a lie, do it between the
two of you or with the other parent.
4. Be a Role Model
You can’t expect your child to tell the truth if they see you lying all the time. Be a role model
for your children and show that how to own up to a mistake without telling a lie and behave
5. Praise Your Child for Telling the Truth
Whenever your child owns up for doing something wrong, do not forget to praise them for
telling the truth. Let them know that while they were at fault for committing a mistake, you
are still happy that they decided not to lie.
What About White Lies?
White lies are lies told to prevent someone from getting their feelings hurt or disappointed
by your action. For example, “I loved the gift” even though you didn’t like it.
Children need to understand white lies as well. At times, they might need to tell white lies to
someone for being polite or save them from some situation. For example, the child may
need to tell “I don’t eat chocolates” if a stranger approaches them.
Lying is a basic human nature and a behavioural problem. Usually, you can deal with it with
patience and affection. However, if it becomes a severe problem, you might need to take
your child to a counsellor or psychologist.