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Difficult problems: lying in children

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Lying from the dangerous behaviors that affect the image of people in front of themselves and their relationships with others, which destroys confidence, which is one of the main pillars of the building of any relationship. No parents like to see their son as a liar, but are all lies a problem? When is lying a problem? When is it normal? What causes children to lie? How do parents deal with this problem, and when do they resort to punishment?

Lying children in different ages

  • A child from the age of two to three may deny that he did anything or lie to get something, he does not realize yet that lying is wrong, so do not punish him, avoid facing him or accusing him, not to insist on lying.
  • Children from 3 to 5 years old live in a world of fantasy – imaginary friends, monsters, etc. – and they talk about it as true, reflecting the importance of this fantasy world for them. There is no problem, as long as this fantasy does not affect the real child’s relationships.
  • A child from the age of five to eight years may lie to benefit others, save them from punishment or avoid the hurt of their feelings, which indicates the development of social sensitivity, as well as lying sometimes for fear of punishment or harassment of adults.
  • A child of nine years of age can distinguish between truth and lies. He may not tell his parents some things, and this is normal and evidence that he is beginning to mature and develop independence. Sometimes he may lie about chores, homework, etc.

What are the manifestations of coercive lying? When will lying be a problem?

Lying in the way we described above is not a problem but rather a bad behavior that parents can modify. When is lying become coercive and requires expert consultation? That would be when:

  1. When he lies all the time in almost everything, however trivial, making up stories, exaggerating, distorting or concealing the truth.
  2. There may be no obvious reason behind his lie, lying because he used to do so not to deceive others or to escape punishment.
  3. He does not seem to feel tense or uncomfortable when lying.
  4. Lying to draw attention, his self-confidence is low.
  5. Does not realize that he is lying and may deny this behavior.
  6. He can’t maintain the consistency of the imaginary stories that he creates because of their big number!

Why do children lie?

  1. May be indicative of a more serious problem such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Behavior Disorder, and other behavioral problems such as theft, cheating, aggression, violent tantrums, school flight, loss of property, and poor of social skills, problems with powerful people, and rush.
  2. Fear of punishment or of adult’s reaction.
  3. Getting used to lying has become an automatic reaction, and when the child gets confronted, he insists that he tells the truth.
  4. Imitating others both inside and outside the home is an old example: “What the Father does moderately … children do too much.”
  5. Misappropriation, the child expects his mom to say no, while she may ask some questions and then agree to his request.

How to deal with your child’s lies?

When the child lies, his father loses confidence in him, which leads him to lack of trust and thus in a vicious circle. To stop this circle, it is necessary to find the reason for the child to lie, and then how to change this behavior.

Make punishment the last choice, as leniency achieves what violence doesn’t. The problem is that punishment does not teach or reinforce alternative behavior.

Here are some important guidelines:

  1. In cases where lying is an indication of a more serious problem, as noted above or when you find a manifestation of coercive lying, immediate intervention by a specialist counselor should provide parents with a deeper understanding of the problem and guidance to deal with the child.
  2. Look for the main reason that causes the child to lie.
  3. Give the child room to express himself without fear of punishment, and follow the method of discussion and talking.
  4. As parents, we must be role models and always emphasize the need to say the truth.
  5. When turning into punishment, it can be mitigated when the child admits the truth, and he must understand his fault and learn it with love, otherwise the punishment is useless, and may even lead to aggression and excessive lying.
  6. Don’t be hard on your son, but show him that you’re upset, and talk to him about how dangerous lying is in his life and how it could ruins his relationships.

Finally, remember that honesty and truth are not just behaviors, and we want our children to love honesty and hate lying, not punishment.

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