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Dealing with lying children

Updated on June 3, 2014
Dealing with children
Dealing with children

How to stop your young child lying:

The majority of young children will tell lies. When I was younger my little cousin, he was six at the time, wrote with a red crayon on the hall wall, as I watched on in horror. This was greeted with a wait till your dad gets home, from his mother. His dad asked my cousin why he had done it and my cousin vehemently denied it or knowing anything about the wall! His dad finally told him he would be grounded and there would be no friends or cousins around all weekend. Finally, my cousin could take it no more and blurted out that Oscar had done it. Now, this is highly unlikely as Oscar was the cat and had not yet mastered the art of holding a crayon! So he lied! Read about positive parenting here.

Why do children lie:

1: They lie to get other children or siblings in trouble

2: They think it is funny

3: To avoid punishment

4: They think this is the way they deal with difficult situations and have seen adults do it

5:They lie to get attention

6: They do not know they are lying. A child of three, for example, may not know that ‘no’ should be a ‘yes’. As they still are mastering language skills.

Most children lie. That is the nature of growing up and experimenting with the truth. It is between the age of three and six that the tallest of stories are told. Most children will grow out of it. For many children they cannot distinguish between fact and fiction and so it is inevitable that stories will be exaggerated as they truly believe they are telling the truth and they are not telling a lie. Young children are still trying to understand the world around them and it is this adjustment that makes many of them combine fiction with non-fiction.

Parents can encourage their child to tell the truth, and not lie, by explaining to them the difference between fact and fiction and that telling lies is no

Dealing with young children that lie:

1: Try to focus on the behaviour of your child, the lie, rather than the child. For example, if they are lying ask them why they are lying as you know this is something they don’t normally do.

2: Foster an environment where your child understands that they can come to you; if your child feels that they will not be punished then they are more likely to tell the truth rather than lie.

3: Be a role model for your child. It is important for you to tell the truth in front of your child and do not tell even small lies. Your ‘little’ lies only serve to reinforce that it is alright to lie to get out of a situation and can encourage lying children.

4: Reward your child for telling the truth. Explain to them that you value the truth rather than the lie. If you know they are lying, tell them what they can do to resolve the situation such as apologising, cleaning the mess up or doing a particular chore in the house.

5: Try not to encourage your child to lie by using direct confrontation. Instead of saying why did you colour all over the wall. It is better to say that you know you should not colour on the wall. You need to wipe the wall and apologise for doing it.

Finally, don’t get frustrated when your child lies. It can be very upsetting especially if your child is lying about something they say another child did. It takes time to change a child’s behaviour, but is well worth the effort. Good luck.


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    • zanin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from London, England

      Thanks for the comment Denise. Yes, I think we have to remember that not all children just lie for the sake of it.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      7 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for pointing out that young children often do not understand the difference between truth and lies. Instead, they will say what they need to not get into trouble because they fear the parent's anger.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very good advice as a brand new parent I wil heed your wise words

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Good advice. When my child lied, I showed him in the Bible where God commands us to be truthful and the rewards of it. Then I explained what integrity and character is and why we must set standards for others to follow. I also helped him understand misbehavior can be dealt with and left behind while the consequences for lieing snowball.

      Thanks for the Hub.


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