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Children Who Lie - Thoughts on What Parents Should Do

Updated on July 13, 2014
Lisa HW profile image

"Lisa" , a "social sciences enthusiast" and Mom of three grown kids, writes from personal experience/exposure and/or past research

Author's Note

The "What I Think I Figured Out" part of this Hub is something I added as a way of making it clear that I'm not someone trained in the area of psychology (child psychology or otherwise). So what makes me think my ideas on this topic are worth sharing/reading? First, let me note that the ideas presented here are only things I think are valid and worth considering, rather than ideas I'm "trying to pass off as scientific fact (particularly with regard to any specific child)". They come from a pretty decent knowledge of the area of child development, being pretty "tuned-in" to human nature, living a long and whole enough life to have had quite a few people in it, as well as personal experiences; and a memory that (if I remember to pay attention to it) helps me recall how it feels to be a child in this world. (I'm actually a little uncomfortable sharing these "credentials" out of fear of coming across as immodest, but I think readers want to know (and deserve to know) what, in view of the fact that I'm not a trained in child psychology, "makes me think I have something to offer". So, for what it's worth or not worth, that's it.

Besides, I have a tremendous faith in the general "OK-ness" of children (and people in general). It bothers me to hear so many adults (parents and even professionals) imply that some children have something "wrong with them" when so often what's wrong isn't with the child, himself, but with his not-yet-mature, child's, response to a world that doesn't understand him quite as well as he needs. In many ways children's emotions are as sturdy as the hardware that lets me put this writing on the Internet. In other ways, they're as easily thrown off as some of the delicate electronics behind all that hardware. In other words, so often, a child's "bad" behavior is nothing more than his response to something he isn't getting from the world around him (even if, to adults, that thing wouldn't seem "all that important").

I'm not expecting readers to just take my ideas as fact. I'm hoping they may consider what's presented here, use it as a foundation for coming up with their own questions, and perhaps look more closely at the world immediately around the child when looking for what's wrong. When it comes to behavior (a child's or an adult's) that would seem to indicate "emotional problems", a good part of the time the cause doesn't come from something "innately wrong" with the child, but instead from something (even some small thing) someone (or a lot of people) around him is doing or not doing.

What I Think I've Figured Out About Kids Who Lie

As far as I've ever seen, most kids lie; and an awful lot of adults lie as well.

Sometimes I think the best way for parents to understand how to deal with their child's lies is to ask themselves, "Did I ever lie as a child?" If the answer is, "yes," then they may better understand why their child lies. If, on the other hand, a parent can honestly say s/he has never lied as a child then it may help to ask what it was his/her parents did that made him such an honest child. It can sometimes seem as if parents come in two varieties - those who lied, remember how they lied, and don't want their children to be as dishonest as they were; and those who lied but just don't seem to remember how often they did.

Depending on the parents and on the child, some children lie more than others. There are, of course, children who have emotional issues and lie beyond the "normal" kind of lying that most kids do. Obviously, if a parent suspects a child is very unhappy or otherwise having emotional problems a counselor should be consulted. I'm not addressing abnormal lies here. The truth (like that word?) is, though, that an awful lot of kids' lying can seem kind of pathological to parents; but sometimes that's just because parents seem to forget all the reasons kids have for lying.

About Me:

Before I go on, if you believe nothing else I say, believe this: On the spectrum of honest adults, I have grown up to be just about at the farthest end of the honesty scale that any adult could be. Honest! I have a good memory, though, and it is based on my own childhood experience with lying that I offer what I think I've figured out. (For the record, I have three recently grown children, each of whom would be considered a generally honest person, but all of whom are still not above leaving out certain facts to spare me worry or spare themselves my "going on and on".)

When my kids were young and would lie I'd say something like, "I don think I can believe what you just told me." (in a "neutral way") Then, unless the matter was particularly critical (which it seldom, if ever, was) I'd let it go. Sometimes the truth would be so obvious there was no letting it go, and that was when I would let the offender know that I had discovered the truth, wasn't pleased to have been lied to, but understood that all children mess up from time to time (and this was one of those times for that, particular, child).

Here's Why I Handled It that Way:

On the one hand, I wanted them to know that there lie didn't fly. Still, I didn't want to keep the "encounter" going because a) I knew it was usually unlikely I'd ever get the truth, which would make me look ineffective and b) I remembered being a kid and telling my share of lies too.

Recalling Why I Lied When I Was A Child:

The same child can lie for different reasons at different times. While this may create the impression that the child is just a long-term, pathological, liar; it may help parents to understand that many of the lies children tell are not lies planned to tell. Some are, of course, but even those lies that are intended to keep a child from getting in trouble with parents are often told out of a sense that there is no other choice. Kids think differently, and they have a way of getting themselves in too deep.

When I was a kid I would sometimes lie to little friends in an almost innocent way. I'd tell some big whopper about having a white horse in the basement because I'd wanted to engage the other kid in my fantasy. There would have been something about saying, "Hey, let's pretend I have a white horse in my basement" that would have taken the magic out of the fantasy. The trouble was the dull little kid I played with didn't get what I was trying to do, asked my parents if there was a horse in the basement, and got my parents to lecture me on why lying is such a horrible thing to do. I was four.

When I got older I'd lie to my parents about something because I didn't want to hear a lecture, worry them, get in trouble, etc. It wasn't so much that I wasn't willing to hear the lecture, and my parents never hit me. It was that I knew if my parents found out something (for example, that at ten I put lipstick on and went to the store with my friend in it) they'd see it as a bigger problem with me than it really was. I saw it as "just something I wanted to try". They saw most things as a problem. They were even parents who would say things like, "I don't understand what makes you do these things."

As a child, though, I knew lying was wrong. I knew how horrible it made me feel. I knew I didn't want to do it. There was always, however, some situation that would arise in which I couldn't help but tell a lie for the reasons I mentioned above. That, of course, got my parents on the thing about my "being a liar", and that set up a whole thing of yet one more of "these things" that I felt I couldn't stop myself from doing. In reality, I was a very kind and decent and otherwise honest person, as well as a good student. It was just that I had that kid instinct to do things like try lipstick or try cigarette smoking (one or twice) or walk a few streets farther away than I was supposed to, and then I was not able to simply tell the truth and let my parents know what a screw-up I was.

They would do the thing, "We're so disappointed in you" and "I'm hurt that you would do that". I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them, and I certainly didn't want them believing I had something inherently wrong with me as a human being.

Children want to be grown up. They want to try things. They sometimes break things. They generally mess up. Once I got a little older and past that stage (between six and, say, twelve/thirteen) I had outgrown that "curiousness" and "adventurousness" that young kids often have. Somewhere in my early teens I vowed to be a solid, honest, person - and I stayed honest ever since then.

As I got older and realized that children are developmentally and emotionally sometimes just too uncertain about themselves to always be honest (and also that very young children lie in an attempt to engage others in a fantasy) I realized the my parents' belief that there was something inherently wrong with my character because I wasn't above lying at 10 years old was wrong. As a kid I knew lying was wrong, didn't want to lie, but felt pushed into as a result of having done something I couldn't resist doing (and that seemed like a good idea at that time) but later needing to deal with being caught.

Part of my childhood lying came from the immense respect I had for my parents. If I hadn't cared what they thought I probably wouldn't have lied. My parents had no idea that every lie I told brought with it terrible guilt and shame, even if nobody ever called me on it. I would feel ashamed that I was unable to control the need to lie in the first place; and no adult ever explained to me, "You messed up because you're a child. Children aren't always sure enough of themselves to just be honest about things." Instead, my parents would add to the guilt and shame, making me feel as if I was about the lowest of the lows or the biggest criminal in the world. (What makes it worse is they were generally really good, loving, parents. All they wanted was to raise a kid with integrity.)

So, when I had children of my own, and when they'd tell the occasional and obvious lie, I'd simply let them know I didn't feel I could believe what they were saying and move on. I assumed that they (also generally very well behaved, decent, children) felt as rotten about lying and their inability to make themselves tell the truth as I used to; and I chose to let them deal with their guilt and disgust with themselves without my adding to it. I always believed it was more important that I showed them that I understood that kids messed up and that I understood it was a part of being a child (and not that they had something wrong with their character). I wanted them to know that I knew that even people of good character mess up when they're children.

When kids do something they're ashamed of they don't want to share that shame with anyone, so they lie. They compound the original shame with the shame of lying and feel really horrible and overwhelmed by all the shame. I think when decent kids mess up and then lie about it (or else try to engage someone in a fantasy by telling a whopper) they need adults to help them realize that although what they did wasn't right, and although lying is always wrong, they messed up because they're kids and shouldn't feel ashamed the occasional mess-up. I'm not talking about a child who has serious emotional problems and is a pathological liar. I'm talking about the child who messes up a few times a week and doesn't handle the situation the way a self-assured adult would (by being honest).

As for my own children, they grew up to be people of very good character and grew up knowing that they could count on their mother to understand their mess-ups and give them guidance about cleaning up any of those messes.

When Parents Focus on the Lie, Rather than on the Original Misdeed (and talk about how lying is worse than the original deed or else keep insisting on a truth that doesn't seem to be coming):

Looking back on my own reasons to lie, I remember actually just kind of having some kind of "short-circuiting" going on that wouldn't let the truth come out. In my head I'd know my parents really wanted the truth. I really did want to go with it, but the words wouldn't come out.

It was as if once the lie had been told (and then found out or suspected) everything just got overwhelming and too complicated to handle - so I'd freeze up. (Of course, in those days there was the church telling people about how every lie was black mark on their soul. All I could picture was how horrible my soul must have looked - and that didn't help.

I just remember how the lie would then become the issue, and, of course, the shame of lying was worse than the shame of having gone to some street I shouldn't have walked to.

Is It Better to Focus on the Consequences of Lying, Rather than on the Shame of Being Dishonest?

I wonder if emphasizing to kids the horrible way a lie turns a simple mess-up into a big, complicated, thing rather than emphasizing the shamefulness of being dishonest, would help kids stop lying more effectively. I wonder, too, if parents didn't allow the lie to become the issue and instead allowed it to remain a secondary one, whether that would help. For a child, "forgetting" a rule or breaking a vase doesn't feel as shameful as lying, which they've learned is a sign of bad character.

I remember that even the original lie didn't seem like a soul-blackener until my parents started talking about it. If you think of it, parents send that message that the lie is the worst thing; so they raise the emotional stakes for the kid who would have liked to been able to tell the truth shortly after the original (and even automatic) lie.

It isn't always a simple thing to know how to handle.

One Final Thought:

Sometimes parent don't think twice about lying in front of, or to, their children. Children get the idea that lying is the way people operate. This is yet one more cause of lying in children. Sometimes it's even a parent's hating his own lying that makes it all that much more crucial to him that his child doesn't lie.

The truth (there's that word again) is that one of the best ways to raise honest children is to be honest parents. Letting children live with examples of how honest adults operate, and helping them to understand that with maturity comes the self-confidence to tell the truth, is generally a sound approach.


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    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      shogan, thank you for your kind words. So often, it's the comments in a Hub that bring far more to any readers than the Hub, itself. :)

    • shogan profile image


      8 years ago from New England

      Lisa, I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed the comments section as much as the hub itself. You're so thorough in your responses to people. It's clear that you really take the time to digest what is said and provide meaningful feedback. Thanks for a great read overall.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      idh, It turns out that Hub I had planned to finish isn't one I'll be able to finish after all (at least not in the near future). As I explained above, I had started it a long time ago. Today, as I went back and thought I'd get "to the heart of the matter" more, I realized that some of those people I had some experience with had something very sad about their personalities, and it's just too difficult for me to really write anything on the Internet about them (even if were to leave their names out). Actually, I suppose, it's just too difficult to really come to terms with what I believe is the sadness in some of these people's hearts.

      Just Some Random Thoughts on Frequent/Compulsive Lying:

      Some compulsive/pathological liars are, of course, narcissists who use lying to get what they want, and just use it as a way of life. I think those who are far from being narcissistic, who aren't kids who lie "because they're kids", but who are adults who frequently lie often have a vision of how they wish the world saw them; so they lie (maybe as a way of "making real", rather than keeping confined to their imagination) what they wish really happened. Some, too, seem to have immature need for embellishing on things they say as "dull" without adding some "excitement" by embellishing. Sometimes people get away with a few lies, see how "good it felt", and keep it up. Some grow up, or else are surrounded by, people for whom lying "is just how things are done".

      The differences between compulsive (or apparently compulsive) and pathological lying aren't always made clear from one source to another.

      Frequent lying isn't necessarily "compulsive" lying. The kid who lies frequently because he isn't brave enough to just tell the truth isn't necessarily someone with a mental disorder. He's often just a kid.

      The kind of lies that seem to indicate a mental disorder are more the kind of lies that people tell for no apparent, "good", reason.

      One of these days I'll probably finish that forgotten Hub (and I apologize for having forgotten it at all). Just not in the near future, I guess.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      idh, thank you for your kind words; and your reminder of the above comment I made has served to point out that I've apparently been an unintentional liar, myself, when it comes to that article I had planned to write.

      When I saw your comment I tried to remember whether I wrote that, or just started to write it; but I remembered that it was a time ago I was thinking about putting it together. I couldn't imagine just forgetting to write the particular thing I had in mind, but when I checked the date-range of when I was planning to complete that Hub, I figured out how I could have forgotten.

      Last year, right after Christmas, I injured a leg really seriously (in an incident involving taking down Christmas decorations). The thing continues to heal to this day, but in those first months after I did it I just kind of abandoned most things in life that could at all reasonably be abandoned. When I gradually began "re-joining life", I didn't particularly pick up where I left off (I guess, mostly because life has, in many ways, been "all about the leg" right up until around August.)

      It turns out I actually had started the Hub, so I'll either finish it; or at least come back here and try to come up with something a little more useful than the leg story I just post (which is, shall I add, "painfully true" - although I'm pretty much back to fine at this point. :) )

      Apologies, though - and thank you for reminding me of this. (I don't usually put it in "public writing" that I'm going to do something, and then just leave it hanging out there, as I've done here.)

      (I'm tempted to say, "I know this is a 'lame' excuse, but that would be a "lame" joke, wouldn't it... )

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thank you for this. this is just what i was looking for. BTW, did you ever write and post the companion piece on compulsive lying, "Compulsive Lying in Children (What I Think I've Figured Out)"? I searched for it and was brought back to this piece.

      I have a 14 year old son who is otherwise a wonderful kind boy but will lie often in order to save face about homework, grades, social opportunities etc, etc.. It is obvious that lectures and punishment don't work. lots of really good observations here.

    • TPSicotte profile image


      9 years ago from The Great White North

      To me lying is a form of control. The less choices people have in life or the more out of control they feel the more they seem to need to lie. Sometimes it's situational and depends on who they are talking to. It's a pretty bad habit though because people often don't tell someone when they think they are lying. They just start to think that person is a liar, even if they tell the truth 95% of the time. Sometimes even one big lie is enough to get the liar label. Then when something out of the ordinary really happens, people will doubt the person because of their reputation. The boy who cried wolf syndrome.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts


      No, I did not say it's only children who lie. Also, I did not say that absolutely all children lie (although - yes - most do at one time or another). Oh yes, adults do lie. There are adults who are just about the most honest people "in the world", but even they, at times, will feel the need to tell a lie here or there. When honest adults lie, though, it's usually so they won't hurt someone's feelings. In the most honest adults, telling lies is something they only do very rarely.

      Most adults don't believe their children are perfect and will never lie. I know I know better than that.

      I wasn't "making out that children are worse than adults" because my point was that when children lie it's often because they're children and not able to deal with situations in better ways than lying. When adults lie they're more often just being dishonest because they're dishonest people (except for those who adults I just mentioned who tell a rare lie so they don't hurt someone's feelings or share someone else's personal business - that type of thing).

      The real point to what I said in the Hub is that when children lie it's usually not because they're "evil" people and are going to grow up to be "evil" and dishonest people who lie all the time. It's usually because they're immature and dealing with adults and can't make themselves feel brave enough to just be honest about things they did or their feelings about one thing or another. (There are children, and adults too, who are what would be called "pathological liars" or "sociopaths" - but that's people with mental problems, and it's not the case when most children lie).

      There are lots of things that are part of a young person's developmental maturity and that they do because of that. When kids mess up (whether it's with lying or something), much of the time it's just because of being young; and it doesn't necessarily mean they have a "fault" in their nature at all.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Y do u jus say children who lie? i no tht u all think tht yous r perfect bt yous dont always tell the truth. Every1 has a falt n i dont agree way u all makin out tht children r worse thn adults. we dont all lie n niether do u!!!

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Pippa II, thanks. I think a whole lot of kids (most, most likely, although a few will say otherwise) have quite the history of lying throughout their childhoods and teen years. Like you, I discovered I just didn't like being someone had reason to tell the occasional lie, usually out of not wanting to disappoint my parents, worry them, or otherwise "hear about it".

      I think in so many instances, parents worry far more about the lies kids tell than they need to; because much of the time it's all a matter of a kid maturing and becoming confident enough not to lie. When kids are generally normal, decent, kids I think their own conscience, preference to feel good about themselves, and some natural consequences tend to make a whole lot of kids just decide to always tell the truth.

      I've known people who say they never felt the need to lie as kids, but they're people who had parents who had a "my-kid-can't-do-any-wrong" attitude. I'm not sure that's great either. Some parents are always on the look-out for possible signs of wrong-doing or "going wrong" - and that's the kind that tends to make kids feel they need to lie every so often. :)

    • Pippa II profile image

      Pippa Packer 

      9 years ago

      Great article. I went through a phase when we were having family trouble, I was a teenager and just couldn't handle it all. So I started to lie about everything. I went from being one of the most honest kids to someone who lied about everything. I never confronted an issue if a lie would get me out of it. However, I finally realised I was wrong and started to tell the truth. The sad thing (for me) was that I had destroyed everyone's trust in me so I had to start from scratch with everyone. Took me a long time to build up trust. Now I always tell the truth because I never want to have to go through that again!

    • lifewellspoken profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver BC

      I know I will learn alot by you, if I follow you.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Joesph, I always think of how, if we look around and see all the adults in this world who are insecure and don't do what is right because of their being insecure; it isn't hard to imagine how much more uncertain and insecure children can be about what thing or another. They can seem up-and-coming and confident and happy, but I think most of them feel pretty judged by a whole lot of adults in their lives. Then, if you throw in that normal wish so many kids have not to disappoint the parents they know love them so much, I think it does make some lying in children a little less "horrible".

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this story with us. It may have given some comfort to know that most kids lie either hiding a shamful act to sustain a good image of themselves in front of their parents or out of boosting up their ego due to lack of confidence.

      How to deal with it: I agree that one way is to make them know that we know their lying and make them feel guity about it and bad to quit and it may happen gradually. This is what I am trying to do. Regards.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Navyman05, thanks. I'll check them out when I get the chance. :)

    • Navyman05 profile image


      9 years ago

      I really liked this hub, I write my hubs about the same stuff except that mine are more in depth with what the parent go's about doing to correct the problem. I have not done one on child dishonesty yet but I do believe that you are right about emotions of the child playing a roll. I remember when I was a teenager I would lie to my parents every time they made me mad just to get back at them. Like you said I also lied when I didn't want to hear the lecture or worry them. Great post I would like it if you would read some of mine and see what you think of them.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      cbris52, thank you. (LOL - on that first comment, it didn't surprise me to think any number of people are going to run into my stuff and find it's not what they're looking for; but I kind of suspect this individual wasn't one who could read the lines and see the point I was hoping to make. (It's a good thing everyone who runs into something they don't want/like doesn't comment. LOL )

    • cbris52 profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm sorry but I can't quit laughing at the first comment on this hub! I really like how you handled this and how you responded to "butterrican"... dern you "GOGGLE" haha... anyways I really enjoyed your hub and I'm following you now.. Keep up the great work!

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Correction to above comment: Oops - sorry. It turned out life got in the way of finishing the "compulsive lying" Hub. I'll post it soon if anyone is at all interested.

    • FirstStepsFitness profile image


      9 years ago

      Hmmmmmmm what about the "compulsive " Lies ?

    • mistywild profile image


      10 years ago from Houston, TX (Proud Texan)

      great hub!! thanks for sharing.

    • dr c profile image

      dr c 

      10 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area


      I liked your hub and your honesty. You obviously spent sometime and put some thought into the hub.

    • Jewels profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      People generally don't want the truth and would rather be pandered by hearing nice things which is often not the truth, never the crappy stuff which is the truth. We all have dark bits here and there, it's what makes us more interesting!

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      Jewels, I can see the humor in it. :) Some people do seem to ask for lies, don't they? That's why I think it's better for parents not to say, "The lie is worse than whatever you did." Most of the time, if we're honest, the lie isn't as bad as whatever the kid did. Kids spare their parents a lot of upset by lying sometimes. :) I may be trying to be kind of humorous/silly here; but it's kind of true, too.

      In all seriousness, too; and even when a kid hasn't done anything wrong, sometimes parents expect kids to "tell them absolutely everything" when kids, like all humans, need some degree of feeling they have a little shred of "personal business" that they aren't expected to share. When my kids were little they didn't do a whole lot lying - only the occasional incident.

      I'll be honest, though. Since they've been college age, I know that's when a lot of not mentioning things, spinning, stretching the truth, and the occasional out-and-out lie has gone on. At work, at school, with friends, with relatives - they're honest people. It's just that I do know a lot of the less-than-truths that have come my way in recent years have been "for my own good". :) In my case, I'm a giant worrier and, again I'll be honest, I can be judgmental (or so I've been told). :)

      My theory is that, since bones and brains don't finish maturing until a person is 25; and since I've learned, with my older son, that I back off in the ridiculous worrying once they get closer to 25; the time between 18 (when kids think parents should completely mind their own business) and 23/25 (when I, personally, naturally begin to mind my business more and more) is a time of turmoil and mistakes for all involved.

      If I step outside myself and be objective, I can see that I am right to worry; and right to be "judgmental" in some circumstances; and I wouldn't be a normal, caring, parent if I didn't do what I do. Still, I can also see that I'm "too much" a lot of the times, and I do, because of all that "caring" and worrying, invite the occasional half-truth, spin, or lie. I'm right to be me. They're right to expect what they expect. In their eyes I can be too much, and in my eyes they can be "unaware". Lots of times it's an "everybody's right" situation; but it does amount to my essentially making them feel the need to be less than honest with me.

      I was pretty good at not inviting lies when they were little; but for that relatively short (but tumultuous) period between about 22 and 25, I know I invite the occasional lies. The funny thing is that it is an open secret and joke among all of us. I guess I find some reassurance in the knowledge that my early-20's kids are honest about lying to me once in a while. :)

    • Jewels profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      I think you were more than forthcoming with alternative information for butterrican.  Nevermind, you can't please everyone.  Which is why kids lie in the first place.

      Funny, I was talking to a friend last night.  I've been doing transformation work for many years and help others doing similar.  This friend was being confronted by my frankness and says "Do you always tell the truth."  LOL, you can see the humor in this considering your hub.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      Jewels, thanks. I'm smiling at what you managed to say in a relatively brief post. (And after that last comment, above yours and my most recent one, I was a little nervous to come back anyway; so it was nice to see one that made me smile.)

      There's also the "seemed like a good idea at the time" thing kids do, but then have to lie about it; because there is NO WAY they could possible tell their parents they've done such a "horrible" thing: When I was in elementary school (like 8/9) my girlfriends and I would playing outside. Someone would get the idea that it would be fun to head on down to the Public libary and yell into the mail slot on the grown-up's floor. The thought of yelling in a silent place just struck as extremely funny; and it was one of our greatest forms of occasional entertainment. As you said, how on Earth could I have told the truth about that one to my parents? As an adult, I still look back and think it was funny. My parents did not have the same "sense of humor" when it came to that kind of stuff.

      So, two yells into the mail slot at the library was "big fun" and "mischief" for otherwise really good kids. Throw in the necessary lies to cover it up, and we were feeling like we were the lowest of criminals once the fun was over. We learned how bad it feels to lie, and we eventually grew older and figured out how stupid the libary "trips" were. Voila - fine, upstanding, adult without the need for my parents' worrying or professional help. :)

      Of course, I won't tell the story about the dark, grouchy, looking newspaper office; and our wish to "enlighten" these somber looking people (who "needed to take life less seriously" in our view) by walking back and forth in front of their window, making faces. :) Hey - we were on a social work mission. :)

      After writing this useless comment, someone will most likely be very unhappy if they search for "children and lying" and Google "sends them this". :)

    • Jewels profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      I think I learned very early that in order to get a semblance of what I wanted I had to create lies. I wanted things, I was told NO far too many times for one reason or another and often a NO has a negative tone coming from a grown up. A child is an embryo on legs, it knows affection and getting stuff. And if it doesn't get stuff it will find a way to get it. That was my experience. I wasn't going to admit to doing anything wrong, geez I'd get in trouble.

    • Lisa HW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa HW 

      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      Google "sends people" to where search ends send them.  There is usually several pages that list site after site that deal with the topic searched for.  Which site has the kind of information you are looking for is not something Google "knows".  Which words are used during a search can make a difference.

      We all search, and we all click until we find the material that is the kind we are looking for. 

      I'm sorry that you didn't find what you are looking for here, and hope you find it.  Whether or not the Hub should have been among sites offered by Googles really amounts to whether or not the subject is "children lying".  It is.  It may not be what you, personally, wanted; but it discusses children lying.

      There is "pathological lying" that is a sign of concern in children; but there is also "plain, old, lying" that most kids do at one time or another.  The reason I wrote this Hub was to simply present thoughts about children lying in a way that may help some parents realize what can be on the mind of children when they do lie.  The point wasn't "my story".  The point was that I recall what I was thinking as a child when I did tell some foolish lie.  Because so many parents seem to forget that they lied as kids, or because some may never have felt the need to lie; I thought that sharing what I do know, based on personal experience, about lying may be of some sort of help to some people. 

      My aim was not to offer a list of psychiatrists or counselors for parents of children who lie.  Other sites do that.

      My aim was not to tell parents how to deal with their own children's lying.  Other sites do that.

      I offered what I know, based on personal experience, having raised children, having studied child development, and having a good memory.  I didn't pretend it was anything else.

      Google tells people who are "publishers" that they look for "unique" material.  They try to offer a broad range of material on any subject, rather than offering the same type of material on any one subject.  After all, while this Hub may not have been what you wanted; it may actually have offered some other parent (who may think lying means "headed for a life of dishonesty") a different perspective.

      If your child is a pathological liar (which can only really be diagnosed by a professional) then obviously this Hub has nothing to offer you.  If your child is just lying the way so many other kids do, maybe understand the "run of the mill, kid variety of lying" a little better would actually be more useful than you realize.

      The first step in dealing with any problem is always in understanding it.  Again, the point of this Hub was not "my story".  It was intended to have someone see the "story", see what I had learned/realized as a result of it, and maybe understand their own normal child's occasional (or sometimes frequent) lies.

      Maybe you should try searching something like: "Diagnosing pathological lying in children" or "resources dealing with children who lie" or "when to be worried about a child's lying" (or some other combination of words other than whatever words you used).

      Again, I'm sorry that the Hub was not what you are looking; and if you simply missed the point of the way I approached it, sorry about that too.  Googles has millions and millions of sites, and I'm sure their "Googlebots" have no way to always know exactly what one individual is looking for.  With all due respect, it is a little unreasonable of you to expect not to get the occasional site that isn't what you wanted. 

      By the way, did you click on any of the links to professional information, offered below?

    • profile image


      10 years ago



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