Unfortunately this is part of life and i would be surprised if you could find many kids who do not go through this stage. You just need to try and make them understand that it is not the correct thing to do. Maybe reward them for telling the truth, and punish them for lying. The alternative thing that used to scare me when i was growing up was my father used to tell me "Tell the truth or shame the Devil" saying God wouldnt accept me in heaven for shaming the Devil.
Superchef - thx my parents used to say exactly the same thing.
Make sure your child understands why you feel honesty is important, then ask your child what they think is an appropriate punishment. Don't let them give you some meager punishment, but insist on something that they have to sacrifice.
Our daughter came up with giving up going to a friend's birthday party. When the day came, she really felt the full weight of the punishment.
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