Lying represents an important milestone in your child's/teen's thinking as they learn that others have different beliefs and perspectives than their own. Experimenting with lying is a normal part of child development.
To avoid lies, let kids know they'll be in less trouble if they tell the truth. Then follow through on that. You can also give your child a second chance to tell the truth. Walk away for a few minutes and let them answer again.
Kids Lie to Individuate From Their Parents
Sometimes kids use lying as a way to keep part of their lives separate from their parents. In psychology, we call this individuation, and it's quite normal. At times it may even seem that they make up needless lies about things that seem trivial. It can be baffling to parents.
Studies reveal that some toddlers begin lying before they are two and a half years old. And by the age of four, more than 70% of children lie — at least sometimes.
Telling lies or leaving out the truth is a common teen behavior. Kids at this age have a lot more going on in their lives — sometimes good and sometimes bad — that they may want to keep to themselves.
All kids fib from time to time. But when your child tells a whopper, should you punish him, making sure he knows — in no uncertain terms — that lying isn't ever acceptable? No, says psychologist Kristen Eastman, PsyD.
By age 4, children know the difference between telling the truth and lying — and they know it's wrong to lie. So, generally, they're truthful, and when they're not it's obvious.
But in early childhood, lying reflects an important milestone in cognitive development. When children start to lie, it means they understand that other people have different beliefs than they do. It means that they understand that people's beliefs do not directly reflect reality, but vary based on experience.
Eleven-year-olds can be more impulsive, so they may speak before thinking through what they are going to say. Lies might be blurted out without much thought either trying to impress friends and fit in or attempting to cover up mistakes with parents. They can be defensive about their mistakes and more sensitive.
You should not punish or corner your child when they're caught in a lie. This can lead to more serious lies or resentment. Instead, remain calm and explain to them why lying is wrong. You can also provide them with facts.
Give a Warning
Give kids one warning when you are fairly confident you caught them in a lie. 3 For example, calmly say, “I'll give you one more chance to tell me the truth. If I catch you lying, you will receive an extra consequence.”
Curiosity and Testing Limits: Lying can happen when children are beginning to discover different ideas and limits. They may test ideas such as “what will lying get me?” or “what happens if I say this when it's not true?” They can also lie to try to restructure ideas or situations into the way they wish them to be.
Tweens often lie because they want to fit in, or don't feel like they measure up. Honesty at the age of awkwardness will teach your tween to step up. This in turn encourages confidence in their choices and earns respect from others leading to higher self-esteem. Peer pressure abounds during the tween years.
Grounding for a week, or two or three weekends is probably sufficient to get the message across without losing it over time. A month may be too long. As the parent of a teen, a shorter time gives you a lesser chance of caving in and reducing the grounding period later.
Abused or traumatized children may lie to cover up the abuse, lie about their experiences, or fear telling the truth to adults. Anxiety. Children with anxiety-related diagnoses may lie because they are worried about the consequences of telling the truth.
Research has found that when children lie, they reveal subtle signs of their deception in their nonverbal expressive behavior when compared with truth tellers.
Lying is common among children. In fact, a study out of the University of Waterloo observing children in their own homes found that 96 percent of young children lie at some point. Four-year-olds lie, on average, every two hours, and six-year-olds lie, on average, every hour.
There is a type of extreme lying that does indeed appear to have a strong genetic component. Officially known as "pseudologia fantastica," this condition is characterized by a chronic tendency to spin out outrageous lies, even when no clear benefit to the lying is apparent.
Pathological lying is a symptom of various personality disorders, including antisocial, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorders. Other conditions, such as borderline personality disorder, may also lead to frequent lies, but the lies themselves are not considered pathological.
Teach kids the virtue of honesty when they are you, and then live these traits as parents. Address the lie a calm manner when you catch them, and ask them to explain why they lied. Set rules about telling lies and explain when they'll be punished for the out of control behavior.
It is not illegal to lie about your age on an online dating app such as Tinder or eHarmony. However, in misrepresenting your age, you will have violated the Terms of Service of those respective apps. If you're found out, you could face removal from their service or even a lifetime ban.
No matter how common it is to lie, it is still considered impolite and bad behavior. Being lied to can be frustrating and it often breaks the bond of trust between two people, causing problems in the relationship.
Lying can be cognitively depleting, it can increase the risk that people will be punished, it can threaten people's self-worth by preventing them from seeing themselves as “good” people, and it can generally erode trust in society.