Boasting-When boasting ends, dignity begins. Owen D. Young
Lying-Acting is like lying. The art of lying well. Mel Gibson
There is a difference between a lie and exaggeration and can be subtle. A lot of children will present both behaviors, but over time it will begin to become evident whether they are chronic liars or just chronic exaggerators. Both behaviors should be discouraged because the consequences of exaggeration can sometimes be as bad as a lie. Also, it is easy for an exaggerator to slip into lying. Watch for a pattern in the child’s lying. Do they usually lie about the same things or in the same situation? Do they lie to their friends and teachers? How widespread is it? What is the goal of their lies? Many will lie to make them look better. They may lie to make it look like their parents are richer or smarter. A child lies about the work that his parents did to make them look more interesting. You see exaggerating talks about themselves. This kind of behavior is less likely in younger children but often lying is used to cover up a poor self-image. Lying is also used by a lot of children to cover up something they did that they don’t want you to know about. Stealing and lying go together very well. Some will lie about what a sibling did to get that sibling in trouble. A teacher has to assess how serious a lying problem is and even whether it is a lying or exaggerating problem.
All children live in a world where they see some things as reality and others in a more shady light, we call “fantasy.” Children have to exaggerate about things, not because they are born liars, but more so that people will take notice. For example, son and his father were at the beach in about 3 feet of water as the tide came in; the son was knocked over by a small wave, where he said he had seen some tiny fish. Then the son came running up to his dad telling him that he had drowned and seen a great big whale. It’s a bit like, there’s a monster in my room and it only comes out when the light goes out. These harmless stories come from big imaginations in our little people, and they are often so convinced that it becomes real to the child. The older the child gets the harder it will be to stop the fantasies becoming a lie.
The next part will try to find out “Why do Some Children Lie?”