Boasting and Lying
Acting is like lying. The art of lying well. I’m paid to tell elaborate lies. Mel Gibson
Never exaggerate your faults, your friends will attend to that. Bob Edwards
Webster’s Dictionary states to speak with exaggeration,excessive pride or brag, esp. about oneself.
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. Unless the child is a born sociopath, exaggerating and lying behavior can be extinguished. First, 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 lied about the work that his parents did to make them look more interesting. He would take stories he heard, like about a doctor who hunted polar bears by plane in Alaska and he told people that he had seen this with his parents. 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 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 wading in about 3 feet of water at the beach as the tide came in; the son was knocked over by a small wave where he said he had seen some tiny fish. Son came running up to 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.
Activity: Is it real or not real?
The child tells a story and the group guesses if it is true and or not real.
Next week: “Why do Some Children Lie?”