Why do Some Children Lie?
Children lie for various reasons:
• Lying is actually typical, age-appropriate behavior for children throughout certain stages of childhood. Louise Bates Ames mentions lying in the book “Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful” (Dell, 1976). Ames states that age three the child starts to lie and by age four to six most children brag, exaggerate and lie more. *Studies suggest that four-year-olds can lie about once every two hours and six-year-olds about every 90 minutes. When children reach school-age, they lie more often and can do so more convincingly. The lies also become more sophisticated, as their vocabulary grows and they better understand how other people think. By eight, children can lie successfully without getting caught out.
• She adds that parents and teachers should not worry or fuss too much about their child’s lying.
• Lying is convenient. Many children will not want to stop their play to do something mundane, like wash hands, so they will lie and say they already did.
• Lying is sometimes used to avoid taking responsibility for a transgression. Nobody wants to get in trouble. A child will sometimes lie to avoid punishment.
• Lying is a form of wishful thinking. Children sometimes create stories that are exaggerations of their own life to make it sound more exciting.
• Lying might be to cover up something.
• Lying could be an exploring and experimenting with the parent or teacher’s reactions.
• Lying could be an exaggerating a story or situation to impress others to gain attention even though you know the truth.
• Lying could be manipulating a situation like “Mommy said I could have a lollipop before supper Nana.”
Next week: “What to do when your child lies?”