My 7-year old nephew was playing with my 2-year old son yesterday. As they were playing quietly, my sister-in-law and I left the room to do something in the kitchen. After a few minutes, there was a loud noise and my son started crying. When we rushed there, my son was on the ground, the toy he was playing with was in my nephew’s hand, and there was a very guilty look on his face.
But when we asked, he said, “I didn’t push him down. He fell down himself.” However much we questioned, we couldn’t get out the truth from him. After a while, we just left it.
I don’t think the fact that my nephew pushed my son down hurt as much as finding that he lied to his mother. I watched my sister-in-law closely. She had a guilty look on her face, as if all this was all a result of her upbringing.
However, children psychology works in different ways than ours. Children lie to get out of trouble and also because they start learning the rules of the society that promote white lies.
So when you discover your child uttering little lies, it might be alarming, but with a little guidance, they can kick the habit.
But before your child overcomes this habit, these are the few lies he will be telling you.
“I didn’t do it”
This is the most common lie children (and even adults) say. This usually happens when they have done something wrong and do not want to own up the responsibility.
In such cases, you can sit with the child and tell him that you are upset with what he has done, but you are not going to punish him or scream at him (the main reason why children lie). This might give him some confidence to open up.
“My tummy aches. I won’t go to school”
While children love going to school, generally, once in a while, they get into this mood (doesn’t everyone?!) If it is rare enough, just let them be at home. But do not give them access to entertainment they would get otherwise. That means no playing outside, no phone, no TV, because they are “ill”. Trust me, they will be raring to go back to school the next day!
“I finished my lunch today”
Indian moms have this habit of connecting love to food. The amount of food you eat is directly proportional to the amount you love your mother! I have even seen mothers opening their children’s lunch boxes at the school itself to check whether it is empty.
While worrying about your child’s nutrition is correct, obsessing about it gives your child a wrong impression. So, to make you happy, they lie that they have finished all the stuff in their lunch box. Give them a little leeway. They will revert to the truth once they see that you don’t get upset by their food habits.
“I won’t do that again”
When your little one starts understanding that a simple “sorry” won’t cut it, this line follows. They may even actually mean it at that instant. But there’s no saying whether they will repeat the thing or not.
It is better, once you both are in a mellower mood, to sit and explain the consequences of his actions. The change won’t happen in a day but by talking continuously, your child will stop lying.
“I’m thirsty/I need to use the toilet”
Whenever you have taken out time to help your child with homework or give him a talking-to, you will find that they are either suddenly very thirsty or their bladder reaches bursting point every 2 minutes. These won’t come when you are having a fun time with your child. Feeling thirsty or wanting to pee are their ways to get out of things they do not enjoy doing.
So here’s what you do. You stick around till the work is completed, however late it may be. If they are tired, explain that their frequent breaks lead to this. They will understand that you are not to be played around with and responsibilities are not to be avoided.
The lying stage comes in every child’s life and continues well into teenager-hood. However, being aware of it will help you tackle the problem better.
Do your children lie to you? How do you deal with it? Tell us more about it!