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Handling your Child’s lying habit!

Praggatti Rao August 14, 2018

If you expect to have children who are perfect, you will be often disappointed and it will frustrate your kids to no end too.A lots of their behaviors may displease you but the one that takes away their integrity is far more than simple displeasure Lying is a behavior that is not taken very kindly. There will be no adult who does not get upset when they experience episodes of lying .Every parent is overtly anxious around how to handle their kids lying habit.

What is lying?

Lying is of two types:-

  • Children make up stories that are false.
  • Children exaggerate episodes or stories that are true.


While the first one is more about hiding the real facts or miss- tell what happened to escape punishment /scolding or any other difficult outcomes. The second one is a fallout of the fact that the children are yet to learn the difference between fantasy and reality.

Enough scientific evidence is available on how young adults are unable to access the cause and effect relationship (Resource: The Teenage brain https://www.education.com/reference/article/child-world-cause-effect/) of such scenarios.

All said and done lying exaggeration is an integral part of their development and socialization process.

Handling lying in children

Although parents want to instil the virtue of truth and humbleness yet their approach should be moulded around the following important criterion:

  • Age of the child
  • The specific situation; and last but most crucial is ……
  • Established family rules around lying.

HANDLING LYING IN CHILDREN Why kids lie and what to do about it

  • Pre school kids do not find lying bad. That makes lying/twisting /tale telling very common in their age.
  • With this background, punishing the child doesn’t help as he does not understand what’s wrong with it.
  • Parents should rather use the occasions of lying as opportunities to teach them.

2) Especially, while children tell tales; they are fantasizing what they wish was real or true.

  • In these scenario, simply listening to their stories would be wonderful. In cases like ‘I can drive Papa’s car’ kind of stuff, inject some reality by a remake, “you wish to do that’ (don’t you)”.

3)  Children often lie in order to get what they want or to avoid what they do not want. As per them, telling a lie to gain some thing is not bad.

* Parents need to see this in perspective and not over react. It’s a chance to talk around how this habit can cause them their identity, their relationships and social standing. Discussing what can be achieved by telling the truth instead.


*A cost and benefit analysis of telling a lie is the most effective way to curb the bad habit of lying.

4)  Adolescents lie mainly because they lack mature decision making, have an inflated appetite for risk, Are prone to peer influences and most importantly, they do not accurately assess future consequences of their actions.

*A good starting point could be conveying your happiness around their truthfulness. Let them know the equation between their being truthful and the trust it inspires.

*Instead of accusing, getting angry, resentful over child lie, a parent need to make  a statement,” This doesn’t sounds true to me “ and leave it there.

*Never tell the child if he tells you the truth that there will be no punishment.

*Praise ‘only’ Truthfulness….. Any and all behaviours that are appreciated are more likely to repeat.

5)   The culture of any place moves from top to bottom ….This means any episode of lying due to whatsoever reasons are bound to create a ripple.

Above all, modelling truthfulness yourself  and implement a strict ‘no lying ‘policy in home.

6)  Being upfront, being accepting, being balanced about mistakes or a wrong doing is more needed than punishing or accusing.

Making your family a ‘no lying zone’ by adopting being truthful, open or forthcoming. There is no other way to inculcate it as a family culture and it can be addressed meaning fully by parents and by professionals( in severe and prolonged history of lying) .



However, a synergistic effort between the parents and the professionals is the only way forward.

So, In order to punch a powerful one into the devil called ‘lies’, You need to consider the age of the child who lies; the circumstances in which it was done and more than that what place does the value of being open, receptive and truthful occupies in your family culture.!!

Happy Balanced Parenting!

If you have some more ways in which we can raise kids who own their mistakes , please share in comments.






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