Just the other day after delivering a workshop, a mum walks up to me and says “my child lies to me and I don’t know why he does that”. She seemed worried and frustrated, like all mother would in her situation.
After telling me her story, I realized that her child might be very well not lying– he is just too young to yet distinguish between reality and fiction. When he says; I was playing with Maisy (a cartoon character), he was not lying. He is three years and probably thinks he was really playing with Maisy.
This made me want to list in a post some of the reasons children might opt to “lie” in and how to work with them. Here we go;
· (1) Too Young: when children are young their little brains are unable yet to conceive abstract ideas like time, reality and God. So in most cases you would find them saying or doing things that don’t adhere to these concepts. What to do? Teach them about it, in an age appropriate way and slowly but surely they will grow into it.
· (2) They Need your Attention: If your older child is lying to receive praise or appreciation – then this is probably what they are lacking in their relationship with you. Or maybe they simply have a very high need for appreciation and they are resorting to you, their safe zone to fulfill their needs. What to do? Re-assure your child often that they are important, worthy, and that you accept them no matter what. When they fail in something let them know in words and actions that it is ok and it doesn’t make them less.
· (3) Fearful of you: With ache I write this, but this seems to be the mainstream of kids in our societies today. Kids resort to hiding or lying about their actions or behavior because they fear authority figures in their lives; be it the parent or teacher. What to do? Dialogue with you kids over and over again about why do they feel they need to share the story that way? Where is their fear coming from? – And work on changing it
· (4) Role modeling: Yes this comes up every time; children are deeply influenced by role models in their lives; if you or any other care giver lies, they will probably do the same. What to do? Yes, stop lying. At least in front of your kids!
· (5) Peer Pressure: Another sad reality, children are also in most cases influenced by their peers in day care or in school and definitely in high school. If their friends have a certain habit of lying, your kids are likely to experience it at least once. What to do? Encourage your children to good friendships, guide the type of activities they do & make sure you keep them grounded into your family values and their importance.
Hope this has added some value to you, please let me know what you think and how do you deal with your children at home when they lie? And why do you think they do so?
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Marwa Advocates for freedom, peace, and building compassionate homes.