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why kids lie

10 Parents Get to the Root of Lies and Convey Honesty with Simple Tips

When I was a kid, I remembered my parents making a big deal about telling the truth. In fact, my dad used to punish us if we were caught lying. It always turned out worse than just coming out with what we’d done wrong in the first place.

why kids lie

The Shocking Revelation That Your Kids Could Ever Lie

Now that I’m a mom of a very sweet, but sometimes rambunctious 6 year old, I’ve found him starting to tell fibs (we call it fibs, because lying sounds much more negative for my husband and I). For example, all the veggies I packed for his lunch was completely gone before the cookies in a bag. I thought it was a little strange, but it also made me a little happy that he actually had quite a healthy meal.

“Wow Honey! I’m so happy you finished all your veggies!” I said as I hugged him in delight.

He smiled and said, “it was all yummy, Mommy.”

parents talk about honesty

The next day, one of his friends came over for a play date and as I was preparing their snacks, I asked her if she wanted snap peas. I mentioned how much Oliver (my son) loved it and how proud I was that he finished all of it the day before. She didn’t hesitate to tell me that Oliver actually put it all in the trash just so he could eat some of his cookies and the “good stuff.”

Not only was I disappointed, but I was also very sad to think my son couldn’t trust me enough to tell me the truth. I thought about this situation for days then came across a few helpful tips from experts and moms with great insights on what is happening and what could be done to help encourage kids not to lie.

10 Expert Advice From Parents Who Understands Why Kids Lie and What to Do About It

Amy McCready author of Positive Parenting Solutions

Amy McCready author and parenting expertAmy McCready, mother of two young men, parenting expert and author of Positive Parenting Solutions suggests an alternative to punishment after lying. Fears of punishment when kids have done something wrong might actually get them to continue to lie. In Amy’s recent article on Seven Steps to Encourage Honesty in our Kids and Put an End to Lying she states, “when we punish kids for lying, they’ll keep doing it in the hopes of avoiding any future punishment.”

Leah Martin author of My Little Robins

Leah Martin Charlotte Mason teacherA stay-at-home mom and teacher trained in the Charlotte Mason philosophy, Leah Martin writes about how to lead by example, especially when it comes to lying. How can our children possibly take us seriously when we lie right in front of them? Joke or not, white lies or big ones, a lie is a lie.

In Leah’s post titled, Teaching Kids that Lying is Wrong (in a World That’s Full of It), she provides tips about how to raise honest, truthful children, while they also learn to grow with kindness and gentleness in their hearts.

Corinne Roth author of Living & Life Designed

corinne roth bloggerCorinne Roth, mom of three children provides insight on why kids typically lie and the importance of creating a home environment where honesty and truthfulness is not just an option, but a more positive way of life. In her post, Why Is My Child Lying? 8 Different Types of Lies Kids Tell, she also shares information by PsychCentral “that children’s moral codes are developed over time and from learning right and wrong.”

quote about truth by Mark Twain

Ron Brooks author of PastorRonBrooks

ron brooks author profilePeople often tell lies and then become too embarrassed or ashamed to admit those lies by telling more lies. Ron Brooks a dad, husband and #1 best-selling Amazon author shares an activity involving a quarter and pennies to help people understand the effects of a lie covered up by more lies. Overall, the overall effects can turn out a lot worse than if truth was told in the first place.

Dollie Freeman author of Joy in the Home

joy in the home dollie freemanAccording to Dollie Freeman, mom to four children, truth is good and lying is bad. It’s that simple. After she realized her fourth child was starting to pick up on the behaviors of lying, it was time to take a stance. Her technique was simple and can easily be remembered through the VOWELS of dealing with lying.

Jenny Peterson author of Good Things Realized

jenny peterson good things realizedAll kids are different just as moms are all created different. For some moms, consequences may not make sense, but in Jenny Peterson’s house, there are consequences for bad behavior, including lying. Of course consequences do have to be logical and based on what each parent thinks their child is capable of understanding.

Sue Lively author of One Time Through

Sue Lively One Time ThroughLying can start as early as preschool. Just a few years back, Sue Lively shared her findings about preschool lies and why it happens that early in a child’s life. Kids, especially small children love it when they’ve made their parents happy. So when they’ve done something naughty, they are already aware of how angry mommy or daddy could get. Hence, the lies.

Let’s face it, small children aren’t the only ones who lie because they’re afraid to disappoint someone. However, the value of honesty is much easier to instill in small children, because they are still at the very early stages of development and willingness to listen and learn.

In Sue’s published post titled, 5 Reasons Preschoolers Lie & How to Teach Them About Honesty, she provides helpful examples of how to deal with preschool lies and get them to trust you enough to talk to you, next time a situation where lying might occur.

honesty

Natasha Daniels author of Anxious Toddlers

Natasha Daniels Child TherapistNatasha Daniels is not just a mother, but also a Child Therapist and published author of two books, How to Parent Your Anxious Toddler and Anxiety Sucks! A Teen Survival Guide. So she’s an expert in understanding what it takes to avoid raising a liar.

Natasha shares the importance of using visual aids and natural situations to help kids understand the concept of trust and honesty. We invite you to read her tips here >>.

Tiffany Austin author of The Good Enuf Mommy

Tiffany Austin Good Enuf MommyOur reaction to our kids’ mistakes makes a significant difference in how they handle future scenarios and mishaps. Keeping calm, understanding the reason behind a lie, offering solutions, deciding on appropriate consequences and even extending grace by moving forward are helpful tips that Tiffany Austin has been able to implement and see positive results from. Tiffany is a mom and educator who was once a perfectionist, but now embracing motherhood in all its flaws and glory! With trials and error, she’s been able to put together a great list of helpful tips for parents who are facing the early or inconceivable stages of lying.

Holly Homer author of Kids Activities Blog

Holly Homer Kids Activities BlogHolly Homer, mom, author and craft master, put together a great list of resources and responses she gathered from parents on Facebook, who had a few things to say about kids who lie. With it comes the great advice of using books with examples and stories kids can relate to.

best quote about trust

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop is the proud mommy to little Oliver and wife to hubby. She is a resident of Laguna Beach and a big player in the web's large social media circle.

18 comments

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  • I believe that life’S experiences will show kids the right and wrong of things. We showed our son that lying was not the best route to take in life and as things went – he was caught out and the repercussions was something he did not like. It helped … we discussed the issue in detail and told him being up front and straight not only adds to the character but also takes people by surprise. Great pool of resources here!

  • what a great discussion! kids sometimes doesnt know that lying is bad, they thought that it is only to hide their self from their wrong doing. this is really great article to discuss with!

  • It is so important to nip it in the bud when they are young and help them learn why it is important to be honest. Every parent goes through this. Thanks for the tips.

  • I read an interesting article some time back about how lying is a perfectly natural, evolutionary thing for children to do as a part of growing up, and that children who effectively lie end up being more rounded and successful adults. It was thought provoking.

  • Be open with your kids. They probably feel like they would get in huge trouble if they do the smallest thing wrong. I think to talk to them sincerely and always tell them that they can go to you for anything, they wouldn’t lie to you. Open relationship and securing to them that you won’t judge and help them to get out of the situation smoothly by always being there is a must.

  • It would be nice if they didn’t learn how to lie. Lol. But reality is that they will eventually learn to do so, I think it’s also because of the way we react when they do things that aren’t exactly right. It’s all about how we interact with them too and how we respond.

  • It’s a really tough situation to parent because we all do it – no-one is honest 100% of the time and it’s hard to know what to reprimand and what to let slide. I think just building up their moral conscience is the way forward so they make the right decisions themselves

  • This is really helpful. I know I’ve caught my kids in lies before and I explain to them that it’s always important to be honest. Otherwise people will stop believing them. They seem to have gotten better!

  • This is so helpful. I have some students who will lie on occasion and I always need to broach it carefully so we can have a conversation about it and figure out how we are going to do it differently next time.