How do you respond when your toddler fibs?
It's very common for a preschooler to make up stories or lie from time to time even though they don't fully grasp the concept of what lying is yet. How should you react when your toddler starts telling fibs or making up stories?
My dad used to tell us to stick out our tongues because he could tell we were lying if our tongue turned black. Actually he could tell because we'd be resistant to stick it out. Just realized the irony of telling a lie to catch a lie!
Don't give your kid a *reason* to lie. Such as asking them questions they are likely to answer with a lie, setting them up to lie. They just want to tell you what you want to hear, to keep the relationship good, to keep you happy, to keep from getting punished or "abandoned," or to try to earn a reward; basically to earn or keep your love. Don't use punishments OR rewards for behavior, and that will remove a *lot* or maybe even all of the motivation to lie. If you want to know more about this concept, read some Alfie Kohn. There's also a chapter just on lying in NutureShock, which is pretty eye-opening. So, there's my advice...take what ya like, leave what ya don't. :)
My daughter is pretty verbal, she understands really well and she is only 5. I go to church almost every Sunday and so she has learned that "God doesn't like lies". She came home one day sharing that with me. So now, whenever it happens (she lies) I just let her know that she can lie to me but God is listening too. Right away she admits "fine I'm lying..." and tries to justify why she lied. It works every time. ;)
When my 4 yr old daughter fibs or says something that isn't true, I ask her if that is what really happened or i ask her to tell me the whole story or if she is sure that she is telling the truth. Most of the time she will back track on what she originally said. So I tell her that it isn't nice to "lie" and that it could hurt someone's feelings or even get them in trouble if they aren't really in trouble. I make sure she knows that it is not ok to lie and that she will get in trouble too if she is lying.
2 boys, 3 & 5. they like to back each other up. 5 will start telling me 3 did something and 3 will agree. Obviously, he doesn't understand he's lying! But when 5 is asked, what happened? Why is your brother crying? ''um, he hit himself!'' really, he punched himself in the back of the head and that's why he's crying? ''yep!'' then it's into the explination of ... if your brother punched himself in the back of the head, he wouldn't be crying cause he can't reach! Then take 5's hand and reach it back, ''can you reach the back of your head to punch yourself hard enough to make yourself cry?'' ''no'' then neither did your brother. *Compare arm length's* Now, can we tell the truth? ''ok, I punched him, I'm sorry brother!'' ''Now that's called a 'lie' and when you lie about something, it could hurt some one. What would happen if your brother punched you then told me it was you punching yourself?'' ''THAT'S NOT TRUE! He punched me!!'' ''exactly! Now you see how it could hurt if some one lies about YOU'' ''oh, sorry mom, I won't lie again'' obviously he will cause he's 5 but it starts to get the example in their head that this situation could be reversed and he could get into trouble for something his brother did! (If this is jumbled and doesn't make sense, I'm still 1/2 asleep! lol)
My daughter won't be 3 until April, but she has already lied several times. Since I'm a firm believer in the age-appropriate responses and in continually offering correction, even when the child might not quite grasp the concept, I address the issue with her when I realize she's lying. For the most part, I tell her she makes me and her daddy sad when she lies, and when she says something happened but it didn't happen, that's a lie.
I also tell her she makes God sad, and He wants her to be a good girl and tell the truth, or tell what really happened. When I or my husband catch her, we address it right then and repeat back to her what she said. Our son isn't yet 1, so we don't have to worry about him. :) But of course, we'll employ the same responses, since it seems to be working.
And removing the circumstances that lead to lying can help immensely. Children DO say what they think you want to hear, because they love to please you and make you happy. They don't understand at this age the full concept. So, if you fill in the blanks for them first (without asking them) and work from there, you usually eliminate 80-90% of their lies.
So far my 3 1/2 yr daughter hasn't made up lies spontaneously, but will lie if I ask her a question. If I say "did you ask daddy if you can have a cookie" she will say "yes", and if I ask what he said, she'll say "he said yes" (when I know he said no). I really struggled with how to explain the concept of lying to her. I remember training I did years ago about kids having to testify in court and that they will often give the answers they think the adults wants to hear. They don't think about the "true" answer. So, I now avoid the types of questions that give her the opportunity to lie. I will instead make an assumption about what happened (that she has not asked her dad), and give her my answer. If she did ask her dad and he did say yes she will be quick to tell me. Thankfully she has not yet learned to lie in that circumstance too. One day she will and I'll have to employ other strategies.
If you ask my daughter what happens if you lie... She'll tell you 'You go to hell!!' lol
We are careful to teach our two young children (3 and 1) that a lie is a story that is not true (make believe) and that there is no such thing as ALWAYS or NEVER lying. TV shows, movies, books and stories from "sacred texts" (Bible, Koran, etc.) are "make believe," but they are illustrations involving fiction that can be learned from.
The 3 year old is beginning to understand that the concept of intent associated with a lie can make it bad or good by being asked "would this story hurt someone or make them sad?" An episode of Thomas the Train wouldn't, but drawing a train in sharpie on the door and calling the door "paper" would.
Since kids begin to learn the concept as young as 6 months, it is imperative to lay a solid foundation regarding truth and deception that is consistent so that - as they age - what they are told when they were young isn't looked at as paradoxical or hypocritical.
I told my daughters that our fire alarms where cameras so I say u wanna tell me the truth because if I go look at the camera and ur lying either tine out or guna get a smack on the butt. They come clean
Don't give your kid a reason to lie? Really? That's probably the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while! If my child tells a lie/fib I'll let him know it's not right and when he does something wrong I tell him Jesus doesn't like that so I'd go with Jesus doesn't like us telling stories that aren't true.
I say, "Just remember if it isn't true then it's called a lie or fib. Lying is a very bad thing to do."
My son is 3.5. Lying has just started. After scratching my head and talking with a few other mums as to how to deal with this, I came down with a few strategies. Firstly, I will always encourage him when he tells the truth when he is in the wrong eg. Mum: "Why's your sister crying" Son: "I pushed her" I will always say "thank you for telling me the truth. But we do not push. Now go to your room until you are ready to say sorry." But prior to this, we have had a talk about lying and telling the truth and I explained that if he lies then he will miss out on story time because he lied. But if if tells me the truth, he just needs to stay in his room because he pushed his sister. Basically, the consequence of lying is greater than the actual deed. I wasn't sure if he understood the 'lecture'. But possibly as he has not lied since then (it's been about 3 days)
A friend of mine pointed out that kids as young as 18 months will make up stories to protect themselves. We call it lying, but I don't think they have the malicious intent we think they do at this age. My 3.5 year old "lies" on occasion because at his last preschool he was so fearful of getting punished (instead of corrected or redirected and allowed to make mistakes) that he did anything for self preservation. We just calmly talk with him and reassure him he's not in trouble and that we just need to know what's going on. Usually he'll think about that for a minute or two and then talk to us and be truthful.
My son is 2 1/2 and so funny when he tries to lie. I don't even think he means to, but if me or my husband ask him if he's done something or seen someone and he says yes--and he hasn't--he will do it in this very quiet, kind of submissive voice. That's how I know he's not telling the truth and I will call him on it, asking "Are you sure?". He will generally admit to his fib then.
My 4 year old. Totally know what lying is because he does it perfectly ! If he comes downstairs from a friends house he has marker on his forehead ! I ask him why did you write on your self ?? He tells me mom I didn't do it my friend drew it on my face ! So ill ask the friend and his friend will tell me he didn't do it , and that my son did it himself ! So I look at him and say to him. Where did u find the marker to colour on your forehead ? And he tells me " oh I found it in the toybox upstairs " ! And so that's whn I tell him that now we have just come to the conclusuon that you are lying to me. I ask him why are you lying to me ? He tell me. Cause I don't want you to be mad mommy ! And I tell him well for one you shouldn't have wrote on yourself but than I tell him there is no need to lie to me because than your friend might get in trouble or you might get in trouble more !! And I tell him if he's afraid to tell me things than he needs to not be. And he needs to feel ok about talking to mommy !
I have a 5 yr old, but whenever he starts to say something that is a "lie" or parts are untrue I always stop and ask him why he thinks that is. For instance, if he comes in and tells me his sister hit him and I can hear her saying no. I ask him why do you think she hit you? It may be she accidentally bumped into him or they were playing and that was part of the game (tagged too hard etc). I try to tell him what the accused action really is as opposed to what happened to him. I also try to use scripture to back me up:
Job 13:4, "But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value."
Job 24:25, "...who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?"
Psalms 63:11, "...the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped."
Psalms 101:7, "He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight."
Psalms 119:163, "I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love."
Psalms 120:2, "Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue."
1 John 1:6, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
1 John 2:4, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
To name a few. I wont list tons of gospel, but you get the point. I try to point out what I am saying in correcting him comes from God, not me. That he is to honor the Lord in his speech and actions and that includes little fibs or making things seem worse than they are. He easily gets his feelings hurt and does like to be "it" in games so he will make up stories and I sometimes the best thing is to go along with it. For example " Wow, I am so sorry the older kids are treating you that way, maybe it would be best to not play than with them if you are being treated that way. Would you like to do something else alone?" That usually starts to evoke some more truth and he will put things back into perspective. It's a fine line really, you don't want to encourage the lies/half truths, but he has a childs mind and they see things in a different light than say if he was 7 or 8.