Tell when Your Child Is Telling a Lie

Edited by Angel Hammer, Lynn, Eng, Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo and 3 others

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No one likes to be lied to; it's just plain rude. There are some circumstances, however, where being lied to can be not only rude, but dangerous as well. As a parent, you will want to be able to discern whether or not your little one is being upfront with you about things. Build confidence in your lie detecting abilities by following the simple procedures below. Keep in mind the normal range of behavior in your own child for comparison, (no one knows them better than you).

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Spotting The Not-So Obvious

  1. 1
    Gut and instinct
    If you have a feeling your child might be lying to you, trust your gut instinct, and note the body language of your child. If they are stiff, defensive, or avoiding eye contact, then it's a good indication that he's hiding something from you.
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  2. 2
    Speech patterns
    Many times when someone is lying, they will mock what you say, or repeat it back to you. For example if you were to ask, "Did you sneak out of the house last night?" They would answer, "No I did not sneak out of the house last night" rather than saying simply "no". Another example, if you ask, "Where were you last night"? He might say "Why would you ask me that?" or "Why would I go out?" Often you'll find when your child it trying furiously to think of a good lie, they'll ask you what you just asked him. "Do you take five dollars from the counter?" He'll say right back to you, "What do you mean did I take the five dollars from the counter?" These are natural defenses people do when they lie, kids included.
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  3. 3
    Note the muscles used for expression of emotion in the face
    Muscle isolation indicates a lie; for example a lying individual who is trying to fake a pleasant emotion would smile only with the mouth. A person who is not telling a lie, but smiling out of happiness will smile with the eyes and cheek muscles as well. Look at his shoulders and arms, if they're crossed your child might be protecting something and is likely hiding it from you.
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  4. 4
    If responses to asked questions seem forced, are overly delayed, or if the child doesn't directly answer your question, it may indicate a lie
    For example if you ask the question, "son did you clean your room?" and he answers it by saying, "what do you think?" rather than a simple yes or no, that could indicate a lie. #Overcompensating answers are also possible, like say you ask the same question, he would say "oh yes, I even cleaned the bathroom".
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  5. 5
    Almost every person who lies, has a thing they do when they lie
    Some people's eyebrows are raised, for others, the tell-tale sign is flinching, or turning at the corners of the mouth, and for others, their leg might shake, they may close their eyes before answering, etc. Whatever it is, find out what your child's thing is, and you'll save a lot of time.
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Why Children Lie


Most children will lie at some point in their lives. No one taught them or instructed them to lie, but they still do. Lying is an instinctive defense that seems to be embedded in our genes; a form of self-preservation. Still, it can be a real surprise for you as a parent the first time you're your child is looking right into your eyes, and you know they are telling you a lie. Rest assured that lying is a part of a child's development - as well as telling the truth. Children tell lies for many, many reasons, depending on the nature of events and their motivation. They lie to:

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  • Cover something up, it may be a wrong thing they did, hoping to avoid the consequences for their actions, your punishment, and most of all, your disapproval.
  • Experiment and explore with their parents' reactions and responses.
  • Exaggerate a simple story or impress others (especially their friends)
  • Gain more attention, even when they know the listener already knows the truth.
  • Manipulate a circumstance or set something up for their own benefit, for example, saying to grandma, "My mom always lets me have cookies after dinner."

When Do Children Start Lying?


Children are able to learn to tell lies even from a very early age, generally by around the age of three years old. This is around the time they learn that adults are not able to read minds, and that they can manipulate ideas or give people false information. They do this primarily to get out of trouble or cover up. Children's increase by the age of 4-6. They naturally become more skilled at telling lies through way of body language or just being good actors themselves, however they tend to implicate themselves and push to explain further - perhaps the child doth protest too much?

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One study concludes that a four-year-olds is able to lie about once every two hours while a six-year-old about every 90 minutes. When your child reaches school age, he may lie more often and would be able to do it more convincingly than ever. His lie may also become more sophisticated, as his vocabulary expands and he learns to understand how other people think. By eight, your child may be able to lie successfully without getting caught.

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What To Do When Your Children Lies


Maintain a positive Outlook, explain and emphasize to your child the importance of being honest in your family. Make sure she understands the repercussions and results of lying. Tell your child that you appreciate it when they tell you the truth and that you don't like it when you're being lied to. As an example, say, "When you lie to me, I feel disappointed and sad". Also, you can try giving him books, or better yet read him a story that highlights the importance of being an honest person.

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  • If your child happens to tell you something that you know is imaginary or simply make-believe, you can just go along with it. This phenomenon is very important to his development. If he told you he's a superhero, you might as well indulge him a little and ask him about his superpowers. There is a big difference between your child lying to get out of trouble, lying to make himself special, and creating stories to amuse himself because he has a fertile imagination.
  • Help your child to avoid situations where he might feel the need to lie. For example, if you see him spill his drink, don't ask, "Did you spill your drink?" This may cause him to lie just to get out of trouble. To avoid this, you should go and say "I see that there's an accident with your drink, come on, I will help you clean it up".
  • Some kids employ exaggeration and bragging to get respect and admiration from other people, if you find this happening often, consider praising your child more to boost his self-esteem.
  • Remember to explain family rules about what is unacceptable behavior in your house. Most children behave more likely within boundaries if the rules are enforced.
  • Always praise your child for good behaviour, especially if he admitted something without you doing anything to get the truth out of him. It will stay in his mind forever and possibly diminish lies in the future.
  • Explaining to your child the consequence of lying will put him on the right track.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • These things do not mean for certain that you are being lied to; they simply indicate that a lie is likely to be taking place.
  • Take into consideration the character of your child before you assume, or jump to conclusions based on these steps alone. It might be just as awful to be accused of lying, as it is to be lied to.
  • Try the story of 'the boy who cried wolf' to give your child a good example of how lying can work against a person.
  • It us generally better to teach your children the value of being honest and telling the truth instead of punishing them for all minor misdeeds.
  • Don't forget to praise your child when he is being honest.
  • Children sometimes like to make things up and exaggerate. They exaggerate some of their stories to give them a lot more 'color'. In fact, imagining and pretending are important to every child's growth and development. It will do your child good to encourage this kind of happening. 'Tall tales' they tell don't need to be treated as lies, especially if your child is under four.

  • Never label your child as a liar; it will do more bad than good in the long run.
  • One way for you to discourage children through obvious lying is to produce a joke, or exaggerate this untrue statement. For example, your little one might explain any shattered toy simply by indicating, 'A homeless guy came by so I gave it'. You can state anything silly such as, 'Why didn't you invite your pet in for dinner? ' Carry on this scam a tad more time before your child 'confesses'. In this way, you uncover this rest as well as instruct any session with no need for self-discipline or perhaps struggle.
  • As children grow older, lies could become a pattern. If this lying is occurring a whole lot, make an arrangement time in order to sit calmly with your child. Talk to her about how precisely her lying allows you to feel, the way it influences your family, and what it will be like if friends and family stop relying on her.
  • Always tell your child when you realize for sure that he isn't telling the truth. Your child would need to know that honesty is very important to you. But try to refrain continuously asking him all the time if he is telling the truth.
  • Stick with your strictness when necessary! Research states that that it's certainly not until children are several or older that the parents' efforts pay back. Children whose parents discipline them regarding lying as well as praise these individuals for telling the truth lie less while they grow up.
  • Stay interested in your child's life and really encourage her to be truthful with you. Children of all ages who have good communication with their parents and talk to them in what they doing are more unlikely to do antisocial actions.

Final Say

  • I was child who found a cow's bone on the railroad tracks, and convinced my friends it was a dinosaur bone, among other imaginative and implausible tales. I knew what I was doing, just seemed more interesting. I grew up to be nearly ridiculously honest, but I work in theatre, and I'm a writer. So...I was just practicing. If your child is like me, don't panic, and assume they'll grow up to be a liar; your child might be practicing for a career in the arts.
  • Of course, I had a son, and as a child he told a lot of lies - different from mine. His were about getting out of trouble, and most of the time, he wouldn't have gotten into trouble. I never understood why he felt the need to lie. I explained to him that when you lie a lot, people stop believing anything you say - assuming it's just another lie, but worse than that, because you lie a lot, and you can only experience the world from your point of view, you don't believe other people.
  • Don't praise them too much for telling the truth. It shouldn't be celebrated as something special or unusual, or heroic, is should be expected and usual.
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Questions and Answers

If you search your child's room are they more likely to lie?

You must need to establish friendship with your child. Let them open up to you and be more of a friend. However, you need to make sure that you go to parent mode again when you have to, especially when it comes to discipline. You can follow these steps to encourage your child to tell the truth:

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  • Establish the rule to always tell the truth.
  • Be a role model and refrain from telling little white lies yourself.
  • Explain how telling the truth is better than lying.
  • Distinguish the reason for lying.
  • Give the one warning rule: when caught, tell your kid that they have one chance to explain what happened.
  • When caught lying, make them do chores AND take away their phone/gaming console/computer/Tablet.
  • Tell your child what will happen if they lie until they grow up (the consequences).
  • Praise them when they tell the truth.
  • Encourage them to tell the truth.
  • Approach with a calm mind when asking them about what happened, reacting madly may discourage them from telling the truth.
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When you do what is indicated above, you would not need to snoop around their room. They will talk to you about it instead of keeping things from you.

12 Years Old, how can you tell they are lying?

When you ask a 12 year old kid, and he lies to you about taking $80.00 out of your wallet or cell phone cover. He tells me he didn't, and smiles. Or says, " You are still carrying on about that. I didn't taken it. I had my friends here too. I have tried: Ask him to tell the truth in front of their friends, not allowing to go anywhere until he tells me where it has gone. I think it was caused by: Friends.

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Article Info

Categories : Parenting

Recent edits by: Julia Moliere, Alma, Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo

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