Whether you call it telling fibs, whoppers or even fake news, lying is an infuriating behaviour trait that can test the most patient parent. Not only that but it can get children into trouble at school, cause upsetting arguments with their friends, and lying isn’t something a child wants to become known for.

How can you help your child stop lying?
We wanted to share some of the practical recommended advice we’ve gathered to help you handle lies in your family life:

Give second chances
Children sometimes reach for a lie to avoid disappointing an adult. If you think this may have happened, offer your child the opportunity to ‘rewind’ the situation and replace the lie with the truth. Walk away and promise to return in a few minutes to ask the same question again. “I’ll come back in a few minutes and ask the question again. You can tell me the truth and you won’t get into trouble for it.”

Avoid labels
Behavioural experts explain that by labelling your child a ‘liar’ you could be making him or her feel bad, which could lead to more lies in the future.

Stress safety first
Children can lie to cover up for having broken the rules or doing something off limits. Lying could put them or others at risk, so explain why the lie might have harmful consequences.

Spell it out
Connecting with your child and explaining yourself with authenticity comes recommended. When your child lies to you, it’s suggested to explain what’s wrong with lying. For example, explain that you dislike lies because they make a person dishonest and it’s hard to trust a liar.

Be a role model
Your honesty as a parent must surely influence your child. The advice is to answer their questions to the best of your ability and be truthful. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so and offer to find out the answer for them rather than fabricating a response.

Why is my child lying?

Experts agree that this usually has a lot to do with the age of your child, and their lies could be a developmental leap expressing itself in fabricated fantasies. Young school children, for example, may not always be lying but rather displaying some wishful thinking. For example, they deny taking their friend’s book because they wish that they hadn’t.

  • Are they lying to avoid punishment or an adult’s disapproval?
  • Lies can bypass the rules – for example, they lie about having completed their homework, so they can play a game on their tablet now rather than later
  • Have they invented a far-fetched story to get attention? They could be lying to make friends or to avoid being left out
    It’s often said that children who are lying may become evasive or may repeat back your question. You might notice that your previously calm child starts to fidget, the tone of their voice grows higher or they avoid eye contact completely. Older or more sophisticated liars may do the opposite and fix eye contact unnaturally.

    For more advice on this subject from the organisation Family Lives, please visit their website, here – https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/primary/behaviour/stealing-and-lying/

    To read a BBC report on findings that most parents lie to their children, visit – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21144827