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When a fiver year old lies, should you go with it or correct her?

Not always harmful lies; I know the ones to get out of trouble or to get something she wants that she otherwise shouldn't have should be corrected. Also, I'm not talking about my own child, so keep this in mind.

I am babysitting for a relative. I've known the child her whole life; to her, I am "Aunt Kailey."

That being said, she is well behaved most of the time with her own little quirks, just like every child. One of her "quirks" is that she seems to be a habitual liar. I mean, like everything the child says is displaced. It doesn't even have to be something that anyone should feel the need to lie about. For example, if she does not want ketchup on her sandwhich when asked, she will say, "My mommy doesn't let me have that." If she wants candy (lastnight) before bed, it is, "Mommy says the candy in my backpack is for a bedtime snack." If she doesn't want to share, it's "Mommy says I do not have to share my toys." Etc etc... These are the ones that get talked through and corrected (not so much the ketchup one, I just say something like, "It's okay if you don't like it; you don't have to have it on your sandwhich. That is why I asked to make sure."

What do you do about the others? "I've seen one of these dinasaurs before. I rode it's back in the Jungle." Me: "Oh, did you have that dream?" Her: "No, it was real. My mommy didn't mind, and then I cut off its head." .... My response was "Oh, Okay..." ... but what would you say? Notice, this is just an example, almost everything she says, (to adults, anyways) is some sort of manipulation of the truth. Is this a testing phase? A cry for attention to make things more interesting?

I know lying is a difficult concept for young children, but what do I do to deal with this? I don't want to acknowledge the lies and make it worse, but I don't want to point out every single thing she says as a lie, either...

Answer Question

Asked by Kword at 1:21 PM on Dec. 16, 2013 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 27 (29,610 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • eh, it depends on what it is. I think with those she is just testing your responses... totally normal. I might just add in that I really don't believe what she is saying, but only just to let her know I was really listening.

    Answer by m-avi at 1:23 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • charlotsomtimes

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 1:26 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • It is interesting that "my Mommy" seems to be the big thing here. I would say Oh Mommy didn't tell me that lets call her" and watch the back track.

    Answer by AuntieV at 1:26 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • charlotsomtimes

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 1:26 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • lol, AuntieV, I have done that several times. I ask, "If I called Mommy to check and make sure, what would she say." That works, but it's like everything she says. That one gets old. I also think it's strange that it's always placed on Mommy. lol

    Comment by Kword (original poster) at 1:27 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • Thank you, charlotsometimes

    Comment by Kword (original poster) at 1:27 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • Definitely depends on what she says. Little white lies would be no big deal - my 6 year old niece will start out by telling a story that actually happened, and by the end you're not even sure who she's talking about. She just lets her imagination get ahead of her.

    My son goes through lying phases as well. He's five. It's hard to be sure what's true sometimes, because he is with his dad half the time, and me half the time, and he also goes to kindergarten and daycare... so it's hard to actually validate through other adults, because he's around so many! We usually just have to ask him whether he's lying, and he's quick to admit if he is.

    Answer by AdensMama0308 at 2:11 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • How old is she?
    What's her home life like?

    My BIL used to be a foster parent, and he saw/heard all sorts of manipulative stuff like this from those kids ALL the time. Their lives were unstable, they'd been in the system for years, and lying/manipulating the situation like that was the ONLY way they had any sense of control over their lives.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 2:22 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • My five year old started lying at school, so my way of handling it was to make him write "I must not tell lies" five times, and he hasn't lied since.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 2:51 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

  • Those links from Charlotte helped me tremendously several months back when my kidlet went through a tall tale stage. I found that if I laughed and said "Are you telling me a silly story?" then she would laugh too and say yes. But lies to get out of trouble were something different, and we had a few talks where I explained that if she told me things that weren't true, I couldn't believe her when she said things that were true, and she simply agreed not to do it anymore and didn't. I suppose sometimes the problem isn't so easily solved, but with her it was, at least for now. Time will tell.

    Answer by Ballad at 3:44 PM on Dec. 16, 2013

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