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How can I get my 5 year old daughter to stop lying?

She is blaming another little girl for everything from starting fights on the bus to getting her new shoes dirty. I thought she was being bullied, but when we prod further, it seems she is always the root of the problem. We have cleared her room of toys, taken away Webkinz, and television. NOTHING seems to have an impact. HELP!

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Asked by emsmom1971 at 3:14 PM on Oct. 16, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (2)
  • 5 years old is a tough age. I read a study once about children that age testifying in court and it concluded that when asked a leading question, something like 85% of children that age will respond how they think the questioner wants them to respond, regardless of the truth. Children that age are notoriously unreliable when it comes to getting the truth out of them. It isn't because they're purposefully being manipulative...they just still have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality and genuinely want you to be happy with their answers. As for how to handle it...I couldn't say what is appropriate for your daughter but you might want to keep her age in mind when it comes to punishment. If you punish too severely, you could be reinforcing her need to answer questions the way you want them answered versus getting the truth out of her and changing the behavior. Good Luck.

    Answer by ANGIE409 at 3:21 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • When you prod and find that she's the root of the problem, are you SURE she's the root and not just the root that the bus driver or teacher or whoever happened to see? Is there any possibility at all that this other girl is doing something that no one else is seeing, and therefore your daughter isn't lying? That's just something to consider. As for getting her to stop, one thing I would try here, instead of punishing her, is to see if you can separate her and the girl she is lying about. Can the bus driver put one at the front and one at the back, or at least different enough seats that they can't communicate? If you get her away from the person she is lying about, she may stop. I agree the lying is wrong, but in this instance, it might be best to just eliminate the reason for the lie and let it drop if she stops. If she continues, remind her that when she doesn't tell the truth, people won't believe her when she is honest.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 3:37 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

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