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What do you do when your child starts to lie?

I'm a step mom to a a beautiful 8-year old girl and she has been caught in fibs in the past. Small ones like, "J, did you play the video game when you weren't supposed to?" She would reply "No." Even though she did. Then today, her dad asked what she ate for breakfast and she lied and said pancakes when she didn't eat pancakes. She had cereal! He asked her why she lied and she replied that she didn't know. We're both very disappointed but he hasn't addressed it yet. She's on "restriction" or "punishment" for the time being. But anyway, what do you do when your child starts to lie? How do you handle it?


Asked by SweetSmeek at 2:27 PM on Oct. 2, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 13 (984 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • Kids respond better to explanations than people think. You can punish her, but will that teach her WHY lying is wrong? It might let her know that lying wil get her in trouble, but it won't tell her why lying is wrong in the first place. It's important to know consequences of your actions, help her realize the consequences of lying (besides getting grounded) like the REAL life consequences. You can tell her stories of maybe when you were younger & got caught in a lie & how embarrassing it was. Give her examples of how it can be bad and explain to her that people won't believe her or trust her if she lies a lot.


    Answer by samurai_chica at 2:37 PM on Oct. 2, 2010

  • Many parents believe that by trying to catch their children in a lie they are teaching them to tell the truth. In fact, they are encouraging them to lie. An important rule to remember is: If you know the answer, don't ask the question. State what you know and move on from there. "I see you played the video game when you were told not to, so now you cannot play a video game this evening." In that way, you are teaching your child to tell the truth by example and it prevents the incident from escalating. When your step-daughter said she had pancakes rather than cereal for breakfast an appropriate response would have been. "We didn't really have pancakes this morning but I bet you wished we did." That helps children differentiate between reality and fantasy.


    Answer by teacher-author at 7:09 PM on Oct. 2, 2010

  • Explain to her how lying can backfire & make thngs worse in her life. She is 8, she can fully understand a sound explanation as to why people shouldn't lie. Bieng Hindu, we're firm believers in Karma. So, my DD's knows that when she lies, she is recruiting bad Karma. She NEVER lies. She would rather tell the truth & get in trouble than lie & get bad Karma. Very glad i gave birth to a girl with exceptioal ethics. BUT, some kids have to learn the hard way & be caught in embarrasing lies before they realize the harmful effects of lying. AND, then they have to learn when lying is OK. For instance, if you hate someone's new haircut that they love, you don't have to be totally honest when they ask you if you like it. It's confusing for kids. And most try to see how far they can get with it. Some kids practice lying. DD has a friend who lies through her teeth to try & look cool, I don't play her game. I tell her she's lying...

    Answer by samurai_chica at 2:34 PM on Oct. 2, 2010

  • Ditto to samurai_chica said, thought I'd also show her what lying can do to your relationship with her. Instead of thinking "oh, she's lying" the next time she answers a question that you know she's lying to, prod her more as if you don't trust her. Let her know what it feels like when someone you know and love doesn't trust you because of your lies. "Oh really? I don't believe you. Is that really what happened? Can you prove it? Because when you lie to people, you give them reason to not believe the things you say." things like that.

    Answer by Cenchan at 2:49 PM on Oct. 2, 2010

  • Asking a child what they had for breakfast and them giving an incorrrect answer may not be a lie. I don't know about your house but if my child eats a pancake or cereal it makes very little difference for them to lie about. I am constantly having that argument with my boyfriend... giving a wrong answer isn't the same as a lie. A lie is a false statement with the intent to deceive.

    Answer by seturkey at 8:31 PM on Oct. 2, 2010