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Does your 3 year old lie? Any advise to get her to stop?

Both my husband and myself are straight shooters. Even if you give us a play-by-play book on how to lie, we wouldn't know how to follow it. Yet our 3 year old "lies" about a lot of things. For example, I asked her if she's wiped herself after using the bathroom, she'd say yes, and there's no toilet paper in the toilet or trash can. Or I would ask her what she did in school, her response would be feed an unicorn some carrots with her cousin Vivi (who lives 3000 miles away), or tells me her younger sister pushed her (who by the way just learned how to crawl). In her mind, they are proabbly not lies...but how do I get her to stop? I've told her calmly and repeatedly not to lie, but it's clearly not working b/c she still does it.


Asked by Olivia4116 at 10:16 PM on Mar. 8, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (5)
  • my son does this also--like if something gets dropped and broken I will ask him if he has been playing with and he will say no that the cat did it or his brother did it when neither is present at the time; then I will ask him again and he will get really sheepish and say yes but please don't get mad at me mom it was an accident then I sit down with him and explain that lying isn't the way to go that if he tells me the truth to begin with then the consequences won't be as bad.  He understands and knows what is right and wrong but it takes time and patience


    Answer by Christmaslver68 at 9:17 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • My daughter's imagination is blossoming right now. When it comes to facts like wiping herself, she's usually straight with us but I've caught her out and told her that was a fib, not the truth. With the imagination (things that can't possibly be true), I let it go unless it's something hurtful. It's part of her creative development.

    Answer by Nonoluna at 10:24 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • Well said Nonoluna. I agree. If it's something you need her to tell the truth about (like personal care) then tell her. What i do with my son and a couple kids i sit for sometimes is "i need you to tell me the truth about this. If you tell a lie, you will (consequence like time out &/or no cartoons), and you will have to (do it over, put it away or whatever it calls for). At 3, she can understand this. This works!!! I get told by every teacher my son has how honest he is! My son, and the two little ones, know that if they tell the truth, they only have to take care of it, but if they lie, there is another consequence as well.

    But with the school thing, that's cute, you can play along. But also ask more direct questions that are fun for her to answer, like 'what was you favoriite learning activity today that you did in class? And if she starts to tell a 'story', ask her real questions to draw out real answers.

    Answer by boobarandbell at 10:33 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • My son is 3 and he lies about little things like picking his nose and eating his boogers. Right now when he comes up with cute stories I let them go, but if he says he didn't do something that he did I point out that I know he did and I explain to him it isn't nice to lie. I don't punish him for lieing, 3 is still really young and I don't think they still understand alot of things.

    Answer by kayaiden8907 at 10:50 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • My son is 3 and says all kinds of things. I don't take it as lying because he isn't saying things with the intent of getting away with anything or getting something. He doesn't understand that it isn't true. He will tell me about how he saw his cousin Nana that day but he's been with me all day. Or that daddy took him to see a train but daddy's been working. And I don't ask him questions that i know the answer to. Like if he snuck into mommy's snacks, or if he finished his food. I don't think there is a point in punishing a child for something if they don't grasp the complete concept of it.

    Answer by Kayere at 12:49 AM on Mar. 9, 2011