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Parenting Positive Kids Parenting Positive Kids

Why Your Child's First Lie is Cause for Celebration

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By Blythe Copeland

    

While your child's first lie isn't the kind of milestone you put in the baby book, Stroller Derby points out that its still a big deal -- and in a good way, says Frances Stott, PhD, on Scholastic's blog. 

Here's why you should be just a little bit proud the first time your child makes up a story instead of telling the truth: It's a sign that he's developing key traits, like perspective, independence, and control of his emotions, that will serve him well in the long run. 

"The first successful lie can be pegged as a developmental achievement because it marks the child's discovery that her mind and thinking are separate from her parents'," writes Stott. (This often goes hand-in-hand with learning the word "no," Stott says, "which helps young children delineate the boundaries between their own desires, thoughts, and feelings, and those of others.")

As kids grow up, their ability to lie successfully improves in part because they're more able to predict what their parents and teachers will and won't believe. A three-year-old, for example, might tell you a wandering story about an obviously made-up event that happened at the park, because he's not able to assess your interpretation of what he's saying. A six year old, on the other hand, knows that a lie he tells will need to fit in with knowledge you already have in order to be believable.

So what should you do when your child starts lying? Stott offers several suggestions, including giving yourself time to calm down before you decide on a punishment, choosing consequences that will appeal to your child's conscience, and talking to them about the logical side of lying (a few tellings of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" can help with this one).

But most of all, says Stott, don't get upset -- after all, with adults reporting that they lie on average 13 times a week, your kids probably learned to fib from you.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

by on Sep. 3, 2013 at 8:43 PM
Replies (11-20):
countrygirlkat
by on Sep. 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM

I agree.

Quoting elasmimi:

Hard not to get upset.


Bmat
by on Sep. 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM
1 mom liked this

This article gives me the heebiejeebies.  I don't think that lying is something to celebrate.  It shows disrespect of the parent. 

sunshinepraying
by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 5:42 PM
Interesting. Tfs
TigerofMu
by on Oct. 2, 2013 at 5:34 PM
That's an interesting viewpoint.
brittany208
by on Oct. 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM
1 mom liked this

be proud of our kids for being dishonest? seriously? i dont think so. i understand that it is a sign of development, but so are underarm hairs. doesnt mean we should be excited about them.

brittany208
by on Oct. 2, 2013 at 5:43 PM
1 mom liked this

agree. i dont think the first lies are meant to be disrespectful, but kids dont really know yet. but cause for celebration? really??? i can imagine the cake now! its in the shape of a pair of pants with flames on them...


Quoting Bmat:

This article gives me the heebiejeebies.  I don't think that lying is something to celebrate.  It shows disrespect of the parent. 


 

SweetLuci
by on Oct. 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM

 True!

Quoting Kaci:

Exactly! And sometimes it stays with them and they don't stop lying. Ugh

Quoting butzi:

Sometimes kids lie out of a desire for that alternate reality. They wish so badly for it to be true that they just keep saying what they hope for.

 

SweetLuci
by on Oct. 2, 2013 at 6:30 PM

This is a strange interpretation.  Yes, it's a part of development, but so are lots of other things that we don't want them to continue doing.

Kaci
by on Oct. 2, 2013 at 7:49 PM
I thought that someone would disagree. Yayy! :)

Quoting SweetLuci:

 True!


Quoting Kaci:

Exactly! And sometimes it stays with them and they don't stop lying. Ugh


Quoting butzi:

Sometimes kids lie out of a desire for that alternate reality. They wish so badly for it to be true that they just keep saying what they hope for.

 

Kaci
by on Oct. 2, 2013 at 7:50 PM
Exactly!

Quoting SweetLuci:

This is a strange interpretation.  Yes, it's a part of development, but so are lots of other things that we don't want them to continue doing.

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