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How to act before a lying child?
As parents, we surely face or will face situations in which our son lies to us.
These events can become very worrying because we do not want them to scale in size and become an uncontrollable problem.
At first, it is important to clarify if what our son is telling us is really a lie. That is, our son voluntarily decided to deceive us and make up a story.
Since children under 6 years of age are unlikely to be telling us a lie, if your child is younger than this age, it is most likely that they are still not clear about the limits between the fantasy of the game and the reality.
This is totally normal and does not involve anything to worry about, in this case we can patiently clarify what the situation is really like without scolding him or making any allusion to the lies, since as we explained, he is only growing and learning where the limit is between his imagination and the real world.
Another similar case is that in which our son has forgotten to do some activity that he thinks he has done and claims to have completed even though he really is not.
This cannot be classified as a lie, since it was not a conscious fact, in this case you could use an organizational strategy so that the situation does not repeat itself.
Why do children start to lie?
In general, there is a stage in which children lie, so if the lie does not become a systematic matter we do not have to worry too much.
However, there are multiple reasons why children can lie, the important thing is to be attentive to the underlying reason for the lie in order to solve the root problem.
1. To avoid some punishment: when our son lies to avoid facing negative consequences, he is probably afraid of these consequences.
2. He claims to know something he does not know: It is possible that this lie is intended to hide the feelings of shame and guilt derived from not knowing something and feeling insecure with himself.
3. To protect a friend: when a problem has happened with our son's friends, he is likely to deny knowing what happened to protect and show solidarity.
4. Invent feeling bad: it is likely that in this case our son wants to avoid some situation that makes him uncomfortable or frightens him and resorts to pretending to be sick, this shows little maturity and scarce resources to deal with situations that seem difficult for him.
5. Make up facts to gain some benefit: This lie accounts for our son's limited negotiation skills.
6. Denying a painful fact: the most common origin behind these lies is a difficulty in accepting the painful fact itself, it is possible that our child is sad.
7. To test reactions: our child may be testing his behavior and exploring what happens if he lies about a situation.
8. For approval seeking: this may be a reflection that our child needs to reaffirm his self-confidence and feel appreciated by those around him.
9. On impulse: sometimes children are involved by their impulses and lie because they have not stopped to think what they were going to say.
10. In order not to upset others: in this case, our son may omit some information that he thinks is going to concern someone important to him or her.
What position should we take as parents?
The best way to resolve this matter is to be empathetic and understanding with our son and find out the underlying reasons why he has lied. As parents, we are interested in our children growing up to be good people, and we want to avoid lying at all costs.
However, if we make him feel humiliated or misunderstood, it is most likely that he is not willing to tell us the truth. So we must avoid scolding him, on the contrary, show him the value of honesty and reinforce it with words and our actions.
How NOT to act when my child lies?
Do not ridicule, humiliate or call your child a liar, this will only make him feel bad about himself and not about the specific behavior we want to solve.
As parents, we are the example and support of our children, let's not make them believe that they are the ones who are wrong, what is inappropriate is the lie and to change that fact we must also change their origin.