Child Wellness: Childhood lying
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When it come to kids and lying, some experts say it's not only expected -- it's a normal part of development.
"Children generally begin to lie around the age of three to test their parents to see what the boundaries are," Psychotherapist Meghan Lemery said.
What do kids most often lie about? Younger kids usually do it for attention, especially if there's a younger sibling the house. Elementary kids usually do it to stay out of trouble.
"If you parent in a way that is based in fear or guilt, you are going to have a child that is more likely to lie to you because they are afraid of getting in trouble," Lemery said.
As kids develop more friends, they often look for ways to impress their peers.
"As children enter the age of school, of kindergarten and first grade, you see the lies become more sophisticated as they are trying to maybe impress their teachers, impress their peer group, and appear socially more acceptable and more important," Lemery said.
On rare occasions, kids can begin to lie compulsively, which is a sign of a deeper issue. Lying helps avoid the reality of possible trauma the child may be experiencing.
"If your child continually is lying, there is usually a deeper root going on, some kind of trauma that is happening that your child isn't telling you or facing themselves. The way to deal with that trauma internally is to make up anther life, to lie, because if you face the truth of the trauma, you are facing the pain and that can be very difficult," Lemery said.
Parents need to have zero tolerance for lies.
"Have strict rules in place when your child does lie, whether it's having them do a paper on the importance of honesty and integrity, or watching a program on a role model, anything to get them to continue to build their character," Lemery said.