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Denying wrong doings is the king of lying that usually gets children into trouble. Your child breaks his sisters doll and denies the whole incident. You are probably more angry with him for the lie rather than the breakage. But what matters is that he should recognize the mistake he has made.

Reasons Why a Child Lies ?

a. The need to retain the illusion of goodness.
b. The wish to avoid facing consequences.

c. A faulty memory.

Difficulty in distinguishing fully between reality and fantasy.

Development of honesty

Since toddlers fibs are not malicious or calculated, they are not a cause of concern or punishment. Assuming that a child lives in an atmosphere of honesty and trust, this fibbing stage will eventually end.

It is necessary to nurture the development of honesty in a child in the following ways :


Do not make it easy for your child to lie : Rather than asking him "Did you do that?" say "I know that you did".


Make it easy to tell the truth : Rather than condemning, shouting and saying "Look what you did again !" the child would not like it and may say "I did not". You would rather say "Oops! the water is spilled all over the floor, how did that happen ?". You are likely to get a confession.


Make telling the truth pay off : If you appreciate a child for being honest by saying "I like it when you tell me the truth", the child is more likely to speak the truth.


Help your child to see the whole truth : Often a toddler may say his side of the story, in which case you have to extract out the full story.


Do not force your toddler to lie : Too much pressure and high expectations may make a child lie.


Trust your child : Let your child know that you trust him. Truth and trust are inseparable, if you are truthful, you will be trusted. They go hand in hand. Be sure that your toddler can trust you too.


Make honesty your policy : Nothing teaches a toddler to be honest better than a parent's example. Be truthful in your dealings.

Do not tell the bus conductor that your 3 year old is only 2 years in order to pay a half ticket.

Do not tell your relatives you are down with stomach problem, when actually you are out for dinner with friends.

Do not make your child say a white lie like "Daddy is not home", over the phone when an outsider calls.


Past History :
Ram was being attended to by the counsellor in the child guidance clinic. Ram, a boy of 8 years, was brought by the parents to the counsellor and the parents complained that he frequently went to school without his text books and lied a lot on questioning. On taking the case and talking to the parents, it was found that Ram was not able to adjust with his peer group in class. He seemed to exist in a world of his own. He was overwhelmed by his fear of the teacher, his peers and school in general. He was often found alone in a corner. At home, he lied to his parents a lot. He had a tremendous fear of his father whom he disliked very much.

Attempts were made to help the child recognize some of his negative feelings towards himself, his parents or significant others in his life and to learn appropriate means of expressing these feelings. He was made to express his feelings through play, drawings, clay modeling and story telling. Thus the child, who was unaware of his anger towards his father, could express it by drawing an adult male figure and colouring it. His self-esteem was increased by positive statements and group skills were enhanced. He was made aware of the importance of academics in his school life and was made to adhere to rules by not cheating and lying.

Parents were counselled to accept him unconditionally and advised that encouragement and praise should be given regularly.


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