EPIC Blog: When Children Lie - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: When Children Lie

July 10th, 2023 l Author: Gabriela Aretis, MSW (edited by Michele Rogan)

Teaching children the importance of telling the truth and showing it through example is crucial in learning and development. Between the ages of 4 and 6, a child typically goes through a time of exploring the outcomes of lying vs. telling the truth. They may push the boundaries and lie about something that happened at school or what they did at daycare, and this can pose some difficulties for a parent. For children that have been through challenging experiences that could have hindered development, these phases can sometimes come later, last longer, or be more challenging to navigate.


There Is Typically A Reason Behind the Lying

The first thing to remember is that there is typically a reason behind the lying. This child is requiring a need that they may not know how to express. They might be acting out of fear in response to a previous incident, or need attention and think this is the only way they can receive it. This is where you as a parent have an opportunity to connect with your child and discover what that need behind the behavior is. Once you know the need, be sure to encourage ways your child can express themselves other than lying. Because of burnout or frustration, it’s easy to simply ignore the lying comments, but this will not encourage truth telling in the future. Let your child know you want to work together and show them how much joy there is when you can meet their needs without lying. When you see improvements and notice less lying, make sure your child feels celebrated for that. Let them know how much you appreciate their trust and enjoy connecting on a deeper level with them. This positive response will encourage truth-telling on a more regular basis.


Be An Example For Your Child

Your child is watching and learning at an incredible rate through your actions and words. Being an example is the most important thing you can do for your child. Following through on actions you’ve verbalized, showing kindness to others, and having integrity with your actions will model the behavior you want your child to show. Even amidst the truth-telling curiosity or lying phases that a child goes through, continue to love your child, just as Christ loves us in spite of our sinful nature.

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  – 1 Peter 4:8

Looking for a family activity that can stir up great conversations surrounding the value of honesty? Click here for a downloadable handout.