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Who doesn’t lie? Yes kids do and so do adults. We as adults as our kids’ primary role models, play a vital role in showcasing honesty-instilling a deep –rooted commitment to telling the truth. Why do we lie? To get out of trouble, for personal gain, to impress or protect someone or to be polite.
Address the subject of lying in an age-appropriate way. We need to learn how to respond, not react.
Toddlers and Preschoolers (Ages 2 to 4)
Toddlers do not have a clear idea between truth and lie. Toddlers are trying to display their independence and they can make a power struggle or a battle of the wills out of any disagreement. Toddlers have difficulty expressing themselves in words. Around age 4, children become more verbal. Explain what a lie is and why it is no okay to lie. Avoid confronting the child or digging for the truth unless the situation demands more probing and more attention.
School Age and Big Kids (Ages 5 to 8)
Children at this age will tell more lies to test how they can get away with. Regulations and responsibilities are too much for children. Involve children in formulating rules and responsibilities they can follow and perform. Talk openly and empathically to the children. School age children are good observers. Provide good role modeling. Appreciate the positive behaviors of the children and encourage them to act positively.
Tweens (Ages 9 to 12)
Most children this age are on their way to formulating a hardworking, trustworthy, and conscientious identity. At the same time, they are more adept at maintaining lies. They may have strong feelings after lying. Be straightforward with your child to avoid mixed messages. Teach them how to be honest and still maintain respecting attitude. Social interactions can be very challenging at this age. Children who have an established relationship with their parents feel comfortable talking and disclosing information. Taking a moment to think about why they are lying will help you to respond to their lies more helpfully. Good role models are still crucial for your children.