Born to lie??

Well, I know that there are a lot  of professional liars out there. Politicians, for example, are one big sham after another. Anyone who tries to make everyone happy all of the time has to be a liar, otherwise it simply can’t be done. But remember, all of you out there, your lies always catch up with you, eventually.

This topic came to me the other day, when my four-year-old told me (what I’ve since learned is) a “defensive” lie. She didn’t want to get in trouble. I did my research and found that this is a common problem. As I thought more about the subject, however, I remembered that she has lied to me before, but I let the little ones go, back then. I figured that this was a natural part of childhood and I ignored it in the hopes that she would lie less if I didn’t warrant them much attention. As she gets older, I realize that this is absurd. Why should lying be a natural part of childhood? Because they see so many adults do it? Or is it ingrained? I would love to understand the neuroscience of it, and I promise there will be a follow-up, as soon as I do some research. I wanted to get the emotional part of it off of my chest and help other parents deal with the urge their four-year-olds probably feel to lie and make up stories.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain

This is one of my favorite quotes. Period. It’s so succinct.

I’ve learned that children (especially around this age) make up crazy, fantastic stories rather often. I also found a couple of wonderful solutions from a seasoned mother of six. It’s difficult for kids, at this age, to distinguish reality from fantasy. When this occurs and they tell a ridicullous story as though it were true, you have a couple of options. It’s important not to be too harsh; let them know better without making them feel like they’re crazy. You can join in. If your child says s/he saw a bear on the racetrack when s/he was driving his/her race car (real life example, by the way), you can say something like, “Oh, yeah, me too. He was big and fluffy and yellow…”. It forces them to face the fact that they made it up, even if they do start to wonder about your sanity. Or, you can gently redirect, by injecting bits of reality into the fantasy. Using the same story, you can ask something like, “Oh my gosh, did the bear jump off the racetrack when he saw you?”.

With defensive lies, the best thing to do is to sit down with your child and make him/her admit to the misdeed. It’s the most positive and effective way to correct the behavior.

I, honestly, wish we were hard-wired not to lie. But, then again, I’m pretty damn lofty, that way.


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