Why do kids lie? They aren’t very good at it and frankly they often get caught, consequently sending their parent into a tailspin. More importantly, will the lie manifest itself into something else later? I was talking to a friend recently who was discussing whether her 8-year-old son’s lying would turn into cheating, and then to stealing! I assured her that her sweet boy would grow out of it and he is probably just trying to get a little attention or a rise out of her.
Even my baby girl will look me dead in my face and tell me she didn’t do something. For example, we hung brand new blinds in my oldest son’s room and shortly thereafter I walk in there only to find orange and blue marker tagged all over them — ‘Mommy, I didn’t do it,’ she says. Then about 3 weeks ago I found pencil marks on his wall… blank stare. ‘Mommy, I didn’t do it,’ she says. Little girl, please. Dude, the marker is at your height level! And why do you insist on trashing out his room? Seriously?
Of course when I ask her why she lied she doesn’t have an answer for me. I tell her no one likes a liar and that liars turn into bad people, but it goes in one ear and right out the other. At home we call her “Denise the Menace,” but ultimately we want her to understand that this behavior is not good. I’m convinced this is a phase as all the textbooks say that compulsive lying is an underlying message for other things like low self-esteem and the need for attention. Both of which I don’t think are the case as we reinforce her all the time.
Another friend told me that when her daughter was 5 she told her teachers and the class that her mom was pregnant (only she wasn’t). So her mom goes to school and everyone is congratulating her, and now she is thinking, ‘Am I fat? Damn, that’s rude.’ Come to find out her little girl wanted a sibling and figured if she said it out loud it would happen (do not even think of saying Awwww to that one). Lord knows Black folks do not like their business out in the street, true or not.
Last story, I promise: I have another friend whose 8-year-old daughter’s neighbor told her she met Katy Perry (EPIC LIE!!) only because she knows my friend works for a magazine and meets celebrities. She wanted to one-up her.
What I know is that kids’ lies run the gamut and range in size. We all hope they don’t rage too far out of control or turn into a compulsive thing that must be watched. My advice is to be two steps ahead at all times and let them know you’ve got their number. Never let them think they got one over on you or you can forget it — you will have what I like to call a #mommyfail.
What is the worst lie your child has ever told? Can you laugh about it now?