Behavior & Development • Nov 18, 2016

Sick of Your Child Lying? This is How to Make it Stop.

Has your child been lying to you lately? If so, it might not be as big of a problem as you think.

In this episode of Mom Docs, Dr. Dehra Harris, a Pediatric Psychiatrist with Washington University at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, shares some insight on why children lie and what you can do about it.

If your child has been lying to you, it’s important to take the age of the child into consideration. In young children, lying marks the beginning of imagination, which is a normal developmental stage. Your child’s lying only becomes a problem when it’s part of a persistent pattern.

If your situation involves your child lying often, try these tactics:

Approach your child and, without getting emotional, present the information you know to be true. For example, if your child took money off the countertop, you can say, “There is money missing from the counter top. I need you to help me figure this out.”

This approach leaves room for two different outcomes:
#1. Your child lets you know what happened and they explain their story.
#2. You inform them that you know what happened and they do not admit they lied.

While both of these situations deserve a consequence, the second should be greater. Repeating this method when your child lies can help put the problem behind you.