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How to handle lying (about hurting sibling)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any suggections about what to do when 4 year old ds lies about hurting 15 mo old ds?

This morning the boys went out into the back yard and closed the door, I was following but stopped to get something, and before i got out there the little one was lying on the floor crying. I'm pretty sure the older one pushed him, but didn't see it so I don't know for sure. When I asked him what happened he said he doesn't know. Then he starts making things up ("maybe he bumped his head on the table ... maybe he walked backwards into the table ... etc)

Finally after sending him to his room, I get the story that Peter was ringing the bell on Nick's trike, Nick moved the trike quickly away and knocked Peter over.

But maybe this isn't the truth either? Did he just settle for what I wanted to hear? even though it ment getting his trike put away?

What could I do differently (beside don't let the baby out of my sight, I know that's what I supposed to do.)
post #2 of 13
Sorry I don't have any advice.....
We are having similar issues here, and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say!!
12 m old will start to scream (she screams about everything) and I will say "DS, why is baby screaming?" Some times he will say "she tripped over the (whatever is on the floor)", "she needs help with (whatever)" or "she bonked her head/arm/leg", but most of the time I get "she was just sitting there and all the sudden she just hit herself" or he will blame his stuffed animals or cars and I get the popular "I don't know".
It's impossible to look at them every minute to be sure they play nicely!
When they are 4 do they understand they are lieing? Or is it the whole magical thinking thing?
rsps and I both would like advice!!!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
my favorite (though he hasn't said this recently) is "the aliens did it"
post #4 of 13
We are going through the same thing with almost 5 yo and 2 yo. I think that alot of the lying is because they are into imagination, and inmagined situations are so real to them. In their heads they can make up a story and they really think that is what happened.

When I think my son is lying a remind him that we can't make up stories when someone gets hurt, that is called lying, and we have to tell what actually happened to make sure everyone is okay.

Also, asking how come instead of why works better. I.e. "How come she is crying?" Instead of "Why is she crying?" This seems to make them actually stop and think about it instead of just replying I don't know or because...

Anyways, while I always reprimand if I know he is lying, I know that it isn't malicious so I try to not worry about it too much.

- Chelsea
post #5 of 13
I too look forward to hearing everyones suggestions! My oldest has a tendency of...oh, tripping his sister. Then he'll say "I don't know how she fell?" or knocking her down and say "I think she slipped".

Like all of you, I don't want him to think I mistrust him. What I've found helpfull is to give him my full attention and say "you know I trust you to tell me the truth. If you tripped your sister, you need to let me know so that we can help her" If he still won't tell me the truth I let it be. Later when I'm tucking him into bed, he'll usually tell me what happened and we'll talk about it again.

I was accused of lying as a child and remember being punished for things I didn't do, so I'm really sensetive to this issue. Thus far, I've been able to assure him of my trust and he's eventually come to me with the truth. My hope is that he'll grow to trust me more and more. I think lying starts because children don't want to disapoint us, they want to please us. If we get angry about the lying, they just feel worse.
post #6 of 13
I think that 4 is too young to really understand about telling the truth. I think that they have a hard time understanding the difference between what they WANT to be true, and what really is true. When similar things come up for us, I gentle explain about the truth and know that eventually they will understand. Both my kids can talk, so I get to hear 2 different stories about what happened!

I try to emphasis that we need to make sure the hurt person is OK and give them lots and lots of love. I think this is appropriate no matter what happened.

I don't push the "say your sorry", "don't hurt your sister" blah blah stuff unless I know exactly what happened.
post #7 of 13
We've found it beneficial to used the same phrase "Always speak the truth" when our ds may be lying. It doesn't accuse him of doing anything wrong, but still reminds him what is right. He'll be 4 in May and so far he very rarely lies. At the least, we hope that when he's grown up he'll have our voices in his head repeating thousands of times "Always speak the truth".

Also, this only works if you always speak the truth as well. I do mean always, which isn't easy, but if you ever justify lying in front of your kids then that is what they will learn.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks for the ideas everyone.
post #9 of 13
I once heard a friend of mine tell her son " It's your job to tell the truth and it's my job to believe you" At first I had a little trouble with this as it seemed to put too much power into his little hands. Then I heard her add, "And right now I'm having a hard time doing my job. Can you help me understand this better so I can do my part?"
It seems to take some of the sting out of the situation of not believing them and lets them know that the truth is important for both parent and child. This kind of dialogue is especially great when you find out that they were in fact telling the truth, because you have not accused them of lying!
post #10 of 13
I'm going through this now too - and think two things have been working -

- make up your own extremely silly reason and then say hmmm... what do you think? (only If I have lots of time and patience)

- say - "I will not get upset - what happened?"
post #11 of 13
I tried the "Tell me what happened I won't be upset" but Ds just looks at me blankly.
I tried to explain to him what lying is...I dont think he really understands it yet. I showed him his stuffed cat and gave it a smack with another animal. The I asked him what happened. He was able to tell me that I hit the cat with the animal and the animal did not just leap up and do it. Then I told him that that was the truth and if I said the animal did it that would be a lie. He seemed to have a better grasp on it then. Since then he has not told me something else hit her. Now he says "a baby toy fell on her head"! Or even worse he seems to smack her right on the face just to hear the sound it makes!!! AARRGGHH!
I have been putting him on our bed to "think about what has happened". He hates to be away from everyone, and seems truely sorry (even hugging his sister unprompted and saying sorry), but does it again anyway!
He has a VeggieTales video I got from the library that tells what lies are, and how it makes people sad when you are mean, but he just is too little to get it I think. I'm waiting for him to tell me she needs to forgive him for hitting her!
post #12 of 13
serenetabbie, I was extremely disturbed by your post. If you've got a 4 year old hitting a baby in the face "just to hear what sound it makes", I think there's a serious anger problem in your home. Or does he watch a lot of fantasy TV and really not have the concept, at 4 years old, that hitting someone in the face will hurt and is wrong? Don't take this as criticism please, but consider getting some professional help if your child is frequently violent to another child. It's not a phase. It's a cry for help.
post #13 of 13
Kids at this age are learning about cause and effect, and are beginning to learn that there are other people in the world - This leads to empathy and sympathy - but also to testing actions, to see if the other person feels and thinks too. Control issues come up now as well.

at this age kids will scare, yell at, pinch, hit, bite, slap, pour water on, kiss, hug, tickle, undress, etc. Not only happy things will occur in this quest to understand that others are just like us.

It is our job to explain that most living things have pain receptors - that their actions can be controlled, and that almost everyone goes through it.

This age is also the time most believe that shame and guilt are first experienced - a scary time for kids.
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