5 year old and lies? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-01-2010, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quick question--

What's an appropriate punishment for lying when the age is 5? DD told a whopper at dinner the other night (Her teacher said we HAD to buy her a new magnet doll for school that week) and beyond talking to her, DH feels a punishment is in order. I'm torn and just not sure what's appropriate beyond a talking to about honesty.

Your thoughs appreciated!
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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Personally, I'd skip the punishment. I think most young kids lie because they haven't sorted out the difference between fantasy and reality, and they think that by saying something is so they can make it BE so. I'm not sure how true that is by the time they're 5, but I'd expect it to be true of most 3 or 4 year olds. And I imagine that figuring it out is something of an ongoing process, so it seems like a hard line to draw at age 5.

Beyond that, I don't think that punishing will go far to stopping the behaviour. IMO it's more likely to just make her a better liar.

I'd probably have a talk about trust and why it's a bad idea to lie. But then I'm not much into "punishing" in general, and while of course I'd prefer my children not lie to me, it's not something that especially pushes my buttons.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree. Dh is not coming from the same place, I have to find a compromise.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:48 PM
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Give your DH information on normal childhood development and then tell him that arbitrarily doing something mean to your DD because she doesn't yet have a clear idea about the difference between pretend and actual reality is bad for her and your relationship with her.

It's probably good your DD doesn't have a really wild imagination because all the stories about my almost 5 year DD tells would really upset your DH. She has imaginary friends, siblings and pets. Also sometimes my DD is a dragon. So when she tells us something happened, we have to figure out which reality it occurred in, hers or the rest of the worlds. Lying is about deceiving not about saying something you wish was true or sharing your fantasy world. Instead of even talking about honesty you should probably just have more age appropriate expectations.
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Old 10-01-2010, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are actually a family of writers, so good imaginations all around.

No, this was just a lie. She told us that her teacher said we need to buy her specific doll for school this week.

It was a dumb little lie, but not an over-active imagination.

I'm struggling as to what a natural consequence would be? DH doesn't want to beat her with a stick or anything, but he does want to impress upon her that lying is not acceptable behavior.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Give your DH information on normal childhood development and then tell him that arbitrarily doing something mean to your DD because she doesn't yet have a clear idea about the difference between pretend and actual reality is bad for her and your relationship with her.

It's probably good your DD doesn't have a really wild imagination because all the stories about my almost 5 year DD tells would really upset your DH. She has imaginary friends, siblings and pets. Also sometimes my DD is a dragon. So when she tells us something happened, we have to figure out which reality it occurred in, hers or the rest of the worlds. Lying is about deceiving not about saying something you wish was true or sharing your fantasy world. Instead of even talking about honesty you should probably just have more age appropriate expectations.
great post!
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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There is no "natural" consequence. How about instead of trying to come up with a punishment just say to her-we talked to your teacher and you don't need this doll for school, is it something you really wanted? Then perhaps go on to explain that the next time she sees something she really wants to write it down on a wish list, for a holiday or birthday. Just b/c she lies about a doll does not mean lying will becaome a habit.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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Old 10-02-2010, 01:24 AM
 
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I'm picturing your DD telling her teacher about something she wants and the teacher saying (without even thinking about her response or the consequence of it), "Yes, your parents *should* buy you that doll."

Have you talked to the teacher about it to see if she has any information? I think communication is the best tool in figuring out what to do. After that I would consider how long the problem has been going on. Is this the first time in a long time she has said something like this that made you want to serve a consequence? How did you handle it before if it has happened? Maybe this is the time that you explain to her that there are consequences. I have found that usually when I say something like, "Oh really?? Okay, give me a moment to call so-and-so and I'll just check in with them about it." And that gives the child the opportunity to say....."uh, uh....actually...." If it is a lie and then they learn that its not so easy to lie in the first place because its difficult to get over on you.
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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That's an interesting little lie. I agree with PPs who said this is an experiment she's trying out. I am also kind of tempted to think there may have been something said at school that may have contributed to this idea of hers.

I think there are plenty of natural consequences here. You and DH are upset with her and worried that she is lying. You and DH are slightly at odds over what to do. These are all heavy things. (not meaning to sound like a total hippie!)

We've always faced any lying head on -- we don't ever try to "catch" DC in a lie and I always pretty bluntly say if I think she's not telling the truth. Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes I think DC thinks I have magical powers. Sometimes DC is confused.

If my instincts told me that DC was outright lying I would have just said, "That is untrue. I know your teacher would not say that. You are either confused or not telling the truth." If I really wanted to drive the point home and be a bit "punish-y" I would follow by saying, "I don't appreciate you trying to tick me into buying a toy...it makes me pretty angry, actually." Hearing that from mama would be more than enough punishment, IMO.

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Old 10-02-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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Well, she's broken your trust. How can she earn it back again? Is there something she can do to be trustworthy? If I were going to impose a consequence for this (not sure I would), that's where I'd start.

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Old 10-04-2010, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
We've always faced any lying head on -- we don't ever try to "catch" DC in a lie and I always pretty bluntly say if I think she's not telling the truth. Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes I think DC thinks I have magical powers. Sometimes DC is confused.

If my instincts told me that DC was outright lying I would have just said, "That is untrue. I know your teacher would not say that. You are either confused or not telling the truth." If I really wanted to drive the point home and be a bit "punish-y" I would follow by saying, "I don't appreciate you trying to tick me into buying a toy...it makes me pretty angry, actually." Hearing that from mama would be more than enough punishment, IMO.
Thanks for this! Your post made me laugh too...heavy, indeed!

Anyway, magical power-wise I did see right through it, it was the most ridiculous lie. She looked over at the doll she has and I could literally see the gears turning in her head when she then told me that her teacher said we needed to buy her another doll in the playseries. Then DH and I pressed her on it, but she insisted she needed a new one for school. So I sent a note to the teacher just to ask if she actually did need to bring in this particular doll, or any doll for that matter, and the teacher responded no. I am 99.9% sure they did not have any conversation about it. I think she just thought it was an expedient way to get us to buy her something she wanted at that moment. That said, once she got into the lie, I do think she started to believe it. And I agree with most of the posts about development and how lying is normal, but it is important to me that we do what we can to help her understand the difference between the truth and a lie.

Anyway, we just ended up having A Serious Discussion about lying. I'm sure it will happen again and then DH will feel convinced that she is one step away from juvie if we don't intervene.
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