How do you handle lying? My 5yo is really using this to her advantage. She will lie to get out of trouble, to get something she wants, and sometimes for no reason I can see other than amusement. It started at 4, but instead of mostly stopping by the time she was 5 (as it did with DD1), it is getting worse all the time.
Obviously, if she's lying to get out of trouble, I stress that I want the truth, and don't come down hard on her when I get it. Often, she still will not speak up. Lying to get something she wants - one example is telling me that a barrette (actually borrowed from her sister) was given to her by her teacher that day at school. (She has a really good poker face and can concoct some amazingly believable stories, at least for DD1 and I.) In this case, the lie lets her keep the barrette, and the truth would result in having to give it up.
With DD1, I did a lot of talking about how important it is for people to believe what you say, etc, etc - the whole truth-as-an-important-principle idea. It worked great. However, this has no effect whatsoever on DD2. Who cares about principles when you can get stuff you want more easily with a lie?
Our current situation is a battle over school lunch vs home lunch. She really likes the school lunches, but I prefer to pack lunch for the girls most of the time. We had settled on 1 school lunch every other week, and that was going well. On Monday, I was too sick to pack lunch, and they got a "free pass" for school lunch. I packed lunch Tuesday. Wed, our kitchen water had been turned off since Tues mid-day, so I said they could have school lunch again. Unfortunately, I didn't unpack to wash the lunchboxes until too late, and discovered that she hadn't touched her packed lunch. When she went to school that morning, she told them she was getting school lunch. The same thing happened Friday. The consequence for this one, I think, is that she will not be getting school lunch any more, and the school knows about it so she can't lie to them in the morning.
It has gotten to the point where I don't know what to believe from her anymore. She is telling me that some kids at school are teasing her about her new haircut, and I've been sympathetic, but I have to say I'm not even sure that story is true. She comes home with some crazy and not-so-crazy stories, and I no longer no when she's telling me the truth. This is a really hard spot to be in, not being able to trust anything she says. Please help!
I see plenty of kids lie to get out of trouble(so know that it's normal:)) and that is one of the big reasons I don't use punishment/consequences with my kids. With the "getting in trouble" removed, it seems to make owning up easier. I think you've got the school lunch covered as you can just let them know she can only buy on every other Tuesday or whatever. Perhaps she would like some input or even like to help pack her lunch from home.
As for a situation like the barrette she obviously likes it and if you know it's not hers you could say something like "that is a pretty barrette and you wish your teacher gave it to you but it belongs to your sister." Then perhaps explain how she could ask to borrow it next time.
It will take some time but if dealt with gently I bet it will pass.
Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS
Lying is a sympton for poor coping skills , a lack of the skills needed to persue one's interests in appropriate ways. Ross Greene - the collaborative problem solving approach says that ' children do well if they can '. I think we need to look at her lacking skills in the context of her unmet needs and her concerns.Take the lunch box issues - try to understand her concerns , what about your lunches is the problem - school lunches are a solution to a problem - what is the problem , the school lunch is just one solution , lets try find other mutually satisfying solutions
Imho don't make the fuss over lying but try to show her that by talking you and her can work things out.
I read about a mom who was really confused about her daughter lying when it was so obvious she was not telling the truth - then the mom clicked and said to the kid - I think I understand - you want so much that it will be yours , that you say it is yours - and the kid answered yes .
Collaborative problem solving is a process not a technique , there is always some learning on the way , but it takes time
I agree with Mom2grrls. With the "getting into trouble" thing removed, the lying isn't needed as a defense mechanism. We don't punish in our house, and the occasions for "consequences" are pretty few & far between, and usually related to the offense pretty closely. As a result, our child is shockingly up front about when he does something wrong. I mean, he will tell us he did something wrong, without our ever having suspected it! It's pretty cool. But that's because he is not afraid of our reactions or what will happen to him. And I very much want to keep it that way. We always say "I am glad you were honest with me," keeping our reactions really calm & level-headed, so he's neither frightened by a negative reaction nor encouraged by "getting our goat." I figure it this way....someday he's going to get into trouble and need our help, and I don't want him afraid to come to us.
Another thing I've heard that parents sometimes do, is they will come into the room and say something like, "OK, which one of you created this mess?!" and the kids are thus on the defensive and start to try and weasel out of it, blame the other, etc. I can't remember what book it was that I read, which said instead you could say "I see a very big mess in here; who knows what we can do to clean it up?" In other words, the blame is removed. Why would the parent need to know who did it? What would be the point of that?
Anyway that is something that might be considered, going forward. Obviously you have the situation now to deal with. I'd talk to her about trust. A few times our son has made things up (and immediately confessed! LOL), and I look him in the eye and say gently that if he makes things up a lot, how will I be able to trust him? "You want me to believe you when you say things, right? Well then I need you to tell me the truth." And even now (he just turned 8) we talk about the concept of credibility, and if a person lies they have no credibility when they speak. He gets it.
As for your daughter, say for instance she is lying about the school lunch, presumably because what they're offering seems better to her than what you packed? You could try problem-solving with her. What I'd probably do is say that if she hates her lunch then she ought to be more involved in helping you decide on a lunch that's healthy that she will eat. And that the way to feel good about herself is to be a problem-solver, and to be honest. (instead of phrasing it negatively, like "If you lie, you will feel ashamed...." I always think things should be phrased in the positive)
My son had lunch troubles too at his class last week. I packed him a lunch, and found out later that he had been going around asking all the other kids for money so he could buy a treat instead! How embarrassing! After that, I told the teacher that he was not to buy any treats and that I packed him a perfectly big lunch, he was not about to starve, and if he doesn't like it, he can wait till I get him after class (we're homeschoolers and it's only a 1.5 hour class). I told him that he needs to find a way to cope. Or eat what I gave him. :-)
Another time about a year and a half ago he made up a huge, elaborate and untrue story (and told it at Kung Fu class) about a family trip we took. To the bottom of the sea!!! But it was so preposterous that the teachers and the kids got a big kick out of his creativity. LOL. He made up a few stories like that, but it was clearly a test of his imagination so I didn't get nutty about it, and it passed.
I think some kids say stuff they wish was true longer than others. On the surface it seems like a lie, but the intent is trying to change reality not deceiving someone else. I do think it's normal for young children to say something they wish was true and not really understand that it's like lying. I don't think all 5 and 6 year olds realize how inflexible reality is yet. My 5 year old DD is so into imaginary friends of various kinds and their adventures that I don' t expect truthful factual answers all the time. My DD doesn't usually deny doing things wrong on the contrary she usually volunteers information about anything she's done that she feels she shouldn't have. But she was also going on and on about how wonderful 'rat stew' taste all weekend. We don't do punishment either and we don't have many situations were she can get in trouble. But her fantasy world is quite real still.
I have also been the lecturing angry parent back when my 24 year old DD was 6. My older DD told me that she didn't bring a lizard into my car, that it must have been hiding on her doll's clothing. The story was a physical impossibility. I didn't understand that small kids can say something they want to be true and then sort of believe it. That some of them don't have the concept of an inflexible concrete reality down yet. So I went into the whole importance of truth and trust lecture.
I hope you don't think that when I mentioned the possibility of trust and telling the truth, that I was advocating a "truth and trust lecture." To the contrary. No lectures; just gentle and honest talking, person to person, with no condemnation attached.
If this were my child-
After hearing the amazingly creative story-telling ability, I would most likely smile, then I would tell my dd that I understand that she must really love her sister's barrette and ask if she'd like one like it.
I don't understand how your dd lied about the school lunch. She decided in her mind that she wanted school lunch, and told the teacher (probably when asked), "Yes, I am eating the school lunch today." She most likely doesn't understand (at five years old), the concept of money. Lunch, is most likely seen as a choice. I know that at my dds' school, kids that bring lunch from home are teased. If that is the case, she most likely is trying to avoid that also. I'm not sure why she can't eat the school lunch. Does she have certain allergies?
It sounds like your dd has a very fun imagination. I would concentrate on getting her to start writing some short stories. You could type them for her, and that would keep her creativity flowing.
I didn't think that. I was just comparing my current parenting style to my old less informed one. And also saying I understand being upset about perceived lying in young children.