5 year old lying - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 12-26-2011, 01:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter recently turned 5 and I'm heading into unfamiliar territory. She has started lying; fortunately she's not very good at it so I catch her at it and we talk about it, but I'm not sure what to do. Usually it has been about small things, but yesterday she did something biggish.

 

We were at a family Christmas gathering and her cousin left a pile of cash lying on the floor. My daughter picked it up and put it in her pocket. In the car on the way home she told me all about this big pile of cash her grandfather had given her, which is when I found out about it. I'm not sure if she knew it was her cousin's or not, but she very deliberately insisted her grandfather gave it to her, even under rigorous questioning.

 

I wasn't able to confirm with her grandfather that the money was her cousins until after my daughter fell asleep, so I haven't addressed it with my daughter yet. I'm planning on having a long conversation about stealing, how her cousin must have felt when she saw the money gone; the consequences of lying, how I'd like to be able to believe what she says is true but cannot when she lies; and have her draw an apology picture to her cousin. (And obviously giving the money back!)

 

But I'm not sure what else? I'm not big on punishment, mainly because I don't think it is effective, but the lying is really tough to handle. I know it is age appropriate to some degree, and it's not like she's always untruthful, but I do need to emphasize what a big deal this is.

 

 


Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#2 of 8 Old 12-26-2011, 03:43 PM
 
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I think what you outline above is a good idea. I'd also go a little bit further and have her personally hand the money and the apology picture to the cousin and have to apologize in person - "I'm sorry I stole your money". I'd also have her apologize to her grandfather for including him in the lie. 

 

When you talk to her, try to find out what her motive was and why she thought it was okay to take something that didn't belong to her. Knowing what caused her to do it will help inform how you handle it moving forward. 

 

Good luck - stuff like this is tough! 


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#3 of 8 Old 12-27-2011, 06:14 AM
 
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#4 of 8 Old 12-27-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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She obviously knew it wasn't okay, she even concocted a story to go along with how she got the money.  I would have her give back the money and apologize to all involved. 

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#5 of 8 Old 12-27-2011, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post

I think what you outline above is a good idea. I'd also go a little bit further and have her personally hand the money and the apology picture to the cousin and have to apologize in person - "I'm sorry I stole your money". I'd also have her apologize to her grandfather for including him in the lie. 

 

When you talk to her, try to find out what her motive was and why she thought it was okay to take something that didn't belong to her. Knowing what caused her to do it will help inform how you handle it moving forward. 

 

Good luck - stuff like this is tough! 

 

We had a good talk. I started by telling her I knew where it had come from and was giving her another opportunity to be truthful this time. She was very nervous but told me what happened. She did know the money was her cousin and said she took it because she was jealous that her cousin got more money than she did and that her cousin had an iPod. I told her I was very glad that she was honest and showed amazing self-awareness for why she took the money (more than I was expecting; I thought maybe she just saw it lying there and grabbed it). She apologized, I apologized, and we talked about how to handle jealousy. 

 

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Originally Posted by ChitownTracy View Post

I only have a minute. the book Nurture Shock has changed the way I view kids & lying.  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112292248  (scroll down to the 2nd part of the article)  Here's a great quote from it: We may treasure honesty, but the research is clear. Most classic strategies to promote truthfulness just encourage kids to be better liars.


I read that about a year ago, but it was good to read it again. It affirms that punishing her isn't going to help. But... it also seems like this is something that we'll be dealing with over and over. Not necessarily this scenario, but if 96% of children lie to their parents, I doubt this will be the only time this happens. 

 

 

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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

She obviously knew it wasn't okay, she even concocted a story to go along with how she got the money.  I would have her give back the money and apologize to all involved. 


That's what we've done. I knew she knew the money wasn't hers, I just wasn't sure she knew it was her cousin's. I originally thought she might not steal from her cousin because she looks up to her, but given the level of jealousy she was dealing with (5 times as much money, a iPod touch,  just to name a few), it makes sense.

 

 


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#6 of 8 Old 12-27-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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Well the big green eyed monster strikes us all.  Little kids want things and know that really unless it's given to them there is no way for them to get it.  If you think about it, it kind of sucks.  I know adults who can't admit when they have done something wrong or even say why they did it.  I think it shows a lot that she did tell you and she told you why.  I would have a hard to going through with having her apologize to everyone involved now.  I mean she's 5 and 5 is so cute...  Ok I'm obviously to wishy washy to get advice from so good luck.

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#7 of 8 Old 12-27-2011, 06:41 PM
 
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I'm glad this one worked out so well and that she was honest with you. And man, jealousy - that's the worst. But you're helping her cope with jealousy and that's the thing to do - address the root cause and not just the effect. 


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#8 of 8 Old 01-23-2012, 06:23 AM
 
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Hi all,

 

Have recently had this experience with my 5 yo son and realized that the lying is also associated with fear i.e. fear of being reprimanded. A useful tool I used was what I called 'the listening ear' - I role play to help my kids talk freely without being afraid of being judged/told off and just listen. It's an interesting experiment - my 3 yo usually just responds with things like "I want chocolate every day" but it worked to some extent with the lying especially.I have started to incorporate into our daily night time routine.

 

We also, like some of you noted above, talked a bit about jealousy and wanting things that other people have and made a wish list for things that my kids wanted that they could choose from when a special occasion arose.

 

It's hard to know how to best deal with it, especially considering the long term repercussions.

 

Thanks so much for sharing, it really helps to know that other mamas are going through similar situations!

 

Keep smiling :-)


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