She cut off a chunk of her hair, walked up to me with scissors in one hand and hair in the other and said with a straight face that she got her hair caught on something and it must have ripped out. Insisted this is what happened even when questioned.
Flat out denied having drawn on her dollhouse and walls, heard me assume out loud that her younger brother had done it and said nothing, then completely denied it even after I discovered more coloring in which she had spelled out her name repeatedly.
(FWIW, these two episodes were pretty out of character for her-she is 5 and never even did this stuff when she was smaller. I have been pretty busy and stressed out lately and am sure this is adding to the problem, plus her 2-year-old bro is a handful and I'm sure she has witnessed how he gets a lot of attention, albeit negative attention, from acting out in similar ways.)
There are more similar episdoes-clear cut evidence that she has done something she is not supposed to, but she completely denies it over and over again, even when faced with said evidence. She will eventually cave in and admit it, but only when "threatened" with something (i.e. losing a favorite activity etc., which I would prefer not to do)!
Is this a normal stage? How should I handle it? I have explained over and over again how when she lies, I have a hard time believing her other times, how I am more upset about the lying than the original problem, etc., but it seems not to be making a difference. It really upsets me and I'm sure she knows it and it is making the situation worse for both of us. Help!
I think around 4 or something, kids discover that there are multiple ways of answering a question...My 4.5 year old recently started doing this. For example, I ask him if he washed his hands after he went to the bathroom. And sometimes he says yes, when I know I didn't hear the water running. I think partially he's curious to see is Mom really omniscient? Or he's playing a little trick...like teasing...
Definitely it's a phase to discover the possibilities. I think the key is not to ask when you know the answer. If she cut off a chunk of her hair, either out of curiosity or boredom, you could just say "Oh I see you cut a lock of your hair"...and leave it at that (or were you really upset about it?). Or if there's drawing on the wall, everyone participates in cleaning it up, because we're one family and we have to clean up after everyone. Don't give her a chance to lie, and remove the motivation ... meaning the "remediation" applies to everyone, whether it's cleaning up or putting scissors away so that no one's hair can get snagged.
Also, I read that at that age, kids will often say what they wish was the truth...like my son says "I'm faster than any race car."