Lately my four-and-a-half-year old has started lying about everything… washing his hands after using the bathroom, saying he didn’t play with a certain toy when I ask him to pick it up. What can I do to get him to understand why he should tell the truth?
I would say you have been lucky until now as children usually figure out how to lie around age three-and-a-half.
Most young children go through this stage at some time. But don’t be alarmed. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing a bad job as a parent. It does mean that you have to know when it’s a lie, and when it’s the truth. I once told a child I was nannying that every time she lied a red spot would appear on her nose. Then whenever she lied to me she would hold her hand on her nose! Busted.
Tell your child stories about how serious lies can be and reassure him or her that no matter what happens, the truth is always better. Emphasize how proud you will always be when your child tells the truth, even if the truth might get him a time out!
Published in August 2010