It’s a developmental milestone when a child learns to lie. Researchers have found that most children reach this milestone by age 3. Lying only makes sense once children realize that the information they have is different than the information other people have.
The early lies are usually very easy to see through. A child with chocolate on her face will claim she did not just eat a piece of candy. A child will accidentally knock over a glass of juice and then claim he didn’t spill it. In these cases, it’s better to just state the truth as you see it. For example, “I see you spilled juice. Do you know how to use a rag to clean it up or would you like help?”
As children get older, they’ll see many examples of adults lying. Instead of ignoring these lies, it can be helpful to discuss them with your children. The reasons adults lie are often the same reasons kids lie.
I just heard a radio announcer discussing the Greg Mortenson Three Cups of Tea debacle ask “How factual does the truth have to be?” He then paused, thought about what he just said and replied “It’s the truth so it should be factually accurate.”
While he made me laugh out loud, he also made me question the kind of example we are we setting for our children when “the truth” is such an elusive concept.