Why do kids lie? Understanding the reasons and practical parenting solutions

Navigating the journey of growing up poses challenges, especially for children because they still are in the process of understanding the complexities of the world and assigning meaning to every facet of life. Many parents often express concerns about their children lying during the period of the transition from early childhood to adolescence. Lying becomes a common behaviour. It is important to understand the reasons behind why kids lie and what parents can do about it. “There could be various reasons for teenagers to lie like fear of punishment, seeking validation, seeking attention. Children are silent observers. They learn more by observing than by being talked to,” says Arouba Kabir, Mental Health counsellor and Founder of Enso Wellness. (Also read: Art of storytelling: 5 tips for using narrative to teach important values and life lessons to children )

Why do kids lie? Understanding the reasons and practical parenting solutions(Freepik)

Why do kids lie?

She further shared with HT Lifestyle, “Even if a parent says that I have never lied to my child or to my family member in order to seek approval or attention but if the child has seen you doing that to somebody else like your help, your relative, your colleague et cetera. They learn the strategy. Many children lie to avoid the consequences of their actions. They do not feel safe with their parents or the family and hence start making stories around the things. A lot of children live in order to avoid the disappointment that parents might feel if they tell the truth as they are trying to protect their parents. TV or OTT platforms are also a big source of learning for children nowadays. Watching content which involves could also lay the foundation of lying.”

Strategies for parents to address kids’ lying habits

1. Create a safe space: We need to create an environment where children feel safe, admitting their mistakes or thinking they are not proud of rather than sharing the repercussions. Building that trust is very important. Stop being a friend to a child, try to be a friendly parent where they feel safe to admit anything positive or negative.

2. Encourage open communication: From a very young age, help your children to identify their feelings and thoughts. Talking about the moral values, you would like to induce in your child, giving examples around them. Admitting your mistakes and the lessons you learnt from those mistakes and admitting the importance of honesty.

3. Model authenticity: Children learn by example. Demonstrating authenticity in your own actions and conversations reinforces the importance of truthfulness.

4. Focus on being patient and understanding: Since children are still figuring out things around them, it’s very important for us to be patient with them so that they can put things across while feeling safe. If a parent is being reactive or in a hurry, they might not be able to understand the underlying emotions and communicate properly. So focus on being patient and understanding rather than reacting.

5. Self-work: Parents need to work on themselves in order to be emotionally stable enough so that the child is not parenting them. A child needs to know that I can fall, make mistakes, not know certain things, cry, and my parent is there to take care of me. Guide me, teach me, accept and love me unconditionally. But parents who carry their own past baggage in their homes, start defining their self-worth through their children, which only brings pain and instability in the relationship.

Understanding why kids lie is a complex but essential aspect of parenting. By employing strategies that focus on creating a trusting environment and encouraging open communication, parents can navigate through this phase, fostering honesty and strengthening the parent-child bond.

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