Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

When Kids Learn to Lie

Kid lieParenting is akin to enrolling yourself in a school. Everyday springs new surprises and has lessons to offer, wise parents keep learning and moving on. Often, parents feel shocked when they learn that their otherwise honest and truthful child has begun to experiment with lies. While some lies are innocuous and are products of overactive imagination, there are some, which are spoken intentionally. Now, there is a good and bad news attached to it—the good news is that the child has become grown up enough to tamper with facts to wriggle out of awkward situations like an adult to save his skin and the bad news is that he has learned to lie.

‘Though, Suhana never lied to me’, says Anchal about her seven-year-old daughter, these days I often catch her lying to me without batting an eyelid. “Agreed, her lies are not big and are usually in response to the questions that she prefers to avoid, yet lying is not good”, says the worried mother.

Why kids lie?

Lying is a symptom and it calls for parental affection and concern. Eight-year-old Sagarika complained of unexplained aches and pains in her leg just before the Kathak class. The pains would last only for an hour. Her mother insisted on taking her to the class and sat through out the session. She found that Sagarika was not able to dance like the older girls in her class and felt de-motivated for this reason. When she joined the class meant for girls of her age group, she became the star dancer and her pains vanished. ‘Now, in fact, she looks forward to her Kathak class’, says the beaming mother.

Sometimes what we call lying is just a figment of imagination. Kids live in make-believe world and their thoughts correspond accordingly.
Many a time unknowingly parents introduce their children to the web of lies. What do we expect our children to learn when we ask our spouse, friend or staff to answer a phone call for us and concoct an excuse for us. The impressionable minds of children are quick to learn that adults tamper with facts, and so can they.

Often, parents tend to attach strings to their love towards the child. Sometimes this can coerce your child to tamper with truth because s/he wants to conform to the standards set by parents. Manisha, a mother of two children shares her childhood memory, “When I was young, once I scored less marks in Maths. Studies were of paramount importance in my family. Hence, I lied to my parents that I have scored well, but I have misplaced my report card because it would reveal my lies.”

Also, if you find that your child experiments with lies make them understand that lies erode trust. Have faith in your children and try to get to the root of lying; you might find a fear lurking there.

Dr. Jitender Nagpal, psychiatrist, Moolchand Medcity says

  • Refrain from scolding your children. Parents should always encourage children so that their morale gets boosted.
  • Basic discipline should be developed among children in order to make them a good citizen.
  • Love and affection should be present all the time to make out a happy and healthy family.
  • There should be clarity in communication between the parents and children.
  • A disciplined family’s pattern goes hand in hand to develop a child.
  • And very importantly a communication agreement should be followed in a family, i.e. the mother and the father should agree and clarify all the rules and regulations before going to discipline a child.

As kids grow they become more independent and want to exert that too. Often lying becomes an escape route to wriggle out. Try to see them the reason behind your questions and they are likely to conform to your expectations.

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