How To Tell If Your Kids Are Lying?

A rare (and posed) sight
A rare (and posed) sight

My kids have gotten into this great groove playing together. They have been known to disappear into one of their bedrooms, close the door and play alone for a good amount of time. Sometimes I hear that tell tale screeching that tells me the older one is doing something the younger one does not like at all. I know I’m in trouble when I see them walking away quickly and I hear my four year old say quietly to my two year old, “You’re right, that’s a great idea, let’s go do that!” I usually let them run with whatever they’re planning. It often involves building things or playing some sort of pretend. These kids have great imaginations and haven’t done anything irreversible yet. I now the drawing on walls, furniture or carpet or an unexpected haircut might come some day.

There have been two occasions in the last few weeks that have concerned me. The first time, I came into the little one’s room to find every. single. toy. in her crib. I’m talking every puzzle piece, every stuffed animal, everything not nailed down was piled into the crib. And it was 10 minutes before bedtime. I might have yelled a little. When I asked, “who did this?” the big one says the little did it and the little one admits she did it but says the big one helped. I figure they both did it, but the four year old assures me she did not help. Ultimately, my husband came home and had the big one clean it up with him because she didn’t come get us to tell us what was happening. I disagreed with this and felt that we all should have helped, but oh well. I made sure to thank her for helping clean up, just in case she wasn’t lying.

Fast forward a week or so and the four year old is smiling ear to ear telling me there is a surprise in the little one’s room. We head in and it’s water everywhere. Her sippy cup leaks and had been shaken so that there were drops of water on every surface and all over the floor. Again, the little one says they both did it and the big one says just the little one did it. I want so badly to give my four year old the benefit of the doubt. I’m totally torn. I want to show her trust and respect so badly, but I do not want to be swindled. If she thinks it’s this easy to lie and get away with something now, will she be more likely to lie later? I guess the only way to solve this is to tell her I believe her and then guilt her like crazy to see if she cracks – ha! Seriously, any real advice on this situation would be much appreciated. And I know what they say, bigger kids, bigger problems. I’m sure I’ve got many more situations coming where my trust in my children will falter. That’s what I’m afraid of.

I can’t be the only one that trusts her!


3 thoughts on “How To Tell If Your Kids Are Lying?

  1. Lying was (is) such a hard parenting struggle for me overcome. I think I should somehow have this “sense” and just know when my kid is telling the truth or a lie. But, the reality is that I don’t. So, I tackle this by putting the responsibility back on them. Letting them know that they make the decision to tell the truth or not. I have been honest and said that sometimes an adult might believe a lie because they trust the child….so, yes, they might “get away” with it at times. But our hearts will always know the truth, and we have to live with ourselves. Pretty big concepts for little ones to wrestle with, but they seem to understand and it helps.

  2. My guess is that M is lying. I didn’t see lying or any kind of “creative” storytelling at 2 yrs. Does S ever invent scenarios or stories in play? If she can provide details then I’d bet they are true.

    On the other hand, I get your hesitation to question M in case she is being honest. If you do decide to give her the benefit of the doubt, all you have to do is catch her in a lie once. They you can explain that that makes it difficult to believe her in the future (boy who cried wolf situation).

  3. The lying SUCKS! Remind yourself that ALL kids lie. Yes, all kids. It’s as normal a developmental milestone as walking and talking. Sorry!!! Conversations about honesty outside of the heat of moment is one approach; thanking them for telling you the truth when they do; and perhaps teaching them to have each other’s back. “If something goes down with you together, you’re in it together, so help each other make good choices.” We’re JUST starting that one around here, I’ll keep you posted. Good luck!

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