Let’s face it we all tell little white lies now and then. Whether it is to protect our children or not to harm someone else’s feelings – we do it.
But what happens if the lies are constant … more like compulsive lying.
Even worse what if it’s a child that is constantly lying about everything and anything. You would assume that children are naturally truthful. Well so you would think, turns out it is not the case.
Today my daughter came home from school pretty devastated. She and her friends are at wits end with one particular friend’s lies.
So when your child comes home and vents her anger and frustration about the current situation – you listen.
This 12 year old friend has been lying profusely and making up overdramatic fabricated stories about her life. According to my daughter they have been tolerating it for months now. But today, one of the friends called her out on her lies and she denied it. And this has now placed a damper on the friendship.
At this age, friendships are extremely precious. It’s a time when children, especially girls take their relationships with friends seriously. They discover the value of loyalty; and when one friend constantly lies; feelings of betrayal and distrust start to surface. It’s obvious that these lies are making my daughter and the other friends uncomfortable. They are now doubting everything that she says and feels that this girl is not respecting their integrity.
The spate of lies has become worrisome. In fact, threats has been issues to tell her parents and teacher. But on the other hand, they also don’t want to lose her friendship by telling on.
After listening, I then gave my daughter advice without bad mouthing the friend in question.
My position had to be neutral as this was not my friendship but hers. We spoke about how this deception is making her feel and I acknowledged that she is hurting. My daughter is a bit of a sensitive soul and I made her understand that at no point is her friend’s behaviour her fault and not to take it personally. Then I advised her to speak to this friend and tell her exactly how her not telling the truth is making everyone feel.
To make her understand the importance of being truthful and trustworthy. That her friendship means a lot to them but that friends don’t lie to friends. Avoid labeling and judging her as she will feel rejected. Should she own up and feel embarrassed about her behaviour; forgive her for her actions and reassure her that it is all forgotten so that all parties can move on.
I also told my daughter to use her own discretion if the girl purposefully continues with her lies and deceit. That my daughter has every right to end the friendship if she feels that this friend is undermining the relationship; if the relationship becomes toxic and this friend does not want to take responsibility for her behaviour. Somehow there must be consequences for her behaviour. At the end, I want my child to learn how to deal with problem solving and relationship issues in the future.
Whether this was the correct advice I gave, I don’t know but I trust that my daughter will execute it.
Which made me think; from what age do kids start lying and why do they tell lies?
There are different age categories when kids start learning how to tell lies. As kids start developing cognitive and social skills they learn when it’s appropriate to lie and how to lie convincingly.
Preschool age (2 – 4 years) – kids can’t yet differentiate between fantasy and reality. They have an active imagination so will tell tall tales. Lies are told to deny any wrong doing.
School age (5 – 8 years) – kids tell lies to test what they can get away with. They lie to bend the rules, to avoid punishment or to gain attention.
Tweens (9 – 12 years) – they can reason between what is false and true. Lies become constant and convincing once they establish that they get a reaction from it. Stories take on a form of exaggeration. Low self-esteem and wanting to be socially accepted can also spark a habit of lying.
Teenagers (13 – 16) – at this stage lies start taking on greater significance. It occurs frequently and consciously. They start lying due to peer pressure or to gain social power.
The root of why kids are telling lies need to be established. Then interventions need to be put in place to correct this behaviour. The truth is, if nothing is being done about these lies, it will continue and lead to cheating and stealing.
What is your view on this and what will you do in this situation? Should the parents and teacher be informed? Please feel free to comment.