If your preschooler has entered a stage where everything she says is a lie, take heart, there are things that you can do. Here is what to do when your preschooler is lying-
- Just humor her-This may seem like exactly the wrong thing to do, since you don’t want to promote lying, but it is extremely important to keep this in perspective. Preschoolers lie for a number of very harmless reasons, from exercising their creativity to really believing what they are saying. The act of creating a fantasy and retelling it is a normal part of your child’s development. If there are no serious consequences of the lying, some of it you can just write off. Keep in mind that this technique also works well if your child develops an imaginary friend. Having an imaginary friend is a normal part of a child’s development and shows that they have a great imagination. Even if your child blames their own bad behavior on their imaginary friend, you still shouldn’t worry. Imaginary friends play an important part, in the emotional development of your child. They allow a preschooler to safely figure out who they really want to be.
- Try not to accuse-When you must confront your child about lying its important not to try and not accuse them. You should carefully consider what you say, so that you are encouraging your child to confess and not deny. It’s important to give them a safe place to tell you the truth. When they see that they can they will gradually rely more on the truth, and less on lying.
- Show some sympathy-Think of the reality of your preschooler’s word, everyone is taller and telling you what to do. It’s easy to see why preschoolers feel out of control and are quick to shift the blame to someone else. If your preschooler doesn’t want to confess, then help her to understand that instead of just trying to use lies to make a situation go away, its better to confront the situation, and help make it right. You can point out a wrongdoing to your preschooler, (in a gentle manner), but remember to praise her when she confesses up to it. Over time she will decide that telling the truth works much better then lying.
- Explain why honest matters-While your preschooler may possibly already know that lying is not good, her development is not extensive enough to understand all of the moral ramifications of lying. This is where the adults in her life matter. Adults are the ones who must communicate the need of being able to be trusted, and help the child understand that there can be serious consequences for not telling the truth. There are several books that can help you illustrate this very important principle, while still keeping your toddler’s attention and entertaining her, at the same time.
- Go with a positive approach-Keep in mind that if you want to create a safe place, for your preschooler to tell you the truth, you will need to do it in a positive manner. It will not inspire her to tell you the truth if you vent your anger at her. You should understand that if you do respond in anger, most children this age will make sure not to repeat the same behavior again. In other words, your preschooler may be too afraid to tell you the truth. Keep in mind that besides being totally inappropriate a harsh punishment for lying, is very likely to backfire, creating a child who either rebels, or has an overly active conscience. Instead you should make sure that you are giving praise to your child, when she does tell the truth. Using reinforcement that is positive is much more likely to bring about the results in behavior that you are really wanted.