You’ve gotten out of that baby stage, to have your child grow into an exciting, funny, dynamic little person-who lies. It can be disturbing to parents to see their toddler tell them a whopper, with such a straight face. However, it is important to understand that if your little one is denying something that you both know is true, or is telling you a tall tale, you need to understand he or she is not doing it on purpose. Child development experts stress that at this age children have a difficult time drawing the line between reality and fantasy. There are many reasons that her fibbing could be happening. Here are some very common reasons that preschoolers lie-
- They simply forget-Remembering and having memory is a skill that we develop as we grow older. Research has proven that preschoolers have very short memories. So keep this in mind if you are questioning your preschooler, about a behavior that did not occur right that minute. She may have no memory of what you are questioning her about.
- They are great wishful thinkers-Part of the joy of this age, is that they can wish things they that they want them to be. This means that when you confront your toddler about why she broke that cherished item, she’s not really trying to get away with it, she just wishing that it did not really happen. And children this age can really convince themselves that they really had nothing to do with something.
- They have great imaginations-Preschoolers have rich fantasy lives. The power of imagination is well developed in children this age. This happens because a preschooler is having a big surge in creativity. This means that your preschooler may actually believe what she makes up in her head, really is true.
- They have a need to feel good-Reporting important stories (whether true or not) helps your child to feel important. If your child is trying to convince you that they completed a task, far beyond their abilities, they are most likely seeking approval, rather then trying to consciously lie, about their accomplishments.
- They crave attention-Your preschooler will quickly figure out that if she can tell a great tall tale, she is most likely to get a big response out of you. It is important to understand that she will not even be deterred by the possibility of a negative reaction. Child development experts call this “exploratory lying” as many preschoolers use it to find out where the boundaries of a relationship are.
- They need a sense of control-If your preschooler falsely claims she came to the rescue, in a traumatic situation, she is most likely to find a sense of order. Preschoolers can often become overwhelmed by situations that seem out of control or are beyond their comprehension. They use this type of lying to bring a sense of order back into their life.
As you can see preschooler lie for a variety of reasons, however, not matter how harmless the lie, it is up to the adult to set the parameters of truth and telling the truth. It is crucial to reassure your preschooler that you will love her, not matter what the truth really is. Help her understand that while it can be fun to make up stories, that telling the truth is one of the basic foundations of getting along. Rather then lecturing your preschooler, use different situations to help her determine what the truth is and how she should report it. This way she grows up secure in the knowledge that she can always report to you, the truth.