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Why Kids Lie

By HERWriter
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Parenting related image Photo: Getty Images

According to a Penn State University study, 98 percent of teens admit they lie to their parents. Also a University of Toronto states that by the time kids reach the age of 6, they lie nearly once every 90 minutes.

James Lehman, MSW, states that kids know lying is forbidden. But they don’t see lying as hurtful. When they don’t see it as hurtful, there are two different value systems operating: the family’s value system that says lying is forbidden and the kid’s value system that says it's okay if it’s not hurting anybody. The kid rationalizes his actions and justifies their behavior with the idea lying doesn’t hurt anybody.

According to Lehman kids lie for various reasons. Those reasons may include to establish identity, to individuate from parents, to get attention, to avoid hurting other’s feelings and to avoid trouble.

The co-author of the book "NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children," Po Bronson said, "As kids get older and the better they understand the difference between the truth and a lie, they lie more not less. They don't grow out of it. They grow into it."

Here are some clues that your child maybe lying:
• They repeat your question (this allows them time to concoct a lie)
• Facial expressions (more animated than usual)
• Change in voice (sign of nervousness)
• They talk too much and volunteer too much information

The key is to use these fibs as teachable moments.

According to Angela Crossman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, there are thing parents can do to prevent lying. Set a good example yourself and talk to your child him about how lying can damage your credibility and relationships. "It's the kind of lesson that doesn't sink in immediately," says Crossman.

According to Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, here are some things parents can do if they think their child is lying.
• Ask your child for a moment of honesty
• Empathize with your child
• Ask open ended questions
• Thank you child for telling the truth

Also, Lehman said, ʺParents have to deal with lying the way a cop deals with speeding. If you’re going too fast, he gives you a ticket.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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