Parents play a vital role in teaching children honesty as they are their primary role models. They also have a greater influence in instilling truth-telling. As children mature and gain a better and more sophisticated understanding of social etiquette, parents need to help children differentiate between the little lies that have once been told so as not to hurt other people’s feelings and the lies that They are grossly dishonest.
All children need to learn the importance of honesty and they also need to learn to solve situations to not depend on the adult as they grow up. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children and adults often lie for the same reasons:
- To get by
- For personal gain
- To impress or protect someone
- To be polite or appear polite
At a young age, children will be able to experiment with the truth and will be able to continue to tell the truth at all stages of development, with varying degrees of honesty. To achieve maximum influence at each stage of development, it is necessary to approach lying in an age-appropriate way. your son. This requires that you understand how lying works depending on how old your child is.
Toddlers and preschoolers (2 to 4)
At these ages young children are still learning to improve language skills and do not have a clear idea about what the truth is. At these ages, children have a rather unstable knowledge of the difference between reality, dreams, wishes, fantasies and fears.
Strong emotions can appear at two or three years old and say something like: ‘He ate my cookie’ when a baby brother clearly did nothing. But at this age toddlers are trying to exhibit their independence and can engage in a bit of a power struggle when they disagree on something. The best thing to do as an adult is to give a soft and diplomatic answer that makes him hesitate, such as: ‘Really? Then there must be crumbs on his chin and I don’t see any. This helps you avoid a proxy war.
Children at this age are too young to understand punishment or retaliation for having lied, but it is necessary to start promoting truthfulness. You can consider reading stories that deal with the value of truthfulness.
From the age of 4
It will be around the age of four when children become more cunning and can tell more lies. and answer ‘No’ when asked a simple question such as: ‘Is it okay to hit your friend?’. Parents at these ages should use every opportunity to explain to children what a lie is and why it is bad. It is necessary to gradually introduce the topic -especially when your child has just told the lie so that he retains it better in memory-, you can start by saying something like: ‘Let’s talk about lying and why lying is not okay ‘.
It is necessary to have a firm and serious attitude towards lies and when you think your child is lying you can say things like:
- That sounds like that you’re not telling the whole truth
- Are you sure that’s exactly what happened?
- You know we don’t tolerate lying in this family, do you want to tell me something different ?
Make it clear that lies are not acceptable, but avoid confrontation by seeking the truth unless the situation is serious and requires further attention.