How can I get my 4-year old to be more honest?

Why is my child lying about EVERYTHING all the time? And is there something I can do?

Submitted by abegalle

Fabrication is a normal part of childhood development. At this age children have a difficult time distinguishing between fantasy and reality. At this age kids tend to lie for one of three reasons:

1) The line between truth and reality is blurry.

2) At this age kids believe in "magical thinking" (if I wish it hard enough, it will be true).

2) They fear punishment or disapproval for something they did wrong.

 

Don't overreact to your daughter's lies. These lies are not a sign that she is going to grow up to be a pathological liar. Refrain from calling her a liar and pull back on the punishments. Instead try some of these tips:

  • When you catch her in a lie address the wishful thinking, "It sounds like you really wish that daddy said you could have that cookie but he didn't."
  • Don't set her up to lie by asking questions like, "Who made this mess?" when you know it was her.
  • Give her the room to make mistakes and tell the truth. Make sure you recognize when she does tell the truth in a difficult moment.
  • Lead by example. Don't lie about her age to get the cheaper tickets or ask her to tell grandma you are not home when you really are.
Answered by Parents Team
Community Answers (3)

I agree that it's important to not overreact, and that we need to model honesty. But we have to be sure to not just address the behavior, but begin to get to the child's motives of the heart. It's the heart that is the root of behavior. We need to address improper behavior, but we can't just be about behavior modification. I also wrote about this topic here: http://differentway4kids.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-can-we-seek-to-develop-heart-of.html
Submitted by diferentway4kid

I agree that it's important to not overreact, and that we need to model honesty. But we have to be sure to not just address the behavior, but begin to get to the child's motives of the heart. It's the heart that is the root of behavior. We need to address improper behavior, but we can't just be about behavior modification. I also wrote about this topic here: http://differentway4kids.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-can-we-seek-to-develop-heart-of.html
Submitted by diferentway4kid