All the time.
It’s not that they necessarily mean to, it’s just that sometimes they want something to be true soooooo badly, that they just fib a little bit, thinking it will all come out okay (and more importantly, the way they want it to come out.)
What’s more important than the fact that your kid is fibbing is how you, as the parent, handle it. What’s the best approach? Do you call them out on it? Ignore it?
The most important thing you can do is try to understand why the lie happened in the first place and trust that your child meant well. What was going on right before your child decided to lie? Did anyone get hurt? Did your child lie to avoid getting in trouble, or simply because they are ashamed and embarrassed?
Whatever you do, don’t lash out at your child. Don’t yell or corner them. First and foremost, kids are impulsive … and second, as toddlers, their conscience is just developing. Talk with your child … depending on their age, you may be able to help them see why lying was not the best option. Ask what they could have done differently to get a better end result.
Lying is just a natural part of early childhood development. Handled right, your child will become more respectful of other’s feelings as they grow into school-aged children.
If lying persists, or you’re concerned about the frequency of lies, contact your pediatrician for a recommendation or professional evaluation. According to Drs. Sparrow and Brazelton in their New York Times column Families Today, “consistent lying is often a symptom of a child’s inability to accept the limits of his world and the frustration, anxiety and fearfulness that go with it.”
photo credit: Chris Short