Parenting Tips

On Lying Part 2

© Victoria Todd

We have all known children who tell untruths to try to wiggle their way out of trouble or manipulate others.  Most parents are adept at dealing with these situations.  But are there other reasons for lying?

Kyle is a 13 year old boy who has been telling everyone that is father is buying him an iPhone for his birthday.  Kyle’s mother learns about this and feels exasperated.  She has told her son over and over again that lying is wrong.  If he continues to do so, no one will believe a word he says.  But behavior is always a meaningful communication.  So what is Kyle really saying?

In truth, Kyle’s father hasn’t been in the picture for years.  The mother has tried to get him to pay child support to no avail.  And he certainly won’t be buying Kyle a birthday present.  That hasn’t happened in years! 

Sometimes children tell their wishes as facts.  In all likelihood, Kyle is letting everyone know through his “lie” that he wishes he had an invested dad.  With this understanding, Kyle’s mom might respond very differently.  “I heard you’ve been telling others that your dad is getting you an iPhone.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Must be so hard to not get a birthday present from your dad.  Wish you could tell me about it.”

Moral of the story:  watch for wishes in lies and address them in an understanding way.