Why kids lie and what parents can do about it

Lying usually enters the kids behavior at two to four years of age. This is the time when kids start exploring the outside world like pre schooling, and making new friends out-of-doors.

Every kid lies at one or the other point. You can label it as a whopper, fib or exaggerated imagination. Kids at different age might lie for different reasons. The younger ones lie when they construct something in their imaginative world. However, the older ones lie consciously to escape from some troubling situation. 

Parents are always concerned about the lying habit of their child. But don’t worry, Usually kids outgrow this behavior with time. The matter can be serious when they develop this practice in their character.

Different age commands different lie

As per the studies, it’s been proved that lies also changes with the transition of age. Kids at the age of three or five might lie with a straight face but full of humor. Eating chocolate and denying it with the face totally smudged with it is the best example or using mother’s make up and refusing to make up still on. These are the lies that prove a child is developing a theory in their mind. It is not something to worry about, as they would soon grow too mature for this. 

Kids at the age of five to eight lies but they soon accept it. They realize that their parents would come to know about the lie eventually. They easily give themselves away. 

You may also read: Study tips for kids

Children at The age of ten or above master the skill of lying. Most of their lies address parents or teachers. Teenagers usually lie about the studies, relationships, drinking, smoking or any bad habit they have got themselves into. 

Reasons why kids lie?

We have discussed the lie patterns as per the age but the reasons are still veiled. You might be thinking where you have gone wrong in your parenting that your kid has started lying to you. Without overthinking and feeling guilty, read the reasons. These might be helpful to you.

Tall tails

These are the lies you would love to hear. Kids who start framing sentences go on all day and speak whatever story they create in their tiny creative minds. They might tell you about their favorite soft toy say bunny, who ate their candy and hit him. They might also blame their toy for something they have done. For instance, if they broke something, they would say that bunny did that. It is quite common and appropriate for age. 

To sound interesting

Bragging comes under this category of lies. Kids often brag or lie to their friends to boost their own confidence and maintaining a high self-esteem. These are not the big lies but a mere exaggeration of the events or anything happened with the child. This is the case with the talkative ones. They like to sound interesting so that people love hearing them. You can call it boasting also. For instance, the boys boasts about having luxury cars to their friends. Their intention is not bad but to sound cool.


Many kids lie out of excitement. They are curious about knowing the consequences of the skill they have just learned. So they experiment telling a lie to know the behavior of their parents. Sometimes they want to make sure if they can actually lie and escape out of a situation with it. 

Seeking attention

Many kids lie to get attention of their loved ones. They try the trick of sympathy by crying falsely or telling a sad story to look miserable. In such way, they gain more friends and the sympathy of the person they might have a crush on.

Making situation favorable

Some kids would lie to get something they want. For example, in the absence of one parent, they might lie to the other one that mom let me watch cartoons or dad buys me ice creams. They try to manipulate the parents for making the situation in their favor. 

White lies

Then comes the white lies, which are often told by the elder kids. Kids tell white lies when they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It can be considered as a social skill. For example, the child can make an excuse for not attending his friends party. The excuse he made if not hurting the friend, would be considered as a white lie because his intention was not bad. 

Get the spotlight off them

Sometimes kids don’t want to get people worried and be the reason of their parents stress. They simply tell a lie to divert their attention. Lying about the health is the best example for this situation. Kids out of sincerity sometimes lie that they are doing well even when they are not. 

Sudden and Impulsive  reaction

Sometimes lies are not a result of any thought. Kids might have not put any thought in their response and lied. The lie can be a sudden response to a question or situation. It is the situation when they don’t even think before they utter a lie. 

What parents can do 

As a parent, you must be anxious about this habit becoming a permanent characteristic of your child’s nature. But you would be glad to know that parents and the teachers play big role in the mental development of Child and they can easily make the child develop good habits and choose right path in life. 

You Can Also read: The Secret Cheat Sheet About Children Good Habits

There is a solution to every problem and here are some tips to deal with this kind of situation.

Hearing their tails

If child is telling you a tail, you can take it as a joke and question them something to utter them the truth. For instance, if they told that their toy broke something you can ask them that why the toy should have broken that. This would make them rethink and they might tell you the truth.

Dealing lies of elder kids

If your 8 or 9 years kid has recently learned about lying and is firm in his answer, you must tell them that you know they are lying and that lying is not good at all. You can warn them for once about the consequences it has. 

If they are lying, leave them in a room for sometime and tell them that you want the truth when you come back after ten minutes. Also tell them that if they tell the true story easily then there is no punishment and you would be glad to hear the truth and proud of them.

Lying in teenagers

Teenagers has a reluctant behavior and they can easily make a judgment about you. So, dealing with them is very sensitive. You should try talking to them very calmly and ask them the reason behind their lie. You can also punish them for sometime but the punishment should be appropriate as per the lie. For instance, you can take their phone for an hour or don’t let them play video game for sometime. 

You can also read: Crafts for kids

Small things can solve the biggest problems sometimes. Rewarding or appreciating them for telling the truth might turn the tables and they would be motivated for telling the truth. 

Make your child have trust in you. Imagine yourself in their situation and act accordingly. 

What can parents should not do

Sometimes we are dealing a situation in a wrong way and unintentionally give birth to a bad long Lasting behavior of our kid. As parents we should not have “know it all” approach but keep learning about kids behavior and how to tackle them in different situations. Here are some things that we should not do to stop them from lying.

Not understanding

If they are trying and explaining the circumstances in which they had to lie, try to understand their mental state. They might not be right to lie but you can always suggest them the correct way. Don’t be rigid in your ways and understand what they are feeling. If you don’t understand them once, they will make belief that you will never listen to them. 

Call them a liar

Do not call them “liar”. It is very hurting to hear such labels and can affect their state of mind. You want to reform their behavior so don’t tag them anything embarrassing. 


Don’t lose your cool and punish them so hard that they stop connecting with you. It would make the situation worse and they would lie even more to save themselves from the situation and from you. Punishments are not always the situation. There can be a situation when they had no other choice but lying as the consequences could be intolerable. Help them in finding better solutions than cursing or making a judgment. 

Serious problems

Sometimes child is lying or hesitated to explain some serious situation they are facing in life. Like bullying which has become a serious problem for teenagers. They are afraid to tell anyone to get tortured by their seniors or their fellow mates who they feel are more powerful. In this situation, you have to make them believe that you are with them and can make things better easily.