Is It Normal For Kids To Lie? (Part One)
Why Do Kids Lie?
Have you ever caught your child lying and are you worried about it? The purpose of this article is to let you know that a child lying is rarely a cause for concern. Children mostly start lying between the ages two and four. This worries many parents as they see this as a socially unacceptable behavior and they don’t want their child to continue doing it. However, when children start lying, it is actually a sign that they are now starting to understand that others can have their own thoughts, feelings, and desires which is separate from their own thoughts, feelings, and desires. Like other stages of development for a child, this is just one of them.
You might notice that young children lie about things that they have been told not to do. For example, a child may lie about having chocolate even though they are not even good at hiding it. The child’s face may have chocolate spread all over it, but they will still lie about not having it! Why? Because they have just learned that you have a different desire from theirs. They have the desire to have chocolate while you have a desire for them not to have one, which is why they lied about it. They basically recognized that you will be more content if they did not have that chocolate. And they were also terrible at hiding it! It’s more hilarious than it being a cause for concern. Similarly, a child’s video on a social media platform showed how she lied about her Barbies putting nail polish on her nails because she “did not do it herself”. Hilarious! Isn’t it? (And creepy too!)The image below shows the girl.
So when is lying a cause for concern? When lying is part of Conduct Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), then it is a cause for concern. However, in order to meet the diagnosis, it is necessary that the lying occurs alongside with other symptoms of Conduct Disorder and ODD.
Another cause for concern is if lying is done to hide some mental health problem that makes the child feel embarrassed or fearful. For example, a child (or an adolescent) suffering from anxiety may lie to avoid certain situations like school or gatherings that would give them anxiety. This could be the child avoiding the anxiety social situations give them or because they want to avoid germs due to obsessive-compulsive tendencies. So if they are doing it to hide a mental health problem, then it is a call for concern.One more cause for concern is when the child (or adolescent) is lying to avoid the stigma of mental health disorders. In such cases, it would be better to take help from a mental health professional who can then clarify whether the lying indicates a mental health concern or not.