Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Hipstamatic, iPhoneogrophy,

Yesterday, we had a few issues with lying. It all started when a certain 4 year old served herself a piece of cake, ate it and then told her sister she was eating grapes. When I mentioned that might be impossible, given that we have no grapes, she shrugged, looked me straight in the eye and said “Well, it was an apple then.”

We discussed fibbing and how it was important to always tell the truth when Mummy or Daddy asked a question. She got all teary and said she didn’t want to make me angry or disappointed and we then talked about how, maybe, if she had thought what she was doing would make me angry that she should refrain from said action.

I thought we had made a break through and I was pretty happy with the talk we’d had. She had been responsive, understanding.

Just before dinner she was peeling a carrot, we’d spoken about being careful to not get her finger. Suddenly, she was asking if we needed to put band-aids on the shopping list, ‘just in case’. I was preparing dinner and didn’t think anything of it and the next thing you know she’s telling me she banged her finger last night really hard and now she needs a band-aid. I took her in, had a look and realised she had got her finger with the peeler.

The disappointment I felt was epic.

We had another chat, I reminded her that she isn’t always in trouble and that sometimes I will only get angry if she lies to me. I reminded that I always love her, even when I am angry. Even when I am disappointed. We talked, again. But, I can’t help but wonder if I got through.

How do you deal with lying when it rears it’s ugly head?


  1. You know what – AWESOME parenting. Seriously. These little guys can be sooooo tricky to get through to sometime. I say just keep on doing what you are doing and more importantly in the way your are doing it. She’ll get there, and she’ll know she has a mummy she can trust.

    • Thank you, Kate, for your comment. Seriously, I was starting to wonder if I was getting anywhere and felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. Sometimes it’s hard to see where you’re at and easy to feel overwhelmed, so your words of encouragement have given me a new outlook on this. Which I really needed!

  2. It’s annoying when they lie. It takes time to get them to learn what’s expected. Maybe she’ll be a great lawyer one day. Not saying that lawyers lie, but that she could be a good negotiator.

    • I can’t stand the blatant out and out lies, like the cake, I would have known once I went to the fridge and saw that the cling wrap had not been put back and that there was an odd end shape to it. Not to mention the chocolate on her face!
      And she IS a good negotiator (I’m in SO much trouble when she’s a teen), maybe I have a lawyer in the making…

  3. This is happening with Bliss ALL the time at the moment – your post is quite reassuring as I think it might be an age thing. We are having the same conversations you are having, over and over, and over again. Gee it’s a slog but I guess it’s just something they have to learn.

    • Thank you for this comment! Honestly, I was starting to wonder where I was going wrong for her to blatantly be lying to my face time and again.
      It is tough, but knowing that being consistent will pay off in the long run makes me suck it up and say the same things again. I just hope it’s not a LONG stage!

  4. Don’t be too disheartened Becky, lying is actually a sign of intelligence. When children realise that their thoughts are private and other people don’t know what they are thinking unless they verbalise it, it’s natural for them to practice and play on it. My kids have all gone through this stage and while they still try it on occasionally, they always tell the truth when I challenge them on it. For now, that’s enough for me because they’ll learn as time goes on that it’s easier to be honest from the start. They know that honesty is so important to me and that there is always an extra consequence if they lye. Like everything else in parenting, the more consistent you are, the quicker they learn. It sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job!

  5. Hi Becky, A psychologist friend told me once, when mine were a lot smaller, that the more outlandish the lie, the more intelligent the child.. Don’t know how much truth there is in that….Mine are now older and have grown out of those cute, such obvious lies. They still try on one now and then but boy, do they know the consequences.

  6. Oh Becky, this is so terribly normal & it’s a good sign of intelligence, albeit a slanted version of what you’d like. The best you can do is keep on it, instilling your values on honesty, as you bet your life she’s been practising this at school on friends, & vice versa. Often the things you overhear when they have friends over is alarming, i happily pull a child of mine aside, not to embarrass them but to correct them (quietly) if they are getting a little carried away or they honestly have the information incorrect . . . but them knowing we care & are ALL OVER IT, that guides them. Good luck, use the first child as an example to the rest too, not in a negative way but in a ‘you try this, these are the consequences’ manner, they’ll complain about life being tough as the first born regardless of the ride. Love Posie

  7. This is so hard.. We had a similar thing with lollies. My son would agree not to eat them and then the moment I turned my back around he’d be straight into them. We realised that he just needed to know when he can have his lollies and set up a routine for it, so now we have one lolly day a week and the lollies are safe for the rest of the time:) But I don’t think this will help in your case, yours is a whole different kind of lying…

    It is important to let kids know you love them no matter what, you are so right to keep on talking about it! I’m sure your daughter will get it eventually!

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