Lying!! — The Bump
School-Aged Children


I have caught DS in SOOO many lies lately. He lies about everything now. This morning he lied about eating breakfast and had a whole fabricated story of what he ate and where he put the garbage. He even started crying saying that it hurts his feelings that I don't believe him. Eventually he admitted that he lied. Yesterday he lied about flossing his teeth and, again, had a whole story worked up about where he put the floss that he used. He lies about homework, washing his hair, putting dirty clothes on, etc. It seems like every word out of his mouth is a lie! I can't stand it. The only time he admits that he's lied is when I tell him that if he just comes clean about the lie, he won't be in trouble. Other than that, he sticks to his fabricated story. Last year he stuck to a story for over a month, even after his BFF ratted him out. I don't know what to do.

When I was in HS, we had a friend that we call "K____ the liar" because every word was a lie. I don't want him to be "Cam the liar". How do I break this?

Re: Lying!!

  • I wish I had advice for you, but my 9 y/o is doing the exact. same. thing. It's extremely frustrating!!  Hoping you get some good replies :)
    Angie ~ mom to Tyler (10yrs) & Taryn (5yrs)
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  • We went through that last year.  It was freaking awful.  There were time outs, there was grounding, there was yelling, there was hot sauce on the tongue.  There were tears.  I think SS might have cried once or twice too.  ;)

    Finally, we lied to him.  It was horrid, and heartbreaking, but man, did it get the point across.  We lied about something that he really wanted to do, and he got it loud and clear.  We still get goofy little lies, like that he washed his hair when he really got distracted by playing in the tub, but nothing big and drawn out like they used to be.


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  • Time for a serious talk about honesty and trust and priveledges.  And then don't give him a chance to lie until you think you can trust him -- sit with him while he flosses, does his homework (figure something out with the teacher so you know what he needs), and puts away his dirty clothes, etc.  Show him that you appreciate honesty.  And stress that if he's honest about something the punishment is never as bad as when he's found out in a lie. 

  • My DD has gone through 2 stages of lying.  Once, when she was in kindergarten, she fabricated this entire story about a girl being mean to her on the bus.  She kept adding to it every day, and she had me to the point where I was about to call the school and demand they do something about Karla the Bus Bully.  But just before I reached that point, I noticed a few cracks and inconsistencies in what she was telling me.  Finally, after some pushing, she broke down and admitted she had made the whole thing up.

    Although we had a whole convo about honesty, truth, and trust at the time, I wasn't too worried because it seemed like this stage of lying was really close to fantasy.  She was just experimenting with spinning out this whole bizarre story.

    More recently, we've had another bout of dishonesty, in which she tells small lies in order to get out of trouble.  For instance, she'll say she's brushed her teeth, tidied up her room, or changed her underwear when she hasn't.  It's infuriating because I can catch her so easily! 

    I don't punish for these lies, per se.  But I do make a big point of doing things that indicate that I no longer trust her as much.  For instance, I ask her if she's brushed her teeth, then I make a big show out of checking to see if her toothbrush bristles are wet or dry.  She hates it because it's humiliating to be checked up on in this way.  But I stand firm and remind her that at one time she had my trust, and she squandered it.  When I feel that she's once again earned my trust, I stop checking up on her.

    This method seems pretty effective so far.  I also praise the heck out of her when she is honest in a difficult situation.  For instance, the other day she told me she left her math book at school, rather than lying and saying there was no homework!  I praised her for having good character and telling the truth, then we came up with a way to deal with the consequences of not bringing the math book home.


    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • My son does the same thing. He will lie about the dumbest whether he are breakfast or not. The big things, though, he is dead honest about. What I did was tell him that he has 2 times of me asking, if he fesses up then he is not in trouble. If I ask twice and he still lies and I find out the punishment is worse. Often I will say to him, "Is that even true?" and he will smile and say no. As he gets older he seems to have less of a need to fabricate. For him, his freedoms rely on me being able to trust him. He is 13, so if he gets grounded it is HUGE.
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