When Kids Tell Lies

Child crossing fingers behind back

Lying is an extremely frustrating behavior. It’s also a serious issue that needs to be addressed right away and could also be disguising other misbehaviors.


In this video, Dr. Phelan answers the following questions:

  • Why do kids lie?
  • Does counting work for lying?
  • What should you not do when you know your child is lying?
  • What should you do instead?
  • How does this translate up to teens?

So, why do kids lie?

Dr. Phelan says that, just like adults, kids lie to impress others or to cover up a mistake. While some adults may stretch the truth or bend a story to impress other adults, kids may do the same thing. Lying to cover up mistakes or misbehaviors is the biggest reason behind lies and is the one parents are most concerned about correcting. 


What should parents not do when they know their child is telling a lie?

Say your child tells you they don't have any homework tonight when you know they do. Dr. Phelan says first and foremost, it is important for parents to not corner them. If you know their homework is not done, don't ask a question you know the answer to as a test to see if your child will lie or not (like, "Is your homework done?"). Instead of asking a question you know will be met with a lie, address the situation without "testing" for lies ("We've got to attend to your homework. How are we going to do that?"). Once you've done that, establish a routine for this task.


I hope this video helped! For more parenting advice, check out 1-2-3 Magic and our videos on Managing Difficult Behavior.

September 30, 2021
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