Reply To: Lying and Stealing


Hi There:
Please stay calm. At age six years, your child may still be working to understand the difference between fantasy and reality. I reference: “The Good Behavior Made Easy Handbook,” by Stephen W. Garber, PhD, Marlanne Daniels Garber, PhD and Robyn Freeman Spizman. The authors talk about first ways to determine if a pattern of lying is developing and to check the characteristics that apply to your child. For example: ___ My child tells a story when she/he has made a mistake, ____ My child will do almost anything to avoid punishment, ____ My child appears afraid to tell the truth, ___ My child tells the truth most of the time, ____ My child tells a story when he/she is embarrassed. In addition, they encourage that as you work with your child, pay special attention to the times and situation where he/she is lying. Also, at this age, it may be important to label play situations as fact or fantasy. Children love to pretend and to hear make-believe stories. After story time, talk about whether the characters could be real, if the action could really happen and why? Help your child identify the characteristics that help you draw those conclusions.

In addition, it may be helpful to develop a positive rewards for telling the truth chart. Each time a truthful statement is made the child can place a colorful star or heart on the chart to earn a special event or privilege. Based on your family activities this can be decided together.

It is also suggested that telling the truth is part of developing healthy aspects for preparing for the next stage of their development, where she or he will be expected to be accountable for their behaviors which includes telling the truth about what they hear, see and learn.

I hope this information is helpful.

Renay Montgomery, M.A. LLP