Ask the Experts

Q: Why Does My Child Embellish Stories and Lie?

Why do kids lie? If your child has ADHD, chances are he also has trouble with sequencing, episodic memory, perspective taking, and executive function skills. All of these contribute to a propensity to embellish stories — making it tough for parents to sort out the truth. Here, learn how you can encourage truth-telling without finger-pointing.

Listen to “The Social Lives of Boys with ADHD”

Q: “My 11-year-old son adds to events and embellishes stories a lot. We can’t get him to step back and think, ‘If I say this out loud, the outcome may be bad.’ He has done this since he was little, but now I’m fearful of legitimately bad outcomes. For example, yesterday he came home and asked, ‘Did you hear from [Boy A]’s mom?’ As we reviewed the event together, his story changed and it turned out Boy A’s mother did not actually confront him. It was not a huge deal after all. We have gone over with him the importance of telling us the straight story, but he gets made and says, ‘You never believe me.'”

A: “Children with ADHD have trouble with episodic memory — that is, the ability to look back and apply emotions from a past experience to the present or future. As a result, they have difficulty sharing information and recalling a sequence of events. Kids with ADHD also struggle organizing information in a clear narrative format with a clear beginning, middle, and end — and with the appropriate details for the listener. On top of that…”


Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

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