Kids learn to lie at an early stage for various reasons. Some lie to avoid punishment, some to bond with friends, and others to gain a sense of control.
Kids who grasp the truth concerning lies and the truth use this knowledge to their advantage, making them more prone to lie if given the chance.
Some kids get the lying syndrome from their parents. It is not wise to assume that kids do not understand what lying is. In other words, if a parent promises a child a sweet, then they had better fulfill their end of the deal.
When kids get used to these lies, they find it hard to tell the truth. The truth only prevails when there is evidence. Parents must be aware of the effects of telling lies, even harmless ones, to their children.
As the years go by, the lying gets better and more dangerous. A teen will lie about what they spent their allowance on, whether they are dating, what clothes they wear when away from home and the like. They lie about what movie they went to see and whom they went with. They lie about alcohol and drug use, and they lie about the friends they were hanging out with especially if their parents disapproved of them.
For decades, parents have rated “honesty” as the trait they most wanted in their children. Other traits, such as confidence and good judgment, don’t even come close. On paper, kids are getting this message. In surveys, 98 % said that trust and honesty were essential in a personal relationship. Depending on their ages, 96 to 98 % said lying was morally wrong.
Bright kids start lying at 2 or 3 years of age because lying is related to intelligence. Although we think of honesty as a young child’s paramount virtue, it turns out that lying is a more advanced skill. A child who is about to lie recognizes the truth then intellectually conceives of an alternate reality, and is able to convincingly sell that new reality to someone else.
This puts parents in the position of being either damned or blessed, depending on how they choose to look at it. If your 4-year-old is a good liar, it’s a strong sign that she’s got brains. But it’s the smart, savvy kid who’s most likely to become a habitual liar.
By the age of 4, most kids start experiment with the lying syndrome in order to avoid punishment. They lie whenever punishment poses a threat.