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When Kids Lie!


We all subscribe to the idea that we want to teach our children to be truthful but how do we teach them to know the difference between the truth and a lie?

Most children are very literal in their thinking. They know the difference between things that are real and those that are unreal real. They test the truth by its reality. For instance , you may get an unwanted sales call and say, "Tell them I’m not here." Is this a lie? One test of a lie is whether the person asking has a right to the information. A stranger calling on the phone does not have a right to know whether you are home or not. I personally would not call this a lie. It is protecting your privacy, and you have a right to do this. Children must be taught that they have no obligation to give real answers to people who have no right to the information. If a stranger asks them where they live, they do not have to give a real answer. If a bully asks them how much money they have in their pocket, they do not have to give a real answer. "I don’t have any." is a perfectly fine answer because the bully did not have a right to the answer in the first place. There are some people who do have a right to answers. They would include parents, teachers, ministers, police and your lawyer.. Telling these people anything but the real facts can be a big mistake.

When dealing with people who have a right to ask questions, a lie is defined by the intent to deceive. That means that nothing pertinent may be withheld. When a married person tells their spouse that the are going to the store, it doesn’t matter whether they go to the store or not if they also drop by to visit someone their mate doesn’t approve of . The intent to deceive is what makes the lie. If your child says I went to my Sunday School class but leaves out that He stayed for only five minutes and then went outside to play, the left out part is the lie. If you sit and talk to your child about these ideas, most children over four will understand them. Reality is not the test of a lie. Intent is the test of a lie.

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