Lying is one of the most common problems you have to deal with as a mom to a toddler. However, you need to realize that this a totally different kind of lying from that told by teenagers and adults. Lying in toddlers is not lying as such. It is just a fib. Even so, it is very important that you address is as soon as you can in the shortest time possible. This is because your toddler may just graduate to become a serious liar you have never come across.
Your toddler is most likely to engage in lying when he/she is about three or fours years of age. This is simply because he/she still lives in a “world” full of fantasies. He/she is bound to lie simply because of inability to differentiate between what is in his/her “fantasy world” and what is real. He/she simply knows nothing about facts and truth.
Your toddler can engage in lying because of three main reasons. The first reason may be because of his/her imaginations. Note that he/she is still developing his/her creative side and is bound to imagine everything he/she observes. This is why he/she gets used to asking questions, some of which can be very trivial. The only way to help is to answer to all his/her questions by teaching about the facts and the truth. This should help him/her overcome his/her out-of-place imaginations.
It is also possible for your toddler to engage in lying simply because of being very forgetful. Tell your toddler to pass on something to you. His/her attention is caught by a different thing while on the way to get what you sought. He/she forgets that you had sent him/her to fetch something. You are most likely to scold him/her and he/she is bound to find an excuse for not having followed your instruction. Such excuse can only be through telling a lie.
The third reason why your toddler can lie is because of his/her way of thinking. This is most likely to be associated with a past family event or occurrence. He/she unconsciously believes that talking about the event or occurrence in a different way is far better than talking about the facts.
There are several ways you can help your toddler stop lying. It is important that you help in order to prevent the likelihood of him/her becoming a serious liar in the future. You can help by;
- Encouraging him/her to always tell the truth even in cases where he/she misbehaves. Scolding and shouting only force him/her to lie.
- Develop the habit of asking your toddler positive questions instead of negative ones. For instance, ask how an item got to a location even if you know that it is your toddler who left it at that location.
- Do not be too strict in applying rules to a point where your toddler feels over-burdened.
- Build trust between the two of you. Let your toddler trust you (never tell a lie that he/she comes to find out about) and trust him/her.
- Always make your toddler that you appreciate it whenever he/she tells the truth.
One thing you need to avoid in trying to stop your toddler from telling lies is to resort to punishment. This is a habit that you can only address through understanding, proper teaching, guidance and encouragement to always stick to the truth.