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Why do my kids lie?

January 4, 2011

What Experts Say…

“Parents should not ask questions that are likely to cause defensive lying. Children resent being interrogated by a parent, especially when they suspect the answers are already known. They hate questions that are traps, questions that force them to choose between an awkward lie and an embarrassing confession.”
Child Psychologist Haim G. Ginott, in his book, Between Parent and Child.

In Other Words…

We should try to make sure we set our children up for success, and not put them in positions where they feel like they have to lie. When our children have told us something that we know is not true, we should calmly state that we know what they have said is untrue, rather than continuing to pressure them to defend their lie.

How This Applies to You…

If you know your child has taken a cookie, don’t ask them if they took the cookie. You already know the answer. Instead simply tell the child that you are disappointed that they took the cookie. And deal with the situation as appropriate.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at and if you have children less than 5 years of age, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more on parenting, we recommend Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott.

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