Pants On Fire? The REAL Reasons Kids Lie

parent coach parenting parenting help Jan 24, 2023
Pant's On Fire? The REAL Reasons Kids Lie - Ann Kaplan Parent Coach (Picture of Pinocchio)

For most parents, lying is the most triggering behavior a kid can dish out.

It feels horrible, erodes relationships, and destroys trust. 

Because we’re triggered, our freaked-out brains jump to scary conclusions that our kids are lying because:

  • They don’t respect us
  • We failed at teaching them honesty
  • They have no moral character
  • They are a budding psychopath
  • Our relationship isn’t important to them
  • They are selfish

Then we discipline based on these scary thoughts.

We lecture about the value of honesty, angrily accuse them, and hunt for the truth, so we can expose them for the morally corrupt deceit monsters they really are...a bunch of stuff that makes everything worse. Just STOP!!!

The Real Reason Kids Lie 

The real reasons kids lie typically have nothing to do with us or morality. Lying is an outcropping of either a developmental or emotional stage. Kids may:

  • Still be figuring out pretend vs. lying vs. reality (especially little ones)
  • Doubt you can handle the truth (have you responded scarily in the past?)
  • Feel unable to face the truth themselves (they are ashamed)
  • Feel poorly about themselves (bragging and lying about accomplishments)
  • Not perceive a downside (discipline around lying has been confusing)

It is our story about lying that creates a triggered reaction.

When we release the scary story about lies, we let go of reactive discipline that doesn’t work. The trick is to look at lying as a simple misbehavior. Now we can respond with empathy, clarity, boundaries, and consequences, just like any other misbehavior. 

Change the story to change your response.

This is the simple (but not easy) work I do with moms in my group program every day. In this way, they learn to move from reactive to responsive parenting. 

Life with kids is triggering - that’s normal. Our effectiveness as parents lies in what we do when we are triggered. Do you believe your reactive stories, or do you take a minute to change the story so you can parent responsively instead?

Ready to Change Your Family's Story? 

If you’re ready to change your family’s story, I can help. It starts with a Discovery Call where you share what’s going on, and I help you see what’s possible. Together we will create a plan to get you where you want to go so you’ll leave our call knowing exactly what’s next and how it works. Book it today, and let’s make a change NOW.