The Truth About Lying

Your toddler’s lying to you signals a step toward his independence, as your little one stretches his wings and pushes away from your control. He’s not yet able to know the difference between reality and fantasy, which is why you need to help him learn that telling the truth has greater positive consequences than lying. As his Baby Buffer, it’s your job to help motivate him to tell the truth, instead of lying to get what he wants or out of something he doesn’t want to do.

What to do about lying:

  • Explain the difference between lying and telling the truth. Help your toddler understand the difference by saying “I know you want your friend to like you, but telling him that you have 101 Dalmatians living at your house isn’t truthful. The truth is that you’d like to have all those dogs. But you have only one dog named Molly. She’s a really nice dog, and you like her a lot.”
  • To help your child learn the difference between truth and a lie, set aside time for him to make up stories. Than contrast this make-believe time with truth time, in which he’s asked to tell the truth about what happened, When he tells you something that you know isn’t true, say, “That’s an interesting make-believe story you just told me. Now tell me a true story about what happened.”
  • Help your child accept responsibility. When your toddler lies about putting his toys away, say, “I’m sorry you chose to lie about putting the toys away, as I asked you to do. I know you didn’t want to put all those toys away. Doing what I ask and telling the truth are important. Now, let’s go get the job done, and I’ll watch while you pick your toys up.”
  • Look for honesty. Look for people and events that tell the truth and point their honesty out to your children as a something you admire.  Surround yourself with people who model telling the truth and point their honesty out to your children as a something you admire. Your toddler wants to please you…and wants your approval. So it’s important to tell her how to get it.