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Why kids tell lies: attention, boundaries and covering up

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Toddler

Attention seeking

Your daughter has told her teacher she's got to have a big operation, just after you've had another baby. 'Treat it like a serious boasting lie,' says Gaynor Sbuttoni, educational psychologist and mother of three. 'Talk to her about her feelings after the baby. Explain that when you tell whoppers, it's worrying for others. Give her lots of attention and get her to help with her new sibling.'

Testing the water: 'Dad said I could'

'Check the facts,' says Sylvia. 'Then say, "That's what you wanted us to do but it's not going to happen if you fib." This kind of reasoning is more effective than a punishment. If they say they've done something but haven't, it might be to see how you react,' says Gaynor. 'If you're not too upset, they might go ahead and do it.'

Covering up: 'He did it, not me!'

'This comes from not having the maturity to accept being wrong,' says Sylvia. 'It takes time to learn, so don't get too cross. It comes from fear, and if you shout, you're adding to it.'
Sylvia Clare, mother, foster mother and author
Gaynor Sbuttoni, educational psychologist and mother of three

Continued below...


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  1. 1. Why do kids tell lies?
  1. 2. Why kids tell lies: attention, boundaries and covering up

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