Why Do Toddlers Lie?

Why Do Toddlers Lie

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Are you baffled by the lie your toddler just told you? Are you even more baffled that your toddler can lie at such a tender age? If yes, then reading this article may help you.

All of us resort to lies to some extent. Be it white lies to get out of an awkward situation, to protect someone’s feelings or lies told to deceive others. But you do not realize the gravity of the situation unless it is time to teach right or wrong to your toddler. To understand why do toddlers lie and how to handle such situations, read on!

1. Blame It On Cognition:

  • As your toddler’s brain development progresses and matures, several cognitive functions begin to take root. Your toddler possesses the ability to falsify statements, but his cognitive functions are not as developed to remember his fibs. Therefore, he may often blurt out things that may contradict his false statements. So your toddler may be telling you a lie because he just learned how to do it. [1]
  • His language skills are also stil
    l developing at this age. Therefore, he can’t distinguish between truth and lie often. He may often say whatever comes to his mind at the time and which may not be true at all.

[ Read: How To Deal With A Whiny Toddler ]

2. Just Wishful Thinking:

  • Your toddler is just learning to navigate his way through the world. His life is a fine line between facts and fantasy. Lying may be a part of his wishful thinking. He may have hurt his friend but later wished he didn’t do it. So when you ask him about it, he may deny the incident because he didn’t want to do it or because he does not remember the incident. [2]

[ Read: Handling A Defiant Toddler ]

3. Parent Pleasing:

  • He may lie because he wants to please you. If he breaks a vase, he may lie about it. It could be because he does not want to upset you. Your toddler may not be lying to deceive you at this age but to just be on your good side.

4. Fear As The Motivator:

  • If your toddlers admitted to his bad behavior, you would punish or scold him. As a consequence, next time he might not be as forthcoming. Now he has learned that admitting the truth landed him in trouble. So, next time he may simply lie to get out of the situation.

[ Read: Behavior Problems In Toddlers ]

5. Curiosity And Experimentation:

  • Your toddler may lie to gauge your reaction to a situation and to keep it as a reference point for future offenses. He may also lie just because he can or because he can get away with it. He may not have the intention to lie. But he is just learning to generate responses to situations and lying is one of them.

How To Handle Toddler Lies?

  1. Begin by being honest yourself. Teach him the importance of truth and the consequences of lying through examples.
  1. Turn the tables on him and let him understand how it feels to be at the receiving end of a lie. When he denies tearing a book, you can ask him how he would feel if you promised him a cookie but later lied about the promise.
  1. Dole out appropriate punishments. Match lies to consequences. Make him lose an hour of playtime if he broke his friend’s toy and lied about it. But if you take away his sweet treat because he lied about breaking the toy, it could be hard for him to relate the two events.

[ Read: Parenting Tips For Toddlers ]

Now you know what are the reasons behind your toddler lying. Your toddler may lie for a number of reasons. It is nothing to worry about until it becomes a habit or when he gets older and tells major lies.

No one said parenting was easy, and it is the truth! Until then enjoy watching your toddler grow.

Hope you liked our post on why do toddlers lie. What do you do when your toddler lies to you? Do you punish your preschooler for lying? Please share your ideas with us.