Q: My daughter is 5 and is a liar…about anything and everything! It’s silly things like making up stories to fit in or get attention, and sometimes the things she says makes no sense at all. She always has a reason, such as it was a joke; I didn’t want to get in trouble; and I thought you would be mad. We’ve talked about this, punished her with early bedtimes, loss of privileges, snacks, desserts, trying anything that will motivate her to do the right thing. Any ideas how to nip this now?
A: Stop asking her questions to which you know (or are reasonably sure you know) the answer to. In other words, don’t give her as many opportunities to lie. For the made-up stories among her peers/other kids, let those go. Kids are smart enough to figure out when a peer is not telling the truth–peer pressure doesn’t always have to be a bad thing; sometimes it can work to your advantage!
For the rest of the lies, try not saying anything at all when she tells a whopper. Part of the drama is her lying, you telling her she’s lying, her protesting vehemently, and the game is afoot. Simply stare at her for at least a minute (count it out in your head if you need to) without saying anything. If she persists, say something noncommittal like “hmm” or “interesting,” then walk away. Stop engaging her in the lying game, and she’ll eventually stop lying as much. She may still tell an occasional lie, but then again, she’s not perfect.