- Children generally begin to lie by the age of 30 to 36 months, most of the time to hide wrongdoing and avoid punishment. Lying is not an indication that children are on the path to misbehavior, but rather a sign that they are developing higher psychological skills. The ability to spin a tale is at the core of the so-called "theory of mind," the understanding that others people may have different beliefs or feelings than yourself. At the same time, lying involves the use of important "executive brain functions”, like working memory, inhibitory control and planning capabilities.
- To keep kids from lying, parents must first avoid setting them up to do so. One very frequent mistake is to tell children that we won’t get mad at them for telling the truth, but nevertheless get mad when they do. Instead, parents must use their children's lies as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of honesty and trust. Young children, in particular, have difficulties to comprehend the concept of honesty - a very good reason to praise them for it whenever we can!
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