Is Lying just a child’s bad habit?
Lying: A Bad Habit
Lying is a habit that every child engages in at one point or another in their life. Lying is seen as a problem when a child feels they cannot stop doing it or they lie too much and about minute things. Lying is sometimes necessary in life but for the most part is not needed and should be avoided at all costs. Lying results in hurt feelings when the truth is uncovered. Lying can also snowball into a bigger lie that soon becomes out of control. Sometimes it is easy to spot when someone is lying and sometimes it is not so easy depending on the expertise of the liar.
A common age for lying is between the years of four and five. This is when children often make up situations and scenarios. At this point the lies are not hurtful and can be rather obvious to spot. This is when a child comes to school and says this weekend we saw flying bears that took us to the mall. When older children or adolescents lie it is for different reasons. A teenager may lie to protect themselves. An adult could ask a teenager did you steal that book. The teenager who knows they did it but does not want to get in trouble says no I did not. Some teenagers lie in order to not make anyone mad at them. A situation could be a teenager asking another teenager if they like a dress that they are wearing. The teenager may think you look like a fat cow in that dress but they will say wow you look great in that.
Children that may have mental health issues may lie for other reasons. The child may want attention from others so they may make up situations that have never happened. Some children have alleged abuse to get attention. Other children may make up lies about different situations that seem realistic to the listener. Some children lie because it seems easier than to tell the truth. These children may end up in a cycle of repetitive lying where they find it difficult to stop. Some children with more severe mental health problems or more severe problems altogether (i.e. substance abuse) may lie in order to get what they want or lie to cover up what they do. Some of these children feel comfortable with lying and will do whatever it takes to get away with their lies.
Lying is a behavior that is learned in the home. Parents, siblings, and other family members may demonstrate that it is okay to lie. Family should always set a positive example for youth in explaining that lying does not help a situation or the person. When lying becomes a problem it is important to once again teach the child the consequences of lying. What a child can do to not lie in situations they may have used lying as a coping skill in the past. The child may need therapy if these techniques do not work to get them to stop lying.