More or less every child lies on a daily basis. Sometimes, children may even feel they have no choice but to lie. “I didn’t do it”, “he hit me first”, “I thought you told me to” are all examples of lies people use to defend themselves, and adults are no exception. And lying is in-fact a natural thing- but it isn’t usually the right thing to do.
The occasional “white lie” is a useful tool- something that can save many of us from unnecessary or awkward situations. For example “You look great” or “It won’t be too painful”. However, often these lies are not too different to the ones children use to get out of trouble. White lies can also be easily confused with broken promises in the eyes of younger ones, and therefore it is advised that you stay as truthful as possible when fostering children.
Foster carers or parents often think that when a child lies, he/she is doing it on purpose to frustrate or undermine them. However, those involved with the child must try to understand that children do not lie maliciously the majority of the time. There is not a lot of intent behind most of their lies.
Some experts say that children use lying as a result of having low self esteem or self worth. They believe that children use lying as a strategy to protect them from the feeling of being ‘not good enough’. They say lying is merely a symptom, as opposed to a problem. From this, experts believe children who feel more confident or successful will lie less.
However, other theories talk about how kids lie as a result of it being the easier option; telling the lie is far easier than telling the truth.
We are advised not to ignore lying. Many say that if a lie is left unattended, the problems underlying will get worse. Another issue with ignoring lies is that lying is often due to a lack of attention. If little lies do not get someone’s attention, the lies will simply increase in size and severity, until they are given a reaction.
Bearing those things in mind, many younger ones don’t even realize they are lying; they simply over exaggerate things or take a different perspective without seeing the bigger picture. So for that reason, the moment you hear your child tell something that is not the truth, it is best not to jump to inaccurate conclusions such as a major underlying problem. This can be scary and uncomfortable for both the parent and the child involved.
If you are interested in caring and working with children living in the care system, please go to Simply Fostering