My Son is a Liar

This weekend I overheard my son telling a couple of big fat whoppers to some other kids at a party.

“I’m on level 9 of Skylanders,” he boasted. “And I have a Smart Watch, I totally talk to my wrist and can make phone calls from my watch”

Fact: He has never played Skylanders (whatever that is.) And he does not own a Smart Watch (whatever that is.)

You may call it creativity, showing off, a fib. I call it a lie: an untruth.

And it worries me.

It worries me because this is not the first big fat whopper I’ve heard out of the mouth of someone I thought was so innocent, honest, bright and un-sneaky. But it’s not. I’ve heard him telling his sister and friends small, insignificant lies. And I’ve caught him telling bold-faced lies, right to my very face. About small things, but ….

I can understand boasting and showing off; peer pressure and all that. I can forgive a little creative license. But I will not tolerate down-and-out mendacity. Where does it come from? What motivates it?

Every day, I try to teach my kids to be kind, to have good manners and to be happy. And very, very silly. These are the values that matter most to my husband and I and which we model. Now I realize that we have to add reinforcing and reassuring that telling the truth always trumps deception. I guess that security plays a big role in this. A child needs to understand that there is so more to be gained by spilling the beans than covertly hiding them. But don’t get me wrong, there will be also consequence when whoppers are discovered, especially if their motives are dubious.

I guess I would be lying if I told you this parenting business was a cake walk. Are your kids liars? How do you handle it?

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  1. Meredith wolff

     /  January 8, 2013

    Did you confront him? Ask him why? I would maybe tell him you heard him say those things and see what he says.

  2. Anita

     /  January 9, 2013

    My daughter tends to fib if she thinks she is going to get in trouble but I think it’s normal for preschool age as my son did at that age too – we just talk about the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” story. My son has fibbed a handful of times (that I know of anyway!) but there have been a few times he has chosen to lie that turned out to be some whoppers. We walk a fine line “reprimanding” him as I think he is just testing and it’s definitely normal for their age group, but the more serious incidents had to have repercussions. In one case, where he was lying about using electronics after bedtime, he had to “earn the trust back”. In a couple of other more serious cases where he was telling stories that may impact other people, we had a very frank and blunt discussion about what it means to trust someone, what credibility is and what lying – even if its “innocent” does to both. Not just with us but his friends, family and teachers. We fully expect to repeat ourselves numerous times and hop that it will drive the point home. Parenting is not a cakewalk at all, huh? But I think I have learned more about myself in the past 8 years then in the 30 years behind it. 🙂

    • Would it be wrong to say I’m relieved that G is not the only offender?! Your words are good, we’ve not really had that kind of a discussion about trust; we’ve focused more on how it’s always better to fess up than to lie. Will definitely talk about earning trust, the next time I witness (or am on the receiving end of) a whopper. Thanks!

  3. Anita

     /  January 9, 2013

    hope not hop 🙂

  4. fleem

     /  January 9, 2013

    I call him out right there and then but try not to completely hammer him into the ground. I would have said; “Skylanders? I don’t you have that game, maybe you’re thinking about another one?” in front of him and his audience. Give him a less than earth-shatteringly-humilating out, and hope he takes it.

    Then talk to him in private and let him know he was being a poop, and tell him why lieing is wrong, and the difference between lies and tall tales. If he doesn’t take the out, then you have to just bite the bullet and call him out and ruin his fun. This isn’t something that can be wiggled on; it’s bad behavior and needs to be stopped.


     /  January 9, 2013

    My son began deceiving us specifically in 8th/9th grade and it upset us terribly. Like you, we are all about honesty. I think in our situation it had more to do with teenage years and even depression. Sounds like your son is much younger so this may or may not be relevant. We are through that phase now and he has been going to a counselor this past year about once a month which has helped him tremendousy. Again, not sure how helpful this is since he was older. But I am a huge advocate for finding a family counselor/someone for him to talk to that isn’t you. Just a thought.

    • That’s tough & I can only imagine how upsetting. Good for you for seeking help. My son is 8 so it’s a different situation & I’m sure more linked to peer pressure & boundary testing. Good luck to you!


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