|Unfortunately, to most parents dismay, lying, stealing and cheating are part of every child's development. They are most common in preschool children, who still have a rich fantasy life and can't yet distinguish between right and wrong. Children may also lie to avoid being punished or because they are imitating adult behavior.
This doesn't mean that you should allow or ignore this type of behavior. Instead, use these opportunities to begin to teach your child the difference between right and wrong.
It is important to encourage your child to tell the truth and provide him with a good role model, by telling the truth yourself and not lying. Avoid punishing your child too severely when she does finally confess for any misdeeds, or she may avoid telling truth next time.
Your older child, especially once he is six to seven years old, will begin to have a good understanding of right and wrong. While he may lie to avoid punishment, steal because he impulsively wants something he doesn't have, or cheat to avoid losing, you should help him to understand why these behaviors are wrong. If they are isolated episodes, you have little to worry about and should remain calm. If these bad behaviors become more of a habit, then you may have a problem and may need to seek professional help to find out why it is happening.
Be sure to set a good example, so that it will be easier for your child to learn right from wrong behaviors.
Children and Lying Internet Resources:
- Children and Lying: How to recognize if your child's lying is a serious problem and how to deal with it.