Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Liar, Liar

Is 5 years old known as the lying stage? I am asking, because Joey has become a bit of a liar and I'm hoping it is just a stage. He lies to get what he wants. He lies to stay out of trouble. Sometimes he lies because he feels like lying. I think it is probably pretty typical of kids his age (I think I was a little liar when I was his age, too), but we are still trying to nip it in the bud.

The other day Todd and I were putting our over-tired little monsters down for a nap when Joey started whining about taking his toy dragon to bed with him. I told him that I would set the dragon on the post at the bottom of the stairs and it would be waiting for him when he woke up. He wasn't happy, but he knew it was no use arguing with me. He went to bed.

Todd went down to the basement and played around on the computer while I decided to take a nap of my own. Half an hour after I laid down I heard the boy's bedroom door open up. I thought Joey probably had to go to the bathroom again, and sure enough a few minutes later the door closed again. I dozed off for an hour or so (blessed sleep!), and then decided to get up while the boys were still sleeping to have a little reading time. No sooner had I sat down on the couch next to Todd than the boys came bounding down the stairs, Joey with the dragon in his hand.

Todd said, "Didn't we put that dragon downstairs here before he went to bed? Joey, how did you get that dragon upstairs?"

Joey said, "I don't know."

I asked him, "Joey, did you get up, grab the dragon and go back to bed? I heard your door earlier. Was that you getting your dragon?"

Joey's eyes widened and he replied, "No. I didn't get the dragon."

I reminded him, "You know you shouldn't lie, Joseph. You won't be in trouble for getting your dragon. I just want to know how the dragon got up there. If you tell me the truth you won't be in trouble."

Again he said, "I don't know how it got up there!"

I started to get confused, "Well, how did it get in your hand? It had to get upstairs somehow."

Then he says, "Well, maybe it just grew feet and walked up the stairs by itself!"

I had the most difficult time not laughing. I mean, come on! That is funny! Todd had to hide his face to stifle his laughter. I made Joey give me his dragon and go up to his room until he could tell me the truth. It was about 20 minutes later when Joey finally decided he should tell the truth. He told us that he had indeed gotten out of bed, went downstairs, grabbed the dragon, and went back upstairs to bed.

We all clapped and danced around at how good it felt to tell the truth. I told Joey how proud I was of him for deciding to tell me the truth.

Still, there had to be a punishment for lying. He is not allowed to have his dragon for the rest of the week. I made it clear that he is not being punished for getting out of bed, but for lying about it. I hope he understands that. It seemed that he did.

So tell me, any little liars in your family? What do you do? Give it to me, people. I need some advice.

"Would I lie to you?"
"Yes. Yes, I would."


Ashley said...

Hey hon :) Lying (some start deliberately lying at around age 3) in early childhood is just a stage. But, to nip in the bud, just keep doing what you are doing - consistency is the key.

I can't tell you anything from experience, just what my psych books tell me from class lol. BUT I do know some parents use Bible stories, "The boy that cried wolf", prayers, timeouts, etc...

I wouldn't stress about it (just keep doing what you are doing) unless he's still doing it in 5 years...

You are so great!

Julie Pippert said...

In short? Yes, thereabouts. I'll let you know when I get across the point that truth is important for trust.

Hang in there. It's a long-haul project but you'll see good signs along the way. :)

Anonymous said...

I have no advice for you - I think what you did was great. I hope this phase doesn't last too long!

dawn klinge said...

That is a funny story, and you handled it so well. We have the same problem at my house with my four year old. I think kids have a hard time understanding what a lie is at this age so maybe going over examples together of what a lie is and is not, along with the consequences, such as not being able to believe someone who tells lies would help?

Brittany said...

AW how could that sweet face lie?!?!?!

Kelly said...

Lying is a hard one to deal with. We've had our share of troubles now and then with it too. We tell them they will be in more trouble for lying than for what they did that they are lying about in the first place! (does THAT make sense?) :)

Beck said...

Five year olds are big ol' liars.
You want to gently call him on it every time - a laughing "That's a funny story! Now what REALLY happened?" should work, as well as checking to see if he gets in trouble too much when he DOES tell the truth. Good luck!

Beck said...

Five year olds are big ol' liars.
You want to gently call him on it every time - a laughing "That's a funny story! Now what REALLY happened?" should work, as well as checking to see if he gets in trouble too much when he DOES tell the truth. Good luck!

Kat said...

You all have great advice!
Beck- Good call! I really should make sure that I am not too hard on him. I know that happens to the oldest sometimes. I don't want to make him feel like he has to lie to stay out of trouble. I'll keep an eye on that too.
Ashley- I have tried to tell him that it is hard to trust someone who lies. That maybe sometime he will want to tell us something important but we won't know if he is telling us the truth because of past lies.
I think part of it is just learning the difference between make believe and lying. Making up play stories is fine, but making up other stories is not? That is a difficult concept. I'm trying to help him with that too.
I think Julie is right, also. It is a long-haul project.
Keep the advice coming. It's great!
Thanks everyone!

just jamie said...

I like the way you handled this.

My three-year-olds haven't begun lying. We're in the ATTITUDE phase. Ugh.

Family Adventure said...

We have that problem here...and my kids are a fair bit older. I don't know if it is a stage, as much as a way to test boundaries. I think it continues more or less intensely for years.

I try to punish the lies and reward the truths, like you do. And stress how important it is to be able to trust each other, etc.


MarĂ­a said...

I've instilled a serious fear of my wrath into my children, so they never lie to me.

Except for this morning, when Bella lied to me. And last night, when Ari did.

But other than that - they know better!

imbeingheldhostage said...

We have three "not me's" living in our house. Just the other day, Not Me dragged a finger through a brand new cheesecake. The finger print matched the 5 year old, so I would say he's right on for his development.
You put one of your new pics on your header-- I noticed!

Kelley said...

Yes, unfortunately. 5 years old does seem the stage for lying. We went through it with our now almost 6-year-old, and he seems to have finally gotten the message that lying will ALWAYS get you in more trouble than the thing you lied about. I really liked how you handled that.

Unfortunately, we've still got a few "Not me's" living in our house. We haven't been able to figure out how to explain that that is still lying. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you handled it beautifully! It really is hard not to laugh when they show their sense of humour, isn't it? Good for you though. Not only are you an amazing mother, but an amazing person to boot!

Ian had started fibbing (he'll be 4 in June) and I've been instilling the same concepts in him as you have with Joseph. Sounds like I have a few years of it to go! Great fun!

Momisodes said...

What a cute face :)
My daughter is only 2.5, and she's a total fibber sometimes. Her dad asked her if she ate an Oreo the other day she'll say "Nooooooo"...with black crumbs all over her face!

Nissa said...

I think they all lie around that age. Unfortunately some of them (like my son) don't seem to outgrow it. I think you're doing a great job of nipping it in the bud!

Kellan said...

I think it is perfectly normal for that age - to try to push boundaries and such! He's a cutie - I don't believe he could possibly lie to anyone!

Take care- Kellan

Tonya said...

It is especially hard when you see them do something and they lie about it. And they saw you watch them do it. Oy. Kids! There have been times when I was sure they were lying but I couldn't prove it so I just told them that I believe them and that if they were lying God knew and eventually it would come out and I would be sad. This has worked a few times with the girl's conscious. But the boys notsomuch. I'm right with you in this battle though.

Kristen said...

Oh no! 5 is when they start to lie? That is less than two years for me!

I digress, his "grew feet" comment was cute. But, I think you handled it really well.

Keep us informed so I can learn from you and your kiddos!

I only really know how to bust 17 year olds when they lie about cheating on their homework. :-)

Melissa said...

I can't help too much. My daughter is too young to talk let alone lie. But I swear she crying to make me think something is wrong...does that count as lying? :)

krissy said...

My kid did/does it too!! It drives me crazy but I am the parent who lied about an alligator eating her if she didn't go to bed!!!

His cute little face though....you must be delusional....he wouldn't lie!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

I'm already afraid of this phase so I'm anxious to hear your responses. But MAN that face is 32 flavors of cute K! What a handsome little boy!!!

Anonymous said...

How could you not trust anything out the mouth of such an angelic boy? I don't know as mine's Tommy's age, but I got my first lie last week. And, it got quite a little spanking. Keep me posted on what everybody says.

Laski said...

J doesn't lie. He doesn't even talk. I think I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

BUT, as a teacher, I think the key is being honest yourself (which undoubtedly you are) and don't let the lying slide. Be consistent (like Ashley said) and show that there are consequences when you choose to not respect the truth. . .

Remind me of this when I post about J telling lies . . .

GHD said...

I don't have any advice of my own, but the tips posted above seem on track. I just wanted to comment in support.

I won't believe a word out of that face either. He's too adorable :-)


You dragon stealer you!!! LOL
Yes, he's definitely testing
you to see what he can get away
with like most 5 year olds!

Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

I think it's definitely normal. I've also read that it's a sign of intelligence. It makes sense..........

suchsimplepleasures said...

it's funny that you are dealing with this. not in a haha sort of way. i am too. my 4 y/o has begun lying. i know though, from having older kids...it's a phase but, you have to catch them in their lies and let them know how wrong it is to lie!! my little one blames everything on my step-son...even when my step son isn't home! i tell my son that he will get in more trouble for not telling me the truth than for the actual crime. so far...it's not working :( but, consistency is key!!

tx sweetie said...

such a cute boy.pls no,don't lie.


Check out mine too!

Let Me In
Spot The Mommy

painted maypole said...

i'm sorry. i just can't get over the fact that your five year old takes a nap. MQ gave them up before she turned 3. she was never much of a napper.

Rob said...

Or you could just encourage the little guy to perfect his lying and then someday he'll be able to go into politics -- maybe even become President (or a Senator) -- and THEN imagine how proud you'll be of him!

Just tryin' to find the silver lining here... Hehehehehe ;-)

Jill said...

It was like a magic switch, when D turned 5, the lying started that day.... I know it is just a phase, but I don't like it either!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson