Polk Moms

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Our eight-year-old daughter is constantly lying to us about random topics. Since she is an only child, at first we thought she was making use of her imagination but now it is really becoming a problem. How should we handle this?

Our nine-year-old daughter told some whoppers; she felt that she was not as good at art as some of her classmates. When other kids start making wise cracks about another one's abilities, lies seem to be the route to take to help themselves feel better about whatever. It took a while for us to finally figure out what was going on but once we did, we told her that she wasn't going to be the best in everything she did and that it was fine because no one was perfect. We gave her extra attention in various areas and she started to get back to her old self again. - Patti T. in Seattle, WA


Don't take it personally because she is at an age where she should know better but is choosing to do it anyway. There's really not a reason to yell, blame or explode every time she stretches the truth. Stay calm. There are all kinds of reasons why she may be doing this. However, it is going to be up to you to find out why. If you feel it's an outright lie, talk with her about each one she tells and try to figure out if they're connected to something that is going on in her life. See if she does it before, during or right after a certain situation. It could be that her self-confidence has been depleted in one or more areas at school or somewhere else that she's involved. Talk with her teacher and see if there are any problems that you are not aware of in the classroom, gym, playground, etc. Sometimes, teachers don't share every little thing with a parent, especially if they think it can be corrected at school. If she seems to be lying to avoid some type of punishment, like getting grounded after doing something that merits it, then she may be doing it to simply get out of the consequences. She could be lying because she doesn't want to disappoint you. Maybe she just made a mistake and doesn't know how to verbalize this and so she fabricates something that sounds better to an eight-year-old. Even some cartoons and TV shows have characters in them that tell little white lies just to be nice to a person. Perhaps she has picked it up there or from a movie. Be sure to explain to her that people will lose trust in others who lie because no one knows when to believe them and it can also affect friendships and other relationships. The good news is that explaining to your daughter that lying is not the way that she needs to handle a situation, why it isn't and why honesty is better, will likely sink in over time, even if she trips up a few times along the way.

Our son who is in kindergarten has just begun to be very defiant. His teacher recently took a maternity leave and there's a new one. Is this a part of it? How should we handle it?

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