Is She Lying?

Updated on December 01, 2011
A.C. asks from Aurora, IN
10 answers

I have an amazingly good 4 year old daughter. She colored on my walls when she was about 2 years old. After making her scrub some, a lengthy time out and a loooooooooooong lecture, she's never done it again AND tells other kids that it's wrong to color on the walls (if it comes up).

This evening we had to have a time out for not telling the truth. She was leaping off her bed, said she wasn't and on and on. So again, lengthy time out and a looooooooong lecture about lying to Mommy. Not 2 minutes later, I find pencil scribbles on her bedroom wall. I asked her if she did it and first she said no. I reminded her about not lying to mommy and she then said yes, she colored on the wall. She gave me details...... black pencil with a red top. She did it cuz she had no paper. On and on. Now, I'm not putting my DD in the perfect category cuz that's insane but this is very very unlike her. AND, in the past 36 hours, we've had 6 other kids over, 2 that are unruly. Neither my husband or myself can find this black & red pencil where she said she put it. The punishment I gave her was that she had to scrub on the wall to get the pencil off (that lasted like 2 minutes then I got it off) and she's grounded from TV tomorrow.

My question, given that I had just had a big talk with her about not lying and then reminded her when questioning her about the pencil about not lying; do you think I swayed her into saying she did it when in fact she didn't? Maybe I scared her into thinking if she said "no, I didn't do it" she'd be in more trouble for "lying" and so she just claimed it? It's really really not like her. What do you think Mamas? I'm really torn. I mean, I know "this will hurt me more than it hurts you" but I've got this gut feeling saying she's innocent. My husband is the same way. Rose colored glasses? Innocent & confused kid? AAAAAAH!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for your input. I feel I should mention, she has 3a drawers full of paper and coloring books. She just didn't have any in her room. Anyway, well take your suggestions to heart and discuss this with her further.

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answers from Hartford on

I don't think you made her admit to something she didn't do. She's at the right age for the behavior you described. You also handled it really well. I wouldn't dwell on it any more.

::thumbs up::

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

This is the age where you really have to stop yourself BEFORE you start asking questions. Give yourself a minute or two to compose yourself and your words. How do you want to present the question?
"Did you do ____?" Carries an accusatory tone, that a child can pick up on and think there is a "right" answer( "No.") But if you press them that they are lying (as if you don't believe them already) THEN the "right" answer can become "yes". Like you are already thinking may have happened.....
So don't ask "Did you ______?". Ask her instead, "HOW did _______?" and don't use the accusatory voice when you do. You will probably get a lot more information, probably a lot more honesty.
I honestly believe that kids live up to (or down to) our expectations. :)

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answers from Colorado Springs on

Four-year-olds are still working through the truth-and-falsehood business. They're getting it a little, but they're not always sure. Other things get in the way. For instance, if she wants to do something, sometimes she counts her desire as "truth" and goes ahead. If she has put herself in a hole and wants to get out of it, she might count that desire as "truth." As good as your daughter may be now, it will be a few more years before her understanding becomes really solid.

Here's something else: It's not at all unusual for a child to say what she thinks will please her mama or daddy - especially after a lecture. She's working this part of ethics out, too. And, unhappily, you used a leading question: "Did YOU do this?" That requires a yes-or-no answer. If you had asked, "What happened here? Tell me about this," she might have said, "I did it," or "Judy did it but she told me not to tell." (If your girl is accurate in her detailed description of the pencil, I would automatically wonder whether she might have been watching someone else do the dirty deed. But that's assuming the one of the other children was at your house when this took place.)

Cleaning up what she did (assuming she did it) was appropriate. And, as you said, that's all done. Use part of today for doing things together without TV, having some fun, and doing some talking (not lecturing).

You might find out a little more now by being curious (not angry!). "I was really surprised last evening, because you're haven't been a wall-scribbler since you were a baby. What gave you the idea? Did you think of it yourself?" Be friendly and casual. The incident is over, and this is just conversation. If it happened that one of the other children did the scribbling and she was covering, it might come out. Then you could have a talk about that. There is a great opportunity for communication here.

And yes, get her lots of paper to draw on! She could use the clean back sides of your used printer paper if you want to be economical.

Was there some bed-jumping when the other children were at your house?

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answers from Eugene on

I put butcher paper on the lower walls until my youngest was 7 years old. Scribbles, drawings we saved the ones they liked and put new paper up.
Don't freak about the lying. All kids do it and then the ones who aren't lied to stop.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

She's only 4. Don't sweat it too much. Just have her clean it off and tell her not to do it again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

What's done is done. Buy her a writing pad and let her use that to scribble on from now on. She is at the stage of writing but I think she knows better not to write on walls at that age. Not only that you have not seen that again since she was 2 until now, so if you really have the gut feeling she did not do it, just remind her again that Mommy doesn't want you to lie and then forget grounding her from TV tomorrow!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh no. I keep 5 four year olds in my house and when they know they're innocent, they yell it from the rooftops! Never give in! Lol. She's 4. She might even do it again.



answers from Cleveland on

i'm sorry. Don't over analyze the situation. There is much bigger things that are going to happen in the future. I hope you are not nit picking everything she does wrong.



answers from Charlotte on

She is angry at you for trying to make her admit that she has lied about something. All the grilling you do about her telling lies ends up with her writing on the wall as her way of getting back at you for it. She jumps on the bed because it's fun and she is 4 - children this age CAN make themselves NOT do things, but sometimes they do anyway because they are children. That doesn't mean that you don't give her consequences for it, but I do think that you go overboard lecturing and punishing a child this young. It will either stamp out lying as she gets older, or she will act out more because you are so strict.

She doesn't think in the same way an adult does. I really think you should ease up some, but this is your decision to make.




answers from Dallas on

Only you know your child, and I would just talk to her more, if someone else did it then she should be able to say so.
And omg i ve had to paint the apartment 3 times because my 3 year old will grab a pen or marker and it only takes him one second to run around a make a long line on the wall.
I ve tried time outs and even yelled No lol but at the end they are just kids, i am sure that they ll stop doing it with time.
To help make things easier i ve thrown all markers/pens/crayons away. I know this was not your exact question but i had to comment because of the drawing on the wall thing.

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