Lying - Rochester,NY

Updated on August 27, 2011
S.L. asks from Rochester, NY
14 answers

my daughter is 3 years old and for some reason, she lies. I ask her if she, for instance, if her daddy gave her her gummy vitamins. She said yes confedently. I asked her again, and she confedently said yes again. Then I asked my husand if he did, and he said no. What should I do about this? she lies all the time about things--like, 'i didn't do it.' when I was standing right there and saw her do something. I need to nip this is the butt asap before she get older because if this coutinue, she'll start lying to me when she's older and then I won't have that trust in her--the trust will be broken.
<the next day>
I've been feeling horrible about me over reacting. I'm glad I wrote and got what was going on. I've been obsessing over this the whole day. And I have had an eye-awaking moment. I realized I was actually over thinking, making a big deal over a little thing. I've actually have decided to take a lighter look at things and relax a whole much more. I regreat senserly my thoughts at the time and I realized that I was at fault for thinking of that.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I feel really stupid for my terminolagy! very stupid and see what everyone is thinking!!!

I have NOT slapper her, or washed her mouth out. But reading everyone is saying makes a whole lot of sense to me. Being mean is never the option. I was just concerned and wanted to know what others thought about it (the lying part). I adore my little girl. She's funny and energetic, always ready to run like crazy. She a great kid and I am blessed to have her. And the reminder of her age, and whats going on in her mind got me thinking. So, I am so sorry for those who think I'm a abuser. I'm not. If I get the feeling of stressed out, I step away from the situation for a breather. Sometimes I just sit with the kids and watch a movie to cool off.

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answers from New York on

I hope you are being sarcastic when you mention slapping and soap in the mouth. Both are abusive. The best way to teach honesty is by example. Also explain the concept whenever the opportunity presents itself. If she is still lying in a year or so and has shown no signs of improvement, consult a psychologist.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

No you do not wash out the child's mouth out with soap. She is 3.

Maybe should be more specific. Do you remember if dad gave you your vitamin today?

If you ask a 3 year old did dad give you your vitamin? That could mean at any time has dad given you a vitamin?.. ..

Then you need to figure out, why is she lying. She sounds like she does not want to disappoint you or is worried she will get in trouble if she answers "no" to you or searching for what you want to hear.. ..

"I could slap her face every time she lies, but what does that teach? Should I wash her mouth out with soap? Lying is a fithy habbit like swearing....what would you guys think?"

Your above statement made me stop when I read it.. I actually checked to see if you were a real poster.. It sounds so violent and angry.

Please promise us you do not speak this way in front of your child EVER.
It is so over the top.

Make your home a safe place for everybody to feel safe when they tell the truth. Even if it is disappointing. You can say. Thank you for telling me the truth to reinforce the truth.

My mother made me and my sister a promise. "If you will tell me the truth, I will not be mad. I may be disappointed or my feelings may be hurt, but I will not be mad.." She has always kept this promise and it made us feel safe to admit the truth,

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answers from San Francisco on

Slap her face? Wash her mouth out with soap? Are you serious?

She's only THREE. That's called make-believe or pretending. I think you need to relax. If she is not telling the truth when she's about six, then you need to do something about it. Until then, you should be gently teaching her about telling the truth.

Like Laurie said, below, I also checked to see if this was a real post, because that statement was so over the top.

Mellow out, mom.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh my gosh, people! Lying is a developmental phase in a preschooler's life.

The baby is doing what she is supposed to developmentally. Know that her little mind is working overtime as it becomes a bigger girl. Come back and ask us when she is 8 and doing this. But even then you won't hear me recommend physical punishment.

BTW, this is a white lie. ADULTS tell them all of the time, including you. Ever said someone looked nice when they didn't? How about turning down a new food by saying you had a bad experience with it in the past?

Nothing earth shattering comes of saying you took a vitamin when you didn't.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

The first thing I thought of was how literal my daughter was...she wasn't trying to pull anything over on me. You should have asked "did daddy give you your vitamin after you got your juice"? She could have been thinking about last week.

You need to get it together....she's three! My all means, nip it in the bud. Teach with love and understanding and trust!! I think you are going a little crazy to want to slap her face every time she lies (that may not be lies in 3 year old brain). Should you wash her mouth out with soap every time? Yikes!! What will that teach her? That mommy is violent, doesn't love us like we see with our friends and let's figure a way to get out of this house ASAP. It will also teach them that you don't have the ability to behave in a calm, caring, maternal manner.

That face slapping, soap washing to your toddler...You might want to develop some new parenting skills containing will get so much more out of that.

ETA: You can change your posting around all you want, you lose control and want to slap your kid. As a mom, the sooner you get on board with teaching patience and love, the better off you will be. You need to trust her, she really needs to trust you or she will be the 12 year old sneaking out at night.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Did you leave out a 1? She is 3 right, not 13? They do this, they manipulate (not the negative implication) stories to get their imaginations going. She isn't doing it to trick you. You can talk to her about why the truth is so important and give examples of a lie and the truth This is a developmental stage they use it trying to figure out how far their imagination stretches. Wash her mouth out? Really? That is just crazy. You don't expect her to know what 22+3+4+9 is do you? Same thing, this concept is not something she will rationalize.I hope you don't hit her like that. I don't know why you would even bring that up... that is extreme to slap a child in the face whether it was condoned in the past or not, especially for something that is as normal as a 2 year old wanting to do things by themselves.

She isn't doing it as a filthy habit, the "I didn't do it", if she is truly doing it to get out of trouble then you need to re-evaluate your punishments... your punishments shouldn't breed sneakiness and if they do they are too harsh. My daughter is almost 3 and I couldn't imagine sticking soap in her mouth because she stretched the truth, my heart would break just watching that esp at a young age where this is a great creative development. She said yes confidently b/c maybe she thought you were talking about another day or she thought it was today and it wasn't, my mom thought she took her medicine one day but didn't. I think you are placing too much expectation on your 3 year old.

I agree with Michelle Q and started wondering if you punish harshly or punish for unrealistic expectations and I do think that these kind of punishment considerations are a slippery slope sometimes. There are tons of healthy ways of teaching and consequences that don't involve traumatizing her taste buds.

And yes, there are kids that have a reaction to the soap in their mouth and die. A punishment should never cause a child to be anywhere near death. A time out, toy taken away, etc will never cause death (unless there's some crazy neglect in hand with it)

So what happened: Good for you, I hope that's for real. I didn't get from your original wording that you did it, but I did add it in my post just in case because I do not think it's okay to slap or wash a child's mouth. It's good and I hope your really do take a step back when you get mad, I know how that is. There are a few times where I had to go into another room and just chill out for a minute.

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answers from Portland on

A three year old doesn't yet understand truth in a literal way. She wants to please you, and is telling you what she thinks you want to hear. She's still at the age of magical thinking, and that's not something you can nip in the bud – she'll outgrow it. As long as she sees you and other important adults in her life being trustworthy and not fabricating untruths and excuses, she'll eventually figure this out.

Some lying does start at this age – kids will outright deny something they just did to avoid getting in trouble, but again, that is magical thinking. They "undo" the misdemeanor in their own minds (which was often the result of childish clumsiness or a momentary impulse), and then they tell you what they think would make you happy.

Beyond expressing your disappointment, don't punish her for lying at this age. She'll know she did something wrong, but isn't quite sure yet what to do differently. Just keep giving her examples of good communication. When she makes a mistake or misjudgment, show her how to make it right again. The point of punishing is to call a child's attention to repeated misbehavior and make her afraid to do it again. But teaching a child good behaviors, and then appreciating her for doing them, will teach most children more effectively.

And you don't want to discourage her from communicating with you. Slapping and soap in the mouth will probably only confuse her and make her afraid to tell you things. Few parents use these techniques any more because they don't really accomplish anything positive.

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answers from Redding on

Lying isn't good, but I think you need to look at this from a different perspective.
Your daughter is 3.
Ask any child psychologist. At that age, there is a difference between truth, fantasy, and lying.
Sometimes little kids give you answers that they "wish" were true.
You asked your daughter if her dad gave her gummy vitamins.
She said yes.
To me, that seems like something that could be a pretty abstract question.
In what year did you mean? What day? That day? EVER?
Keep in mind that little kids also don't really have concept of time.
If you ask her if she put napkins on the table, and there are no napkins, you know she obviously didn't do it right after asking her. She may say she did.
Is it the same as deviously lying to you?
I personally don't think so.
I don't think it warrants a slap or soap in the mouth.
Sometimes being creative is the key. You could say, "Well, you must have used invisible napkins, because I can't see any on the table". Then you give her the napkins and ask her to try again.
Let's say you see her spill her juice. There is no point in asking her if she just did that. You saw her. She may well say she didn't do it. It could be because she "wished" she hadn't just done that.
And, with little kids this age, it's best not to ask them "why" questions because they likely don't know "why".
Why did you spill your juice?
Why did you say you didn't?
Sometimes little kids simply aren't sure what the right answer is. They usually hope for the one that will tick mom off the least.

She's 3. You have to help her learn the difference between what's real and what isn't. She may tell you a fanciful story about flying home from the grocery store on a purple dragon.
That is not the same as lying to you or being dishonest.

Does she go to preschool? You could run this past her teacher because she likely has lots of experience with kids who do this as part of normal development.

Best wishes.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

For such an important question related to whether or not your child ingested medicine or vitamins, you should be asking the other adult not your 3 year old. Kids have zero concept of time - why would you be asking her if she had vitamins today or not? I would never trust a three year old answer to that question because who knows what is going on in that head. She may think you are asking her about last Thursday, tomorrow or whatever. She may think you are talking about the purple unicorn next door. She really doesn't yet grasp the concept that her answer is very important because you are basing a decision about whether to introduce more chemicals into her system on her answer (which is ridiculous).

As for soap and slapping a three year old - seriously? If she were 10 and lying MAYBE I could see how this would cross your mind. At 3 -I don't get how you think that is at all appropriate. Like I said earlier, she has no idea what timeframe you refer to or the import of her answer. Keep in mind you are talking to a mom who does believe in spanking - but give me a break not nearly in this situation.

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answers from Chicago on

I just wanted to tell you that lying is developmental step :) not an offense. It is a milestone, like walking, talking, etc. Lying requires a complex thinking and a lot of imagination on child's part. I know it is not what you like to hear but you should be happy your daughter mastered a lie. I approached this like "So..... you made a little story, hah?" Find out why the child is telling a lie. Is it playing make-believe (fantasy), is it to avoid a punishment? Have an open conversation, not all lies created equal. Tell her which ones do hurt your feelings and which ones you wish were really true.
Good luck mommy.

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answers from Rochester on

You need to teach her WHY lying is wrong. From the beginning, with ours, we've taught this from a Biblical perspective...God does NOT want you to lie, and it will ALWAYS get you in trouble. We do not allow ANY lie in our house, not even the "nice" ones like "Yes, grandma, I like this casserole" when in honesty, you do not.

Our oldest, six, to my knowledge, has never told a lie. But she understands how grave it really is to do so. A child with no "moral" teaching on the subject does not understand why lying is wrong...just because you SAY so isn't a reason. She doesn't see the consequence. To her, if she lies, it makes a situation better.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Tell her god knows when she is lying and she doesn't get treats or to play when you know she is lying.

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answers from Houston on

I don't even consider it lying at this age. My son is 3--soon to be 4 in October. I agree with a lot of the responses you have received.

In the morning my son gets his vitamin and purple medicine (claritin). On many days after his nap he will say "mommy, you didn't give me my vitamin or purple medicine this morning". It's not that he is lying, he just doesn't realize that we are on the same day still...especially since he just got up from sleeping.

We do go to church and teach our son that God doesn't like liars but at this point he doesn't know what a lie is. We will explain more to him when I think he is able to understnad the total difference between the days, playing and pretend...ect.

I am disabled and stay home with my son and unfortunately, many times I can't do something with him due to various pains. A few times my son has come to me and told me that such and such was hurting. I have to sit him down and ask him if he is just joking. And each time I explain to him how important it is that I know the truth since I need to decide if he needs to go to the doctor. Then he will tell me if he is joking or not.

At times when I do have my husband give him his medicines, I will ask my son first and if he says no he didn't get them then I tell him we have to wait so that I can ask daddy so that I don't give him too much medicine. I put the responsibility of something so important in my husbands lap, not my son's mouth.

My son will also always talk about what we did "yesterday". It's not that he is lying but he honestly doesn't know yesterday from 5 days ago.

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answers from New York on

A 3 year old doesn't really get the concept of lying yet. They are still in the magical thinking stage for a few more years. Even my 5 year old will tell creative stories though he is getting better at knowing what is real. After age 7 you can teach this lesson better because you child can understand it better.

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