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10.23.2010

Lies That Reveal the Truth

What is it that makes kids lie when they don’t have to?

I have trouble enough when they lie to actually cover something up but that’s a different issue. What I’m talking about here is the lie that makes no sense. For example, I asked Tio if he’d bought lunch when he was downtown. He said no. I made lunch. He said he already ate. When, asked I. When I was downtown, the dear, sweet little tyke replied.

Tell me please, what is up with that? But it happens all the time over stuff so insignificant that I’m left scratching my head wondering what the point was. Is the sky blue? No, they say. Why lie about the bloody obvious? Is it fun? Did you find some paper for your project? Yes. Have you finished your project? I couldn’t find any paper. Do you like that dessert? No. I didn’t get any dessert. You said you didn’t like it. No I didn’t.

In the end, it’s a control thing, holding onto the truth. Pathological liars can’t help themselves. But children? If you’ll pardon the pun, do they come by it honestly? Generally, kids lie to shield themselves. We teach them that lying hurts more than telling the truth, help them be honest and reward the positive outcome. It won’t stop the intermittent lie and for some may never cure them of seeing the advantage to being deceptive.

Lying by habit is built of experience. Experience of success and experience of example. They see others do it, get lied to themselves, and recognize it as acceptable, and even profitable. These boys have grown out of this experience in their lives and often use a lie as the first line of defense, even when the truth would work better, even when the evidence speaks loudly to the contrary. Their parents did not hold the truth in high esteem and it shows. This makes the backtracking to an honest relationship more difficult. Sure, leading by example is all very good, creating an honest environment and all that. But if they don’t even notice the lie as it sprouts from their lips, we can’t make headway until they do.

It makes me wonder if they sometimes know what the truth really is.