Children are typically the most honest and innocent people in the world, next to elderly people of course. Although this is true, many young children know exactly when and why to bend the truth. My three year old is usually pretty truthful, but at times she tends to say she didn’t do something that I know she did, or in some cases she’ll blame someone for doing things they didn’t do. In both cases, I try to explain to her that being untruthful isn’t right in hope that it will deter her from telling even the smallest white lie.
The fact that a child so young is even aware that being untruthful is an option, makes me want to believe that this behavior is innate as opposed to learn. After all, who could have taught her to lie at such a young age? The easy answer to that would be her parents or the people she spends a lot of time with. Whether we realize it or not, we’re often responsible for the good and bad traits our children pick up on.
We often tell our children certain things so that they will do what we want them to do, or so they won’t be afraid of something as simple as a doctors visit or getting their hair combed. At some point your child catches on, and realizes that the truth is not the only option available. I’ll never forget the day my baby pulled a me on me. I used to tell her I needed to get the bugs out of her hair in order for me to comb her hair. It worked for a nice while, until one day she wanted to comb my hair. While she was playing in my hair she stopped and said, “ma ma, I have to get the bugs out of you hair.” I don’t even think she was two years old at the time, and she’d caught on to my game. As little as it may seem when we do it, we’re actually responsible for teaching our children how to lie.
Just think about it, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa are all big fat lies right? How do you encourage honesty in your home? I’d love to hear from you!