To think that it's not ok for 6-year olds to lie?

(32 Posts)
cantreachmytoes Mon 25-Feb-13 01:19:28

..or any other age, for that matter!

Just had 6 (nearly 7) year old nephew stay for the weekend. I don't know any children that age, which is why I'm asking, but he told lots of little lies over the time, many of them were over him doing things he wanted and knew the answer would be no to if he asked (for a good reason too!), or just that he shouldn't be doing, then blaming it on my 16 month old son. He always did them when my DH or I were out of sight ie gone to the loo, getting a cup of tea etc.

He's an incredibly indulged little boy by his parents and wider family (my ILs) and my husband let him away with the lies each time. I didn't. Just said that DS couldn't have done X because he doesn't know how to, but didn't make a massive deal. Incidentally, he stopped the lies to me by the end of the weekend, not to DH.

Is this just something 6/7 year olds do and grow out of, or AIBU to think that it's not ok and should be pointed out? I ultimately would be upset if one day DS stayed with people (relatives or not) and did what nephew did.

wombatcheese Mon 25-Feb-13 03:24:37

I agree, I'd be really cross with my 3 or 4 yr old if they ever lied to me. I don't think it's acceptable or should be tolerated at any age.

timidviper Mon 25-Feb-13 03:28:15

I think it's more a product of his upbringing. Children will get away with as much as they are allowed to, as you have discovered.

my kids at much older lie. I neither tolerate it or find it acceptable and EVERY SINGLE TIME make life really unpleasant for them because they lied (and it is very easy to tell when my 16 year old is lying). It is something that really winds me up.

I think it is unrealistic to expect children to not do things you find unacceptable . Kids like everyone are not perfect and often do thing their parents are very unhappy with.

MammaTJ Mon 25-Feb-13 05:09:29

It is not acceptable and as timidviper says, they will do what they can get away with.

However, all children try it at some point. The important thing is how you deal with it.

BlueyDragon Mon 25-Feb-13 05:19:34

Definitely not ok to lie, but not unusual in 6 year olds IME. I'm not sure there's anything you can do beyond not tolerating it yourself, though.

I was told once that the capability to lie at a young age is evidence of intelligence hmm as they need to be able to separate reality and fantasy to do it. That may well be true, but doesn't make it right.

MammaTJ Mon 25-Feb-13 05:32:38

Aw, Bluey, you have just made me so prouf of my super bright children. grin

MammaTJ Mon 25-Feb-13 05:33:09

prouf proud

BigAudioDynamite Mon 25-Feb-13 06:26:15

My 7 year old tells great big whopping lies...she fabricates entire days! Must be ^ very^ intelligent! hmm grin

I'm not too bothered. I tell her about the not who cried wolf each time, I'm sure she will grow out of it

Differences with your nephew though; she tells me she is lying herself usually, shortly after telling the lie; I'm pretty confident she wouldn't lie to other people; I'm very confident she wouldn't lie to manipulate people or a situation/to blame someothee person etc.....I think its more like an over active imagination.

I don't find it surprising or awful behaviour though

mummytime Mon 25-Feb-13 06:44:55

Being able to lie is a sign of intelligence, although it is a greater sign of intelligence if the lie is actually believable.

3 and 4 year olds can't lie, or at least not believably.

I think most posters here probably do not have children of 6 or older, as it is something all children do. It's a tricky problem. I always dealt with it by making it clear if I knew what they said wasn't true. We also had worse consequences if something was covered up by lying.

However, if you are the Aunt, its not really your place. Just make in clear that with normal adult omniscience you know he is lying.

I would be careful of labelling him as indulged or saying your child won't do that, as you will probably regret it when your precious baby starts lying.

FarBetterNow Mon 25-Feb-13 07:14:57

I often lied as a child and NEVER admitted I was lying, because I thought I would then be in double trouble. In troble for the misdemeneur and in trouble for lying!
I don't lie now I'm an adult.

RedHelenB Mon 25-Feb-13 07:42:31

Peopletell little lies all the time so I don't see it as a big issue unless it's told in a deliberate way to get someone else into trouble - no one on this board has never told a lie I'm sure

Budgiegirlbob Mon 25-Feb-13 07:43:32

ALL children of that age lie! Some are better at it than others, and some do it more often than others, but they will all lie at some point.

I once saw on television an experiment in human behaviour where a number of 6 year olds were placed, one at a time, in a room, sitting on a chair with a train set behind them. An adult would leave the room and say "Don't look at the train set". She would leave the room for one minute, the children were secretly observed, then she would come back in and ask "Did you look at the train set?". Every single child looked, and every single child answered "No".

It's natural for a child to lie. I have one child who lies a lot, and two who only lie rarely (either that or they are very good at it!). It doesn't mean that I have to accept it though, and there are always consequences if I catch them lying. I think most children will grow out if it as they mature.

Branleuse Mon 25-Feb-13 07:48:26

children lie all the time. Its not always a big deal, half the time its just fantasising or theyve convinced themself its true. My two littlest blame each other for stuff all the time. I dont think its a big deal at that age tbh, although i will pull them up on it, In dont think its sinister or the result of a terrible upbringing

jendot Mon 25-Feb-13 07:48:34

My kids tell fibs all the time. Especially if it means they avoid getting into trouble! I like to think I spot the fibs and certainly pull them up on it but I don't think I can stop them doing it.....
I fib lots. Mil asks be if I enjoyed lunch... Yes! Sis asks me if she looks fat in new dress.... No!

There is the possibility that nephew was feeling a little jealous of your ds and hoped to turn the positive attention to himself by getting negative attention for your ds. Kids are funny things.

MrsMelons Mon 25-Feb-13 07:53:18

The OP never suggested her DC would not lie - she said he was 16 monthhs so couldn't have done the things the nephew was lying about! I think most people would be upset if their 6 YO stayed with relatives and lied to them - I can't see that it is normal in the situation the OP describes.

I have 7 and 5 year old boys and the 5 year old lies more than my eldest, mainly to try and get himself out of trouble. Neither of them lie a lot though ie completely making stuff up, as I have always made sure they get into more trouble if they lie than the thing they have actually done wrong. I am sure they lie at other times such as at school to get out of trouble but hopefully the teachers are able to pull them up on it if need be but of course I hope they don't lie too much.

I think it IS your place to say something if you are looking after a child, I look after a little girl for a friend and I make it very clear when I know she is lying (which she does a lot and very badly so I always know). My friend is fine with that as she is in my care.

duffybeatmetoit Mon 25-Feb-13 07:53:28

I can't stand my 5 yr old lying although I accept that all small children do. I do try to stop it though as her father has a huge problem with it himself. He lies endlessly and convinces himself that he is telling the truth even when it is blindingly obvious that it can't be true. I don't want people looking at my dc the way people look at him.

flow4 Mon 25-Feb-13 08:17:32

It's something young kids do and almost always grow out of. I'd probably call him on the lies you spot, but in a matter-of-fact way, not crossly.

But also bear in mind that children often lie because they're in situations they can't handle - as the TV experiment showed. They do something because they are too young to stop themselves, then lie because they wish they hadn't, as well as to avoid trouble.

Were you expecting your nephew to resist temptation, or suppress his natural curiosity, or deal with boredom by himself? If so, he lied because he couldn't handle it, and you may need to expect less of him, give him more attention and provide more structure for his activities next time.

BlueyDragon Mon 25-Feb-13 15:55:45

Aren't our kids amazing, MammaTJ? I'm off to start a G&T thread entitled "My DD has started lying. The school won't move her up a class. What should I do?"

grin

Enfyshedd Mon 25-Feb-13 16:10:22

DSS2 is 6 and went through a phenomenal lying phase at 5. My friend whose DD is only a month younger than DSS2 also had the same thing and would phone me asking if DSS2 was doing the same.

DSS2's favourite saying whenever he broke something was "It did it itself!" - doesn't really work when you were watching him like a hawk at the time that he dropped his late grandfather's old camcorder which DP foolishly IMHO, but let's not judge let him hold.

Dahlen Mon 25-Feb-13 16:20:25

I thought lying was a normal stage of child development. It's the phase when children learn that they can manipulate their environment and the people in it. It is a necessary stage of learning. The issue is not the lying but how it is dealt with and what lessons the child learns as a result.

cantreachmytoes Tue 26-Feb-13 12:11:32

Thanks! Glad it's a bit "normal".

He is "indulged", I'm afraid. He has ALWAYS been treated as a special child because he had to avoid certain food products until about age four (lactose primarily). His parents would talk about it as though he was severely ill because he couldn't have the same slice of birthday cake as other children did. This was all in French, which I didn't speak terribly well at the time and I had to double check with my DH after one visit, because I suddenly thought I'd horribly misunderstood: he was gravely ill and I thought he wasn't able to eat milk products. Truly, not exaggerating. This behaviour has continued now that the allergies have gone (apparently) and he now has asthma. I'm not downplaying asthma, but he definitely doesn't have childhood leukemia and you would think he does from how he is treated by his parents and sometimes by the GPs.

My DS is special to me, but I like to think that if he had an illness or problem I would be sympathetic, help him, but also treat him normally!

As for the lying, it was things like my son had just got a football that had the netting still on it. We had said to nephew we were leaving it on because it was easier for DS to carry that way. Next day it was off and apparently my 16 month DS had torn it off..when I know for a fact he couldn't physically have done it. Another example was that I was exhausted (pregnant) and asleep in bed. He knew I was sleeping and came in and woke me up with DS saying that DS had opened the door. Of course he hadn't! DS can't reach it and our door handles are too stiff for him just yet even if he's carried. It's not a huge deal, but there were quite a lot of things like this in a relatively short time period.

Maybe part of it was trying to focus the attention back on him (at family gatherings, due to his 'conditions' the ENTIRE family has to do what suits this child from the time we all eat dinner to when we open presents at Christmas - and it drives me NUTS) as he's not used to being in family situations and not being centre of attention, so that would make a lot of sense. This was the first time I've seen him lying and is also the first time I've seen him without his parents (not the first time he's been away without his parents and his grandmother was with him, who he spends a few weeks alone with each holiday) and while the weekend was for him, I wasn't arranging every minor detail around him.

He's a really nice boy, so hopefully it's something he grows out of, because it's clearly not something his parents are going to stop...

Fillyjonk75 Tue 26-Feb-13 12:14:51

He sounds a little bit like me when I stopped being the only grandchild at a similar age. He'll get over it. I don't think it's acceptable for adults not to pick him up on it, but I don't think it's unreasonable for him to do it, IYSWIM.

Goldenbear Tue 26-Feb-13 12:39:16

TBH, I don't think either of those examples are that bad. I think you're expecting quite a lot from a 6 year old. If your eldest is 16 months it is easy to think, 'I will never let my DS do that when he is older.'. The reality is they get older and it is not always as simple as telling your DC not to do something and they stop doing it. For a start they can talk back and have their own ideas about things, unlike 16 month olds! Unless you want to be a, 'Do as I say or else' parent then you'll find children are not as obliging as you might hope.

Equally, if he has dietary needs then I can well understand why the family would prioritise his needs when you are all eating together- surely it was to make him feel included?

cuteboots Tue 26-Feb-13 13:26:33

My son is now nine but last year we went through a stage of him lying and not just little lies either. It was being caused by some bigger stuff going on in the background and this was his coping mechanism if you like. I agree with Dahlen on this one and its how you deal with it that counts

tedmundo Tue 26-Feb-13 13:42:38

My 6 yr old lies and it gets worse if they think you are going to be cross with them. I take the angle that its braver to tell the truth, even if it is hard to do so, and that I will be very proud of him for being brave.

The hard bit is not to then be pissed off at whatever the confession is!

DonderandBlitzen Tue 26-Feb-13 13:50:01

My dd is nearly 6 and she lies. This thread has reminded me I need to read up on how best to deal with it actually as i don't find it acceptable. I do always call her on it, but it hasnt stopped it. I don't remember my elder dd going through this stage. She's always been quite truthful i think.

cantreachmytoes Tue 26-Feb-13 19:06:03

Golden - I have no problem with him eating different food at family gatherings, or for the family to eat different food so he eats the same. It's more that if he's wanting to watch cartoons, then during a family dinner (as in extended family who have travelled for 3+ hours, sometimes from overseas) we have to leave the TV on during the meal, loud enough for him to hear. If the table has been set so the host can get to the kitchen easily and he's wants her seat, then she has to give him her seat, making her jump over people to get out to the kitchen. If he wants to go out when the family has decided to stay in for the afternoon, then suddenly we're all going for a walk. If he wants to open Christmas presents at a certain time, that's what happens. It's nothing to do with allergies/intolerances/asthma, it's just being indulged! There are other grandchildren around at these meals and events too, but their needs are ALWAYS secondary, including the babies. Any attempt to deal with him equally to the other children, is over ruled by his parents, mother especially - and the family are too scared of the wrath of his mother to change the situation. She is an entire thread of her own though!

I don't expect any child to do what they're told (I didn't - and still don't!), I guess it's all about gentle steering over the long term. I just found the number of lies in a short period strange and unnecessary, and having not been around lots of that age group, I really don't know what is 'normal' and wasn't sure if pointing out (not reprimanding) that what he said couldn't be true, was a decent way to go about dealing with it.

tedmundo I can absolutely see myself in that position in a few years time!!

Saski Tue 26-Feb-13 19:16:35

My kids have lots of meandering stories that change as they are re-told, I think it's normal. Reality is different for a 6 year old than an adult, there's quite a lot of crazy interpretations.

Also, kids are mortified at the prospect of getting in trouble with people other than their own parents, this might contribute.

cantreachmytoes Tue 26-Feb-13 20:06:37

I don't think he's ever got into trouble with any of the family members - ever!

I'm thinking that things like coming into the room when he knew I was sleeping and then saying my DS opened the door was a childlike way to get attention from me, using the lie as an 'opener'. It wasn't malicious and seems (to me) kind of pointless, so that's my only explanation. Sadly, I didn't think of that at the time as I was too tired and just wanted to sleep!

cantreachmytoes Tue 26-Feb-13 20:09:32

Have to say though, that while I don't think I will ever agree with how he is treated by the larger family, I do think that my expectations were too high and I could have been more sympathetic. If I had been less tired and able to give him more attention, then I wonder if there'd have been so many lies..but then again, that would be in the area of pandering like the rest of the family. No lies, but then everything goes his way.

mum11970 Tue 26-Feb-13 20:15:35

My dss (19) lies continually and he's bloomin rubbish at it, drives us mad. Arghh.

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