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When do sneaky lies start?

(13 Posts)
fisil Thu 30-Dec-04 08:21:21

Yesterday I was comforting myself on my birthing ball (provided by a MNer, of course). Ds is nearly 2 and doesn't know that we're expecting a baby yet. Obviously there is always some competition between him and me for the ball, so I explain that I have to sit on it to make my poorly tummy feel better.

So anyway, yesterday I was lying across it easing my aches and pains while ds had his evening milk. He came over to me and asked for a turn. I think I said no. He then said that his tummy was poorly so could he sit on it. I stopped using it soon after and he had a go, mimicking what I'd been doing, saying that he was making his poorly tummy better.

I assumed this was him manipulating me so that he could get to play with the ball.

DP said he thought that it was far too clever a lie for such a young child and that maybe his tummy was poorly.

DS then went and threw up spectacularly all over dp. I think it was fluke, dp upholds ds can't have been lying.

I'm just intrigued out of a child development point of view - no other reason. What do you think - can a child of this way make up such a lie in order to get his way?

FlashingRudolphNose Thu 30-Dec-04 08:39:53

Hmm, my dd2 is 21 months and I reckon she'd do this - it's not so much lying as copying, assuming the throwing up was a coincidence. If it wasn't, then you have a very bright bunny on your hands!

fisil Thu 30-Dec-04 08:41:14

that's interesting FRN - we think that it would be more bright to lie!

roisin Thu 30-Dec-04 08:44:25

I think some children might do this at this age, but I would have thought it extremely unusual. At this age most children have not developed 'theory of mind' - they do not understand that you don't know everything they know, and that you see things from a different perspective.

Ds2 only started to lie at about the age of 5.

DS1 (7.5) doesn't tell lies and doesn't believe his friends ever tell lies, but that's another story!

Moomin Thu 30-Dec-04 08:44:29

It sounds like he possibly was either copying or he really did have a tummy ache - seeing as he threw up afterwards! I don't think they're very good at lying at this age - they did an experiemnt on lying in 'child of our time' when they were 2 i think. you could always test him out by leaving him alone with the ball and spying on him to see if he uses it then ask him about it when you go back in.
Dd is 3 and has just started fibbing - i think she thinks that if she denies something it might make it real and therefore she won't get told off for it!

NotQuiteCockney Thu 30-Dec-04 08:47:10

I know DS1 started lying at about 3. The ability to lie, on purpose (rather than being confused and making up strange stories) is an actual skill they get.

A friend taught me a trick to test if they can lie. Get a small ball or toy. In front of your child, put the toy in one hand, then put your hands behind your back, move the toy about, and then offer them two closed hands, and get them to pick which one the toy is in.

Then get them to do the same thing for you. If they can't lie, they'll apparently just open their hands to show you which hand the toy is in. When I did this with DS1, he pushed the (closed) empty hand forwards to make me pick it!

I don't know when he actually learned to lie, as I was busy having DS2 around this time. He certainly got away with a few lies (yes, I had a wee, no, I didn't break that, etc) before I worked out he was capable of them!

NotQuiteCockney Thu 30-Dec-04 08:48:16

Oh, and DS1 doesn't understand what "lying" is, which makes telling him off for lying slightly tricky. He keeps saying "I wasn't lying with you, mummy". I think he has it confused with lying down.

fisil Thu 30-Dec-04 08:49:21

Yes, copying is a much better word than lying. A lot of his play is copying play at the moment. That's a much clearer way of explaining what I meant.

He just came over to see what I was doing and I told him the gyst of it, and he was still sticking to the story of the poorly tummy, so maybe it really was true. His tummy hurt, he has implicit faith that when I sit on the ball it stops my tummy hurting, so he thought he'd give it a go!

Interesting thoughts - I love marvelling at child development!

fisil Thu 30-Dec-04 08:58:16

NQC - just tried that (he loves the game, it's one of his favourites at the moment). When he did it he didn't bother to hide his hands, and he left the toy so that you could see it the whole time - and when I guessed the wrong hand, he showed me immediately! Love the experiment, thanks for that!

FlashingRudolphNose Thu 30-Dec-04 09:29:59

Another one from Child of Our Time is to sneakily put a blob of bright lipstick on their forehead then put them in front of a mirror. If they touch their own forehead, they're self-aware but if they touch the blob in the mirror, they don't have self-awareness yet.

Twiglett Thu 30-Dec-04 10:36:34

I think he's linking if I say my tummy hurts I get to lie on the ball that's fun .. don't think he's doing it as a 'lie' though .. although if he is I'd be amazingly impressed as that's a definite stage / achievement

personally i wouldn't say I was poorly when pg .. I start letting him know you're growing a baby in your tummy and the ball is good for the baby .. you don't want him to associate your tummy / new baby with being poorly do you?

fisil Thu 30-Dec-04 19:08:27

I see your point, twiglett, but we're not telling him for another month or so. And anyway, my tummy does feel poorly! I guess I'm just using language he would understand. I don't think that when we do tell him that I've got a baby in my tummy that he will see any link with the poorly tummy business.

WideWebWitch Fri 31-Dec-04 05:41:53

I agree, he's too young imo to knowingly lie so I reckon he probably did have a tummy ache and he was copying you. Moomin, I saw that child of our time thing too, it was interesting wasn't it? Basically, they were saying that children are incapable of it really until about 3 IIRC, can't remember the exact age. I remember saying to ds at about 3 or 4 yo 'have you got a tummy ache/whatever ailment it was because you want to sleep in my bed?' and he would answer honestly because he didn't know how to lie. Oooh, I liked that stage, it was sweet!

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