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My daughter's a liar

(46 Posts)
Jix Mon 29-Jun-09 19:53:24

My 5 year old daughter is an accomplished and serious liar. It's come to a head this evening, when she asked if she could have another chocolate brioche. I said no, but when I went through to the kitchen the packet was next to her on the kitchen table, where she'd been doing some colouring.
She assured me, serious-faced and wide-eyed, that she hadn't taken one. I believed her! Then my son came through asking for a biscuit and I gave him one. She asked for one too.. and a sliver of doubt entered my head about the brioche.
I say: "Hang on.. I can check if you had a brioche by seeing how many are left in the packet!" and I pick it up.
At this point, she breaks into hysterical crying, screaming that she didn't take one.
I look in the packet and there are only 4 left, so there is one that's unaccounted for.
I'm furious but also shocked at how convincing she was.
She's gone to bed, hysterically claiming her innocence; I don't believe her but don't have definitive proof.
Do I just drop it now?
If I do, is it just showing her that she can get away with lying.
I want to encourage her to tell the truth, and in the past have even assured her that there won't be a punishment if she just tells the truth.
She's never cracked and has always point blank denied any charges.
This latest incident has been pretty blatant though hasn't it?
Any advice pleeeeaaase!!

Supercherry Mon 29-Jun-09 20:06:40

Have you told her about the story of the boy who cried wolf?

All you can do is explain why it's good to tell the truth and it will sink in eventually. It's probably just a phase, I wouldn't be too hard on her.

loobylolly Mon 29-Jun-09 20:11:27

You need to regain the upper hand so she knows that you know she's lying. Otherwise it will spin totally out of control.

I would say very gently, almost to myself, "someone has eaten this brioche, I wonder who it is, I hope nobody would lie about it because lying is much worse than just taking a brioche, if someone tells me they have taken it I won't be cross, we'll just have a chat..." etc etc, then hope it does the trick.

I have let my 5yo DD believe that mummies "just know" things in order to discourage lying. Sometimes an arch raising-of-eyebrows, followed by long eye contact and a prolonged silence can provoke guild-induced confessions.

My DD has spun some shocking tales, which I have swallowed hook line and sinker and which have got me into some embarrassing situations. I am now totally clear with dcs that lying --pisses me off-- makes me cross more than almost anything - and sometimes I have let real crime go unpunished in order to reward the truth telling that followed.

Not easy at all, good luck! Most importantly, make clear that you know what's going on...

jabberwocky Mon 29-Jun-09 20:13:49

I have convinced ds1, also 5, that mothers have a special magic that allows us to just "know" certain things. And, to a certain extent that is true grin

mascaraohara Mon 29-Jun-09 20:18:25

I 2nd the boy who cried wolf comment.

I think DD was about 5ish when I introduced the concept and I often bring it out again when she's trying to claim a sick day "Remember the boy who cried wolf"...

I think (hope) I've drummed it into DD that no matter what anybody tells her or how bad it is she must always tell me the truth.. I know she fibs about little things but I think that;s all part of growing up.

frogs Mon 29-Jun-09 20:18:39

Oh all of mine can lie for England if the need arises, and have done in situations like the one you describe. They're now much older and no in juvenile detention units yet, and by and large they're trustworthy. It's not a sign that your dd has a major character defect. Cheer yourself up by remembering that lying is a sign of intelligence.

Don't freak about it, or kill yourself looking for proof. It won't be the last time she does it, however you react. Huge confrontations are utterly counterproductive -- she almost certainly won't crack and admit it regardless of what you say or do, so if you go down that route you end up with increasingly hysterical questions and denials and the whole thing just escalates.

Just say, "Oh dear, I thought I could trust you not to help yourself without asking. What a shame you couldn't manage it. Next time I'm afraid you won't be able to take your own bun, I'll have to keep them safe somewhere so that no-one can take one without asking." You can reinforce it intermittently by making comments about how you trust her when she does XYZ, and how good it is that she's a big girl who can remember to do what you've said and not to do silly things.

Really, that's all it takes. She's very small, and to expect a 5yo to resist temptation when it's put in her way is optimistic to put it mildly.

Jix Mon 29-Jun-09 20:19:51

yes we've done that story, and she always nods very sagely and wisely.
she's just a bit calculating I think, and that scares me.
it's a horrible thing to find that there's something so intrinsic in your child that you don't like.
I'd almost prefer it if she was flat-out naughty but honest. At least then you can talk it through and sort it out.
Here it's hard to see any resolution.
You're right though - I can't go in heavy handed because she'll just continue to deny and deny.
She's actually been a very convincing liar from a very young age. I first caught her out when she was about 2. There was sand in the sitting room and I asked both kids what had happened. Both denied having anything to do with it... my son (who was about 4) turned bright red and couldn't look me in the eye, and seemed guilty as hell. My daughter though was calm as a cucumber and totally convincing. I believed her then too.. but then later caught her red handed!! All that's happened since then is that she's got more sophisticated.
I'm desperate to get this sorted out before she becomes a teenager!!! Yes.. I know .. I'm over-reacting now, but still .. I'm worried.
Is being deceitful something people really grow out of?

PotPourri Mon 29-Jun-09 20:27:15

Message withdrawn

loobylolly Mon 29-Jun-09 20:28:28

I agree about sorting it out now Jix - it's something that you can choose to tacitly allow or put your foot down about.

I don't imagine that my dcs never lie or never will lie, but they absolutely know it's a big deal.

There have been situations which I have let go with something like "there is more to this situation than you are telling me but I am not going to pursue this now".. Which is a bit of a cop out but still lets them know that you "know"!

Mine really don't lie so much any more. They know that if they tell the truth they will get "thank you for telling the truth. I'm still extremely cross about XYZ but I appreciate you telling the truth..."

Jix Mon 29-Jun-09 20:30:42

Sorry .. was replying to first post of the Boy who cried Wolf story, when all your other replies came in. Thank you all so much.
Frogs- love your response. It's great to hear from people with older children, and you're right.. there's no point blowing this up into a huge confrontation.
I guess it's just been a shock to me, because I didn't expect her to be SO good at it (even given her record). She totally had me fooled.

frogs Mon 29-Jun-09 21:24:34

y y, I've been convinced too. The first time. With the first child. We only found out 6 months later that we'd been comprehensively had -- iirc a toy aeroplane had got broken, we were pretty damn sure it was her, but she denied it so vehemently and so plausibly that we ended up feeling like total lowlifes for not believing her. And then months later we were moving some furniture and found the broken bits stuffed behind her chest of drawers. It was a real eye-opener, and taught me never to underestimate how plausibly they can lie. She's 14 now, and pretty trustworthy and reliable.

On the upside, it means they're bright, they have a theory of mind and is trying to see what they can do with it. I think they also lie because they know they've done something wrong (which is a good thing to realise) and panic that they're going to be discovered. Then having lied they realise they've backed themselves into a corner they can't get out of, and the lie takes on a life of its own. They'll virtually never back down once it's got to that stage. You can occasionally get lucky and call their bluff by asking the question in a way that presumes they have done it, eg. "Where did you put the wrapper after you ate the Twix that was in the cupboard?" or "Can you tell me where your brother's playmobil knight is now?" grin

Really, chill about it. Remind her that we all do silly things sometimes, or realise that we've made a mistake, and the best way of dealing with it is to tell people so that they can help you sort it out rather than trying to keep it a secret inside you.


Noonki Mon 29-Jun-09 21:37:27

She's very young still.

My DSS lied alot from about 5 - 11, I think he said things a few times and then believed them to be true so in effect was no longer lying iyswim.

Always give her an opporunity to get out of a lie. Instead of saying 'are you telling the truth' or 'don't lie' say 'are you teasing me, cheeky?' or 'ohhh porky pies' so she can backdown.
DSS is now 13 and apart from trying to wriggle out of homework he is pretty honest.

Just keep picking her up on it. And don't be too hard as she will be afraid to speak to you.

dittany Mon 29-Jun-09 21:42:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kalo12 Mon 29-Jun-09 21:45:04

i think the way you talk about this has probably impacted on why she tells lies. "I caught her out when she was 2"

"I then caught her red-Handed" she's "deceitful"

She ate a chocolate brioche without permission. If you brand toddlers as deceitful when they lack a little self control, or show natural curiosity (sand in the sitting room) then I'm not surprised she cannot admit it. I think I would lie too in her position.

Mintyy Mon 29-Jun-09 21:54:26

Noonki has already said what I was just going to say - she is only a little girl and she is trying it on. She is not quite sophisticated enough to know that you would have checked the packet or that you really would just know that she was lying. She thought she could get away with it (or perhaps she thought it was no biggie) and got caught out. When dc do this to me, I tease the truth out of them. Make it into a joke and get them laughing.

She is not as calculating as you think.

dittany Mon 29-Jun-09 22:20:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

plonker Tue 30-Jun-09 00:28:52

"Cheer yourself up by remembering that lying is a sign of intelligence"

Well, if thats true, I'm signing my six-year-old up for MENSA right now!! wink

The child can't lie straight in bed, I swear!

I'm hoping it's an age-thing. She really could tell you that black is white, and then prove it. As for the doe-eyed look, oh yes, she has that down to a tee hmm grin

I must admit that I too find it hard. I've also let her off several misdemeanors lately because she actually has told the truth, and just when I though I was getting through to her, she goes and lies to me again hmm
Part of it with my dd is that she feels her life isn't 'interesting' enough, and that she needs to embellish somewhat. Kids eh?


Tortington Tue 30-Jun-09 00:32:23

i am of the opinion that if you leave yummy food within the reach of a five year old - your mad to expect them not to nick it

so its your fault missus - put the packet safely away next time

FAQinglovely Tue 30-Jun-09 00:35:40

lol Custardo - what do you do when your 5yr old then goes HUNTING for the said hidden packet when you're out of earshot??? wink

CarpePerDiems Tue 30-Jun-09 00:37:00

Your daughter has been caught in some untruths, that doesn't mean she is a liar. I think you should be careful not to catastrophise and not to let her think that you now see her as being deceitful and a liar.

Telling lies to get out of trouble is a very normal stage and quite distinct from telling unprovoked lies to get others into trouble or to spin fantasies.

Just be calm about it, let her know that you know when she's lied and try not to assume that every answer is a lie. There will be times when she hasn't done what you think she's done and if you assume she's lying you'll damage the trust between you.

Yes it's good to get it sorted, but she's very young and lying at this stage is not an indicator of a deceitful personality.

FAQinglovely Tue 30-Jun-09 00:37:56

<<<<decides to stay out of the main of this thread because of her DS1 hmm>>>>>

Tortington Tue 30-Jun-09 00:39:01

you see - food always goes in the top cupboards in my house - always has done - and the fridge is too tall for a 5 year old.

so should my 5 year old gather up a chair from the living room - drag to kitchen - stand on it - stand on kitchen side - upen cupboard - find the food - open packet - then eat it.....i would be wondering whether is was actually a good idea to leave them on their own in the kitchen for so long. y'know considering the inherant dangers 'n' schniz grin

plonker Tue 30-Jun-09 00:39:56

Ah but Custy, what about when it's not food ...what about when it's a broken playhouse window and she has no recollection of how it could have ever possibly have been broken?? ...

FAQinglovely Tue 30-Jun-09 00:41:32

a chair - good grief that's FAR to complicated - pots, pans, tins, packs of flour/sugar etc, Anything that can be stacked used to do DS1 at 5yrs old grin

Oddly DS2 (my biggest and hungriest eater) - will stand and stare at food and not touch it for HOURS (and he's 5 1/2)

Tortington Tue 30-Jun-09 00:42:32

but if it was on the table - i wouldn't blame the kid - who could blame the kid - theres yummy stuff right there on the table kid - DONT EAT IT! its right there...right in front of you DONT EAT IT! your FIVE years old - show some restraint FGS, by this ripe old age you should know that you can't just eat yummy stuff left on the table and its absolutely NOT my fault for leaving it on the table right in front of you becuase your five five and should know better


you leave biscuits, brioche, sugar flavoured bum fluff in the reach of a five year old - they will eat it - so move it - common sense

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