Lies, lies, lies - FamilyEducation
Lies, lies, lies
06/07/2007 at 14:14 PM

My son is 11, and seems to be on his way to lying his way through his whole life.  He has been lying to me, his father and stepfather, about everything under the sun, from schoolwork to playing with his friends.

We have tried talking to him, trying to draw him out about what is going on when he decides to lie.  His answer is invariably "I don't know," or "I didn't want to get in trouble."

What can we do about this?  If it goes on much longer he's going to start getting himself into very serious trouble with people besides us.



I was a compulsive liar when I was little. My mom tried a lot of things, but what it came down to is that I had to decide that I wanted to be an honest person and then my parents were there to help as soon as I made that decision. I made the choice to be honest when I was 10 I think. I had lied about an older kid hurting my friend, and my friend's dad went over and yelled at the kid and scared him pretty bad, but the older kid said that we were lying about it (which was the truth,) and his dad got involved too, and it was a big mess. I hadn't thought about all the consequences, and when I told the truth about it my friend's dad was really disappointed in me and he told me that I'd made a fool out of him. I had to apologize to everyone involved and it was really really difficult for me, but I'd learned my lesson, and it totally changed my life. My advice is to let your son deal with the consequences of his actions (and words) head on. Don't shield him, or coushin the blow. Behave as if he is telling the truth as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Then if he fails a class or gets in trouble some other way love him, but let him take the full consequence.  Good luck. I know it's hard. 


Hey alesh,


Wow, this would be a big one for me, honesty is something I demand and I have talked to my daughter about it for years.  I would say that there have to be serious consquences to the lying.  And make it clear that he will get in a lot more trouble from lying than he will if he tells the truth.


He will have to decide to be an honest person on his own but I think that you making sure that he knows that this is a moral issue and that you and his father will have a zero tolerance policy about lying should help him understand the importance of telling the truth.




 her mother  needs to treat his in  a good  way so that he can stop liar he is to small to lie thank u



I am a stepmother of one year.  My partner's kids are 11 and 7.  They are quite good kids but they are always somehow getting into trouble or forgetting something so they cover up by lying to their father and myself.  We find it rather annoying and frustrating as we cannot trust them all the time.

I also want to know how to stop this or at least lessen it.

Thank you if you can help out.


As for the lying, my daughter has gone through similar situations too.  A few of her friends in the neighborhood lie all the time.  One time, I sent one home one time because my daughter told me she had done something only to find out a couple of days later that my daughter had really done part of it and got her in trouble because she wanted her to go home.  I just explained that it's okay to get tired of playing and the next time it happens to either tell the friend she is tired or tell me and I'll send her home.  I had to apologize to the friend the next time she was over.  Now I have an agreement with my daughter that if she comes and tells me the truth right away when something happens or when I am asking her about something, she doesn't get in trouble and there are no arguments.  This doesn't always work but for the most part it has.

Another important lesson is to try and not tell lies yourselves, i.e. tell the person on the phone I'm not home or to act sick and not be etc.  Those are confusing to children.  I've done it as well as probably a lot of people but it is confusing to my daughter.

A last resort is role playing.  I have used this sometimes with my daughter to show her how it feels to be lied to when you are in the other person's shoes or to be made fun of etc.  She really gets it a lot faster when we do this but she has to be willing to try this.  The best way to get them to understand is to have it happen to them.  I didn't tell the whole truth one time on purpose and my daughter was so mad when she found out I had lied to her and she wasn't going to get a certain game or toy I had said I got.  Nothing worked better than having her experience how it actually felt to be lied to first hand and realizing how devastating it can be to someone else.  That is a drastic measure to take sometimes but effective.


Hi tara225,

You made some great points about kids lying. The concept about parental modeling is important for parents to understand and put into practice. Kids are better observers than listeners.

I am always amused when I hear a parent explaining why something their kid just saw them do which was wrong, is ok just this once. Maybe that old saying, "In one ear and out the other." is true because the ears are inline with each other. Not so for the eyes, apparently what they see you do has no way out.

I'm glad you said role playing was the last resort: it can backfire. There are other types of behavior where it is not especially effective, like hitting and stealing. There is a danger the child will use the same techniques on other children or adults long before the development of fine tuned, selective  judgment about when to start, realize the point was made and stop, and when not to do it at all. Remember, “What you allow, you teach, and what you teach you allow.” So, don’t be surprised to experience her use of the same technique in the future.

I watched a mother smack a six year old son’s hand as an example of what it felt like when he hit her. Later, she spanked him for slapping his younger brother’s hand, for doing the same thing after the younger one poked the 6yr old. Mom didn't see the connection. Sadly, she only satisfied her need for immediate intervention regardless of the lack of learning. I fear that is a disease infecting many parents these days.

DaMoKi Bob



I am a stepmother of two years. My huband's boys  are10 and 7 and I have a 11 year old girl. The 10 year old lies all the time. Over stupid little things like who left the milk out to things like telling his father things his mother supposely said to cause a fight. But the thing that has me most concerned is our three kids have been in school for just 2 weeks and the 10 year old is already a week behind!! The boys live with their mother and we get them on the weekends. We called over to their house the other Thursday night to tell the boys good night and they were not even home. It was 9 o'clock and they were at Walmart shopping, homework not done and they had not even eaten  yet!! So how do we handle this. Their mother is the primary parent according to the divorce but things with her and us are good we try to be friends for the kids. I want to help my step son but don't know how. Any advice would be very welcomed.


 Hello Heather!

I saw your message and I am glad that I have found another stepmother to talk too.  I am going through some real hard times right now.  I am just wondering if you would mind helping me out...and who knows maybe we could help each other out!  I wont go into to my whole life story til I hear back from ya!  Hope to hear from you!

Heather :-)


I went through the lying thing with my daughter when she was young. The way I handled it was when she got caught in a lie, I would give her a punishment, then explain to her that if she had told the truth her punishment would have been less. Also, when she did tell the truth about something she had done wrong, I would tell her what her punishment would have been had she lied about it. I explained to her that sometimes it is really tough to tell the truth, especially when you know what you did was wrong. Having the bravery to be honest when you know you are going to get in trouble is very hard for a child. Good luck with yours, and remember to reinforce honesty with some sort of praise or reward. Side note... now that she is an adult, my daughter is the most truthful person I know and she values honesty and trust above all else.