Why do kids lie?
There are many ways to avoid pain and lying is one of the most common. Ever wondered why children lie? It is usually to avoid perceived or real psychological/physical pain. Our brains are wired for protection and protection means avoiding pain.
Lying is a protective measure. It’s comforting to the brain when we feel that we are able to protect ourselves. The reason why adults lie is more or less the same reason – protection.
We don’t want to hear the truth, because that involves change and change involves struggle and struggle is pain. We also don’t want to admit the truth because admitting we were wrong or did wrong brings shame and shame is psychological and social pain.
We want to get our own way without perceived obstacles. Obstacles in the way of getting what we want are perceived in our brains as pain because it involves struggle, so to avoid pain we lie.
Lying is an avoidance of pain. It’s the avoidance of having to work through the fall out of something you did wrong or avoiding obstacles on your path to getting your own way. Lying can lead to inhibited emotional growth and maturity. This is the sad, and inevitable personal consequence of lying.
If we punish lying with pain it will lead to more lying. To help kids to stop lying, sit down with them and discuss the consequences for doing it, (inner and outer).
Usually, the antidote to anything is its opposite, tackle lying with the truth – make the truth a way of life – make the truth known, and hold your kids personally accountable to it.
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Why do kids lie?