‘My three-year-old lies and blames her stuffies’

Here’s a regular exchange I have with my four-year-old.

“Did you put your undies in the laundry basket?” I’ll ask.

“Yes. But don’t check,” he’ll reply.

Obviously his undies are not in the basket, they’re still tangled in the leg of his pj bottoms which have been gleefully flung onto the floor of his bedroom so he can get on with more important tasks, like sneakily pouring water into a plastic container of melty beads from IKEA.

And when I discover the slimy plastic mess a few days later, he’ll tell me in no uncertain terms, it was not him.

In short, small children are liars.

Sometimes they’re terrible liars, like when they tell you they don’t need to poo even though they’re staring at you with the quiet, red-faced intensity of someone who is filling their nappy right that second.

And sometimes they’re disturbingly good, like when they remove the all the cards from your wallet and hide them in a boot in the middle of summer, guaranteeing that you won’t see your driver’s license again until it’s cold outside.

Lauren* is raising a three-year-old liar right now, and the lying has become so frequent, the mum-of-one is beginning to question if it’s normal.

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Mum worried about 3-year-old’s lying

“My daughter has gotten into lying horribly,” Lauren posted on Reddit, looking for advice.

“She’s gotten to the point where she volunteers her lies. This morning she came into my bedroom and woke me up saying, “Mummy, stuffies ate my Valentine’s Day lollies’.”

By that point, Lauren had had enough. She went into the little girl’s room and found a pile of lolly wrappers on the bed.

“I sent her to her room and told her that she won’t have TV time today.”

Normally Lauren gives her a time out for lying followed by a chat about how it’s important to tell the truth.

“I know it’s developmentally normal to lie, but how do I curb it? It’s almost like it’s physically impossible for her to tell the truth.”

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Parents share stories of kids lying

There were plenty of great stories of kids lying in the comments, reinforcing Lauren’s instict that her daughter’s behaviour was normal.

“My kid would draw pictures and tell me her doll did it,” one person said. “She also fed her doll things. If I gave her a treat, after pretend-feeding it to her doll, she would then pop it into her own mouth with me sitting there watching, then tell me the doll wanted more.”

The mum had a unique way to deal with the lying. “If I suspected her of making her doll take the fall for her crimes, I would punish the doll. Put the doll in time out, or forbid the doll from playing with my daughter.”

“My kid does this, but with the cats instead,” said another person.

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One person advised Lauren to focus on the concept of trust.

“You want to work with her on the importance of being trusted. I would have said, ‘Thank you for telling me; stuffy shouldn’t have taken the lolly without permission. Hope he doesn’t get a belly ache. I might have to hide the treats if you can’t get stuffies to follow the rules. Wouldn’t it be nice to wait and ask permission?”

*Name has been changed.

Originally published as ‘My three-year-old lies and blames her stuffies’

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