Did you know that lying in toddlers is a cognitive milestone?

Did you know that lying in toddlers is a cognitive milestone?

Who would've thought that lying is a milestone in a child's growth...

A happy African American boy lying on the bed and laughing
A happy African American boy lying on the bed and laughing/Pexels/@Ketut Subiyanto

Telling lies is something that we all experience as we grow up, but when a parent encounters a lying child, it can lead to all sorts of thoughts. 

Thoughts of the future could be filled with fear over what lying represents in your child. Is it a trait that they will carry with them throughout their adolescent years or something that falls away over time? 

It's only natural to think that you are doing something wrong, but you shouldn't. 

A mother who describes herself as a 'Calm Mom' who practices gentle parenting also shared that lying in kids between the ages of three and five is natural. 

If you are a parent to more than one child, then it is most likely that you stopped stressing the small stuff after your first child. But there are still many parents out there who feel responsible for their children's traits. 

Now, if the traits are positive, we understand that you are all too happy to take the glory, but what's worse is when your kids show off their not-so-good traits, and that is a bad reflection on you. 

A.Calm.Mom on Instagram is a former nanny and has a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies. 

She said lying is a cognitive milestone in a child's life. She went on to say that "lying is an indication that your child has developed Theory of Mind".

She shared some tips on what to do about this. 

1. Don’t freak out. Your child isn’t on the fast track to a criminal future. Lying is normal AND it’s a sign that their brain is developing as expected (Note: This doesn’t mean we don’t do anything to correct it).

2. Don’t try to trap your child in a lie. If it’s obvious that they didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, don’t ask, “Did you wash your hands?” Instead, say “Oops! You forgot to wash your hands, would you like to go back and do it yourself or would you like my help?”

3. Get curious about the reason behind the lie. Are they worried about getting in trouble? Are they just making something up to see if they can get you to believe something false, like saying “I have a ball behind my back” when they don’t? Ask questions, but from an attitude of curiosity, not interrogation, “I wonder why you wanted to hide your sister’s toy?”

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4. Don't punish your kids for lying. Far too often as parents, we punish our kids for telling a lie, but we forget that perhaps at one time we did the same. Perhaps consider that your child lied to avoid getting into trouble. 

5. It's important to build a safe space for your kids that is based on trust and love. Don't treat them differently with your love if they have lied. Remember that lying is part of their development. 

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East Coast Radio

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