Why do Children Lie?

When toddlers and young children lie, many parents would naturally be assailed by doubts about ‘what did I do wrong’ or ‘does my child have no conscience’.

Now the fact is that we are not born with a conscience and that is a socializing factor that society and elders teach us.

So, when children lie, it is usually born out of expediency and most children will do it at some point; some children start as early as three years of age. The chief reasons why children lie are:

  • Some small children may not realize that they are lying[lying behavior]. Their language skills may not be sufficiently developed for them to realize that they are lying or that what they are saying actually constitutes lying.
  • Deliberate lying will often occur when a child wants to avoid punishment: Most children will lie to avoid punishment or parental disapproval.
  • Sometimes a child may simply be fearful or anxious of the outcome of a particular action or set of actions and may lie simply because they aren’t sure what the outcome will be.
  • Sometimes the lying may be due to not wanting to do something (I cannot eat the broccoli I have a stomachache).
  • Sometimes the lying could be because the child feels jealous or because they want to implicate someone else.


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