The Troubling Ways Parents Teach Their Kids to Be Liars


We all lie. If you say you don’t, you’re lying right now. While lying is typically associated with something negative, it’s not always a negative thing. Most of us lie in a manner that seems positive. We lie to protect others and to make them feel more comfortable. We lie about how people look when they ask us if we think their awful new haircut is amazing. We lie about how someone’s cooking tastes when it’s really awful and we don’t like it. For the most part, we lie to spare feelings. It’s not intended to come across as negative, but a lie is a lie and it’s teaching our kids to become liars, too. We spend so much time encouraging our kids not to lie to us that we fail to see that we are actually teaching them to do just that. It’s not our intention, of course, but it’s what happens. We teach our kids to be liars and we’re here to tell you how you’re doing this and how to stop.

“It’s Our Little Secret,” Wink, Wink

Your kids have a bowl of ice cream before dinner and you tell them that they are going to have to keep that your little secret. Seems fun and harmless, right? Wrong; you’re teaching your kids to lie by not allowing them to tell their other parent. They see they’re doing something ‘wrong’ and being told to keep it a secret, and that encourages lying.

Setting a Bad Example

Your kids hear you on the phone telling your mother-in-law you can’t make it to dinner tonight because someone in the house is not feeling well, even though everyone is fine. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it shows kids that they can get what they want by lying.

Being Honest Later

Sometimes you tell your kids something and they you tell them the truth later on, or they see this. It’s called delayed dishonesty and it’s going to teach your kids that sometimes lying now and ‘fessing up later is okay when it’s not.

You Use Your Kids

Sometimes parents use their kids to get what they want by lying. They say their youngest is a year younger to board a plane without a ticket or get into a theme park free of charge. It’s setting a bad example and it’s not a good idea.

Wiggling out of Trouble

You get pulled over for speeding, and you’re telling your spouse you are going to get out of a ticket by telling the officer your child is sick and has to go the bathroom. Now. And the officer will probably let you go. But your kid is not sick and hears this; it’s not good, parents. Not good.

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